Giants edge Dodgers: Problems in LA?
Yet the past few weeks haven’t been too pretty for the boys in blue. Last weekend, they were swept in Cincinnati, scoring a total of 7 runs across the 3-game set, and this weekend, they dropped 3 out of 4 to their archrival Giants.
It’s been a frustrating year to say the least for San Francisco, currently holding down the 3rd spot in the West, with only a game lead on the last-place Rockies. However, going into Los Angeles to take some steam out of the Dodgers had to make the disappointing 2013 season at least a little better, especially with Saturday’s shellacking.
With their 19-3 victory in game 3 of the four-game set, the Giants set a record for the most runs scored by the visiting team in Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers hadn’t given up 19 runs in a home game since September 12, 1961 to the Phillies, but that was a year before Dodger Stadium opened.
Ricky Nolasco, who had been almost flawless as a starter since the Dodgers acquired him in early July, had an absolute nightmare of an outing, giving up 7 runs in 1 and 1/3 innings. The bullpen couldn’t do any better and amidst a Hunter Pence grand slam, 22 hits and 7 walks, Saturday’s game was one the Dodgers hope to soon forget.
With the formidable duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top of their rotation, and even the support of Hyun-jin Ryu after that, the Dodgers have the type of frontloaded rotation you need for a deep run into the postseason. Nolasco as the fourth starter will probably be something of a wildcard.
But as of right now, the Dodgers batting order looks like it could be quite the wildcard as well. Rookie sensation Yasiel Puig has continued to deliver at the top, and Adrian Gonzalez will anchor the middle of the lineup. Those are the two sure things. Hanley Ramirez is going to be sidelined another week or so with a hamstring injury and the team’s also hoping to have Matt Kemp back come playoff time, but with the injury histories of both players, it’s hard to know what to expect really. Andre Ethier, meanwhile, has been playing on a sore ankle and who knows which Ethier shows up in the postseason?
The rest of the lineup has been mostly rotated by coach Don Mattingly. Carl Crawford hits second against righties (whom he’s batting .305 against compared with .208 for lefties) and it’s either Mark Ellis or Nick Punto hitting behind Puig against lefties. Juan Uribe has been finding himself in the heart of the lineup quite a bit lately, while Michael Young and Skip Schumaker have been tinkered with in in the middle as well.
The 2013 season has been mostly about streaks so far for the Dodgers, and it seems just as plausible for them to cruise their way to the World Series as it is to see them swept out of the first round.
Whatever the result ends up being, a return to the playoffs is at least a step in the right direction, right?