The Dodgers avoid a sweep from the last place Colorado Rockies along with avoiding falling into a deeper abyss in the NL West from the rival Giants on Wednesday night. The Dodgers sent starter Chad Billingsley to stop the bleeding against the Rockies starter Jeff Francis.
Billingsley did not get off to a great start, as Eric Young Jr hit a shot deep to center field over the head of Matt Kemp that bounced off the wall, and gave Young an inside the park home run as the Rockies led 1-0. Young is the first Rockies player to score on an inside the park home run. Billingsley continued to struggle as Dexter Fowler hit a double to right field, and Wilin Rosario walked. The Dodger defense began to emerge out of the vortex of laziness, as Tyler Colvin hit an RBI single that scored Fowler, however Rosario was tagged out at second base.
The Rockies had a 2-0 lead when the Dodger offense showed signs of waking up offensively with Shane Victorino who singled to left. After Mark Ellis walked, Victorino advanced to second base. Matt Kemp stepped up and hit a huge 3-run homer deep to left center that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
“I really haven’t been hitting too well with runners in scoring position the last couple of days, so I needed to do something to help us get the momentum going. We haven’t been getting runs in the first couple of innings, so we definitely got to start putting runs on the board early and put pressure on the other team. The home run put some runs on the board early and gave Chad a little cushion” said Kemp.
Billingsley settled down, and seemed to be focused until the top of the fourth inning with one on, DJ LeMahieu crushed a single to left that scored Jordan Pacheco and tied the game at 3-3.
The bottom of the fifth inning the Dodgers played chess with reliever Carlos Torres, as Victorino connected on a single to right field. Victorino beat the throw to steal second base. Ellis was walked, and once again Kemp reached on a single that loaded the bases. With an offensive threat at the plate like Hanley Ramirez, Torres panicked as he eventually walked Ramirez which scored Victorino and gave the Dodgers the lead 4-3. Once again with the bases loaded, this time Torres was able to focus and cause Juan Rivera to hit into a timely double play to end the inning.
The Dodgers were far from done, just an inning later with Matt Treanor on second base, Victorino slugs a clutch single that scored Treanor. Ellis continued his hitting frenzy as he connected on an RBI single that scored Victorino who ran all the way from first to beat the tag at home plate.
With two on base in the seventh inning, Dodger manager Don Mattingly decided it was time to give Billingsley the night off and brought in reliever Ronald Belisario.
Belisario did not start off strong either as Young singled to right, and thanks to a throwing error by Andre Either, LeMahieu who was third base decided to make a run for home and was safe at the plate, as the Dodgers still lead 6-4. After that, Belisario was flawless the in the next two inning that set it up perfectly for closer Kenley Jansen to close out the game and bring home the win.
Jansen was sensational in the ninth inning as he got Young to pop up at shortstop and the Dodgers held on to defeat the Rockies 6-4. Jansen picked his 22nd save on the season.
Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr., talked about making history with his inside the park homer, “I put a good swing on it, saw the trajectory of it, and immediately put my head down thinking it was at least going to be a double. I knew he missed it, and rounding second I saw the third base coach was waving his arms like crazy, so I knew he was going for it and I wanted to make a final stretch for it.”
Chad Billingsley (8-9) pitched six solid inning, gave up four hits with five strikeouts. Bilingsley has an impressive 2.02 ERA in his last four starts after going 0-5 in his previous five starts. Carlos Torres (1-1) picked up the loss as he pitched two innings, giving up five hits, with one strikeout and three runs.
After a terrible series with the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have corrected their errors and began their winning ways against the Ryan Dempster-less Chicago Cubs. Clayton Kershaw was phenomenal on the mound against the Cubs that resulted in a 3-1 victory as they continued to keep pace with the NL West leading San Francisco Giants.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and Cubs starter Chris Volstad traded pitches like two heavyweight fighters trading blows in the main events for the first three innings. Both pitchers were sharp and refuse to allow the other team to strike first. However in the top of the fourth inning the Cubs would strike, with Darwin Barney on second, slugger Alfonso Soriano took Kershaw deep to left center that scored Barney and gave the Cubs the 1-0 lead. Kershaw maintained his poise as he ended the inning with a fly out from Welington Castillo.
