The Hits Keep Coming for the Dodgers
For most of the first two months of the baseball season, the Dodgers couldn’t hit worth a lick and waste great performances by their starting pitching. Whether it was the fire at Dodger Stadium Saturday night that jolted the team, they have started to buck that trend. For the first time this season they look like a competitive Major League team as they stomped on the Colorado Rockies 8-2.
Ask any of the Dodgers, and they’ll tell you this is no surprise. As Casey Blake said, “You look around this clubhouse and look up and down the lineup each night, we have the capability of putting some hits together and having some big innings.”
And how about Tuesday night’s starter Ted Lilly?
“I don’t think this is a hot streak. I think we’re this good.”
That is a whole lot of confidence for a team that managed at least five runs only five times in the month of May coming into this home stand that started on Friday. In their last three games the Dodgers have now scored 23 runs. Manager Don Mattingly likes what he sees.
“You start playing like this and you have a chance to get on a roll,” he said. “We swung the bats good late and we’ve pitched good all year long. We are starting to see if we can do this, we’re going to be tough.”
And they continued to be tough. So it wasn’t the 17-hit output of Sunday afternoon or the 11 hits of Monday night, but their nine hits worked nonetheless. They wasted no time in the first inning off of Rockies’ rookie starter Clayton Mortensen (L, 1-3). With Andre Ethier on first base, Matt Kemp scorched a homer halfway up the right field pavilion seats underneath the Jackie Robinson’s placard to give the Dodgers the quick 2-0 lead and their first hit in the game.
Kemp wasn’t done yet. After the Rockies got a run back in the top of the third inning Mortensen walked Ethier to load the bases and face Kemp.
“It could be the right move, it could be the wrong move,” Kemp reflected. “According to the books there’s a better chance of him getting a righty out than a lefty. So it could work either way.”
At the moment, Kemp said that he kept things simple. “Do my job and drive in some runs. Simple as that.”
Call it a job well done as Kemp hit a single to score two runs to give the Dodgers the 4-1 lead. This was his most RBI since he also had four on Sept. 29, 2010 at Colorado.
Aaron Miles added a run in the fourth inning on a long fly double to right-centerfield that scored Jerry Sands for the 5-1 lead, and Blake hit a towering 403-foot three-run homer to left-centerfield in the seventh inning to give the Dodgers the eight-spot.
“You never know after a month layoff how you’re going to come back,” Blake said. “You just hope you can get the feel back and start contributing. I’m just working hard every day to keep finding it, keep doing better. And we’ll just go from there.”
As always Dodgers’ pitching had a hand in the victory. Lilly (W, 4-4) pitched seven strong innings giving up two runs while striking out a season-high eight batters. The lone mistake Lilly made was a sinker out over the middle of the plate to Ty Wiggington in the top of the seventh inning that went over Kemp’s outstretched glove in left-centerfield that cut the Dodger lead to 5-2.
Besides that it was all roses.
“I was getting the fastball over for strikes, getting them in swing mode,” Lilly said.
Mattingly wasn’t surprised at all by his performance.
“It’s been par for the course honestly,” Mattingly remarked. “Teddy was really sharp tonight. He’s changing speeds. He’s giving you different looks.”
Rubby De La Rosa pitched the remaining two innings giving up only a double to Troy Tulowitzki in the ninth inning.
As improbable as it might sound, the Dodgers still have a chance. They are 4 ½ games behind the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. Take a second to let that sink in.
With how the Dodgers have been performing the past three games, Kemp is confident the Dodgers are on their way back.
“I KNOW we’re going to keep swinging the bats good. I’m confident we will. When we do that we win games and score runs.”
Kansas City Royals defeat LA Angels 7-3.
LA Angels at Kansas City Royals. 1:10 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.
Colorado Rockies at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Chivas USA. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 690 W Radio.