The Dodgers Are Winners
"It's up to us today," catcher A.J. Ellis said hours before the Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies 6-1.
The Dodgers were coming off of their most impressive victory Wednesday night in Arizona, a 7-5 14-inning victory that took over five hours to complete. It marked their first victory in 30 times they have trailed after six innings.
Aside from Hanley Ramirez's go-ahead homer in the 14th, Ellis' game-tying single in the ninth, perhaps the biggest performance they got was from reliever Chris Withrow who pitched three innings giving up only one hit and two walks while striking out three.
It really was a whole new blue, but Ellis did recall what happened last season. In the last week of July, the Dodgers swept a three-game series in San Francisco to get back into first place in the division. They came home after that charged series and got swept by the Diamondbacks. San Francisco then went on a tear and won their second World Series title in three years.
"We've got to respond these four games," Ellis said. "We can't be looking too far ahead to the All Star break or to the second half and feeling like this thing is wrapped up."
Of course with a 14-inning game, a weary eye can be pointed at the bullpen. The Dodgers used six relievers in the victory, and they sent Chris Capuano to the mound for the start. In Capuano's last two starts he was charged with 13 runs in eight innings on 17 hits allowing the opposition to bat .436.
"It was pretty obvious the way the last two starts have gone that I needed to make some kind of adjustment," Capuano said.
Dodger fans could exhale. It worked. Capuano allowed only six hits in his 6 1/3 innings of work striking out eight and allowing no Rockie (Rocky?) to cross the plate.
"I made a little mechanical adjustment between starts to get a little more action down," Capuano said. "I had the ball moving down a little more, and I was able to get ahead of the hitters."
So instead of giving up six runs to a Rockies line up sans Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki, Capuano was able to shut them down.
The other Ellis, Mark, also emphasized the importance of this win not only because of the big win the night before but because of the upcoming All Star break.
"We're going to push as hard as we can over these last four games," Mark said.
He himself went three-for-four with a walk and four RBI. "It's one of the games where it would be easy to make excuses and just roll over. Capuano set the tone tonight. He threw the ball great. He did exactly what we needed out of him. He was incredible."
Maybe because Yasiel Puig was disrepectful to the baseball gods or whatever hogwash you want to use to tear him down, but Puig was switched out in the eighth inning. When he struck out in the seventh inning, he looked to be in a little pain after swinging on a Manny Corpas fastball that had a ton of movement.
Puig admitted his hip was still bothering him. "It's been bothering me since I ran into the wall in Colorado [last Wednesday]," Puig said. Mattingly didn't think it would be a long term injury.
"I don't know," Puig said. "I'm going to get some treatment tomorrow and take it from there."
The fact Puig was taken out of the game would make it tempting for those to start fantasizing scenes of him going berzerk and tearing up all of the new equipment in the Dodger clubhouse.
Puig laughed. "I feel good. The team won. Why wouldn't I feel good?"
With Arizona beating the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3, the Dodgers still remain 1 1/2 games out of first place. But for the first time since April 15, the Dodgers are over .500. The Dodgers are a winning ballclub.
But in a world where the Clippers are a contender, the Lakers are rebuilding and Juan Uribe goes 2-for-3 with a stolen base, we must be in the Twilight Zone. It definitely is a whole new blue.
Rockies Scoresheet (click to embiggen)
Dodgers Scoresheet (click to embiggen)