The bottom of the fourth the Dodgers would come alive and response with an incredible single to right field by Mark Ellis. With a gleam in his eye and power in his bat, Matt Kemp stepped up to the plate and took Volstad deep to right field just over the wall for a 2-run home run, that gave the Dodgers the 2-1 lead. That was Kemp’s 16th home run of the season and 41st RBI.
“I thought it was going to be a home run, but you never know in this ballpark,” said Kemp. “It’s tough to hit home runs at night here, and after looking at it on the Jumbotron, I think I got a little bit of help. But we won, so it really doesn’t matter.”
Things began to cool off offensively for both ball clubs, however the intensity continued between both Kershaw and Volstad well into the eight inning. This game would prove to come down to one thing, which team would finish with the hottest bat.
In the bottom of the eight inning, newly acquired Dodger Shane Victorino hit a big double to center field. After the intentional walk to Kemp, Andre Either responded with a single to second that caught Kemp out at second base. With runners on the corners Hanley Ramirez delivered a timely RBI single to shortstop, and made safely to first base thanks to a throwing error by Starlin Castro. Victorino scored the insurance run as the Dodgers led 3-1.
It was Jansen time in the ninth inning as reliever Kenley Jansen, as he easily struck out Soriano and struck out Brian LaHair looking to end the game, as the Dodgers held on to the 3-1 victory. Jansen picked up his 21st save on the season.
Clayton Kershaw (9-6) picked up the victory and spoke about his performance, “the curveball wasn’t very good tonight and I didn’t throw a lot of strikes with it, but fortunately I had a decent slider. They [Cubs] came out aggressively and were putting the ball in play early.”
Kershaw pitched seven solid innings, gave up one run, three hits and seven strike outs with a 2.88 ERA.
Cubs starter Chris Volstad (0-8) who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday after starters Ryan Dempster and Paul Mahom were dealt in trades picks up the loss. He pitched seven innings, gave up two runs on six hits, and still winless int he major leagues.
The Dodgers still remain just 1/2 game back of the first place San Francisco Giants after their victory against the Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers go for the sweep of the Cubs on Sunday as the Dodgers send new acquired pitcher Joe Blanton against Justin Germano on Sunday.
After a rocky series, the Dodgers found a way to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in dominate fashion 4-1, and regained first place in the NL West thanks to superb pitching and timely hitting. The Dodgers took two out of three against the Big Red Machine, and in the last two games held them to scoring no more than two runs.
Dodger starter Aaron Harang started off sharp against his former team, and display solid control of his pitches.
The Dodger offense stepped up in the first inning against Reds starter Mike Leake, Luis Cruz with Dee Gordon on base, smacked a single to shallow right field that gave the Dodgers the 1-0 lead. Later on in the inning first baseman James Loney hit an RBI single that scored Cruz and advanced Bobby Abreu to second base.
Adam Kennedy grounded out towards first base, Loney was caught out at second base, and Abreu made it to third base. He then continued on to score, thanks to an error thrown play by Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, that gave the Dodgers the 3-0 lead.
Harang continued his superb pitching until the top of the 5th inning, where Devin Mesoraco hit a home run to deep left that put the Reds on the scoreboard, yet they still trailed 3-1.
The Dodgers continued to show the Reds why they were an offensive juggernaut, as Reds reliever Bill Bray made a costly mistake by walking Gordon and allowed him on base. Gordon eventually stole second base. As Cruz was also walked, Gordon took the initiative and stole third base successfully, yet ended up dislocating his right thumb. Gordon stole his 30th base on the season.
Mark Ellis came in to run for Gordon at third base, and Juan Rivera grounded out which caused Ellis to be tagged out at home plate.
Later on in the inning, with the bases loaded as the crowd rose to their feet, Adam Kennedy smacked a sacrifice fly to center, that allowed Cruz to speed home to score.
Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth inning, lowering his ERA to a National League best 0.99, which paved the way for a spectacular ninth inning finish.
In the ninth inning it was Jensen time, as closer Kenley Jensen struck out both All-Star Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips. With two outs and nobody on base, Jensen got Jay Bruce to pop out to left field to end the game as the Dodgers defeat the Reds 4-1.
The Dodgers snapped their streak of four straight series loses. They hadn’t won a series since they played the Chicago White Sox back on June 15-17, and hadn’t won two out of three in a series since they took on the Seattle Mariners back in early June.
Good news for the Dodgers as they returned to their winning ways, and because the San Francisco Giants lost to the Nationals in Washington 9-4, that automatically moved the Dodgers back into first place in the NL West by 1/2 game.
Losing Reds pitcher Mike Leake talked about his rocky start, “I wasn’t quite loose. I probably should have thrown a few extra pitches in the bullpen. I was helping them out leaving balls over the middle and not really locating it too well.”
Dodgers victorious starter Aaron Harang spoke about his superb performance. “I felt like I had control of the game, was never really in a situation where I was pitching out of jams except for maybe the third inning when I got runners on first and third with two outs. Other than that I felt like I was doing what I needed to do, pounding the strike zone and getting myself ahead.”
Harang (6-5) pitched seven strong innings, with three hits and five strikeouts, while Leake (3-6) pitched seven innings, with six hits, five strikeouts, and two earned runs.
Gordon spoke about his injured thumb, “It felt like I hit something really hard and as soon as I got up I knew I jammed it. That’s never happened before. I get stepped on every now and then.”
Dee Gordon is scheduled to have an MRI on his thumb on Thursday, when leaving the stadium Gordon’s thumb was wrapped in a splint.
*Andre Either has been placed on the 15-day DL due to an oblique injury.
The Los Angeles Dodgers still elated from that great extra inning come from behind win against the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox, must now focus on the Oakland A’s. After a much deserved day off, the Dodgers continue to face another team from the American League.
On the mound Tuesday night Aaron Harang pitched for Dodgers and Brandon McCarthy for the Oakland A’s who came off of 11 days rest.
McCarthy was so excited to take the mound that he almost hyperventilated, but maintained his composer, even with his shoulder injury.
McCarthy started out sharp as he took care of the first three Dodger batters in the line up in the first inning.
On the other side of the ball Harang began terribly with two on, Seth Smith singled to center, as outfielder Tony Gwynn was unable to make the grab. Coco Crisp and Jemile Weeks scored that gave the A’s the quick 2-0 lead. With Smith on third base, slugger Jonny Gomes hit an RBI single to left that scored Smith and the A’s made sure they took matters in their own hands offensively against the best team in baseball.
McCarthy continued to pitch masterfully as the Dodgers offensive remained stagnant throughout the night, blowing opportunity after opportunity to score. The Dodgers made McCarthy look like a Cy Young candidate, which was absolutely mystifying after their great run just 48 hours earlier at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers also maintained their defense by not allowing any further runs by the A’s, but it proved that defense didn’t matter if the team was unable to score runs when called upon.
However in typical Dodger fashion, they had one last chance in the ninth inning. A’s closer Ryan Cook struck out Elian Herrera, and Andre Either made safe to first base thanks to an error made by Coco Crisp. Cook seemed to struggle as he walked Bobby Abreu. With Either and Abreu at second and first base, James Loney presented the tying run. Loney grounded into a double that got Abreu out at second and Loney at first base to end the game.
A’s winning pitcher Brandon McCarthy spoke about his mindset entering the game, “after the first couple innings I kind of got back feeling normal. Early, amped up and kind of short of breath. I don’t know what was going on. That felt kind of weird, but I was ready.”
McCarthy had a great outing, pitched seven strong innings, with two hits on five strikeouts. McCarthy out pitched Dodger starter Aaron Harang who pitched three and two-thirds innings with six strikeouts, and three earned runs.
“Things weren’t right, and they were being patient and fouling off good pitches, racking up my pitch count. Of course the walks didn’t help,” said Aaron Harang.
*Dodgers OF Matt Kemp is scheduled to return after the All-Star break, and Dodger pitcher Ted Lilly is close to throwing again as recovers from shoulder inflammation.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly said he will discuss with Kemp if he’ll play in this year All-Star Game in Kansas City. Kemp is the NL’s leading vote getter with almost 2 million votes by the fans.
After dropping two out of the three games to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and had a much needed day off, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked to return to their winning ways against the Chicago White Sox.
This was scheduled to be a pitcher’s duel between Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and the White Sox starter Chris Sale. However this game was far from it, with one on base, Adam Dunn arrived at the plate with a .667 lifetime batting average verses Kershaw, and Dunn made Kershaw pay hitting a two run homer deep to right field.
The Dodgers began to turn on their offense against Chris Sale, after a walk to Dee Gordon, Elian Herrera hit a double deep to center field that scored Gordon.
Kershaw continued to struggle as the innings progressed, and once again continued to keep the White Sox offense sharp by walking Dunn. Thanks to a wild pitch, Dunn advanced to second base. Paul Konerko made him pay by hitting an RBI single that scored Dunn to place distance away from the Dodgers. Fortunately AJ Pierzynski struck out and Kershaw got out of the third inning without any further damage.
The Dodgers offense remained sluggish as the White Sox offense continued to soar, in the fourth inning former Dodger Orlando Hudson reached on an infield single that scored A Ramirez. The disorganization from the Dodgers didn’t stop as Hudson made it second base because of a throwing error by Dee Gordon.
The mistakes, bad pitching, and inconsistant play mounted up for the Dodgers in the fifth inning as Alex Rios slugged a huge home run to left, that gave the White Sox the 5-1 lead.
For some reason many could sense a rally coming from this Dodger team who have made that a reality many times this season. In the sixth inning, the Dodger bats woke up with two on, Juan Uribe doubled to left that allowed Jerry Hairston Jr. to score, and advanced AJ Ellis to third base. Ivan De Jesus who came in to pinch hit for Kershaw, singled to right that scored Ellis and moved Uribe to third base. With runners on the corners, Herrera hit a clutch double to right that scored Uribe and De Jesus. The Dodgers seem to have found their rhythm as Juan Rivera stepped up and hit a big single that scored Herrera and gave the Dodgers the 6-5 lead.
In the eight inning the White Sox were not ready to be counted out as once Alex Rios smacked another home run this time off of reliever Ronald Belisario. Belisario made it out of the inning by getting Hudson to ground out to first base.
The Dodgers remained poised and refused to quit as first baseman James Loney singled to left that put the winning run on board. After Gordon walked, Herrera grounded into a fielder’s choice to shortstop that got Gordon out at second base. With two out, Loney capitalized and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by reliever Matt Thornton, that allowed Herrera to move to third. Thornton struck out Bobby Abreu who pinched hit for Belisario to end the inning.
Closer Kensley Jensen put on his best performance as he easily retired batters, and struck out Gordon Beckham for the final out as the Dodgers held on to defeat the White Sox 7-6 in a rocky come from behind win.
Not happy with his performance Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw talked about his performance, “baseball goes in cycles and it has its ups and downs. I mean, this game’s not easy. Just because you had a couple of good starts, this game will continue to humble you. So you’ve just got to keep battling and competing.”
Kershaw finished with five runs, four earned and eight hits over six innings with seven strikeouts. Belisario picked up his second win of the season and Jensen collected his eleventh save on the year.
White Sox slugger Adam Dunn spoke about the Dodger comeback “Usually when we’ve had Sale on the mound, we’re in pretty good shape. But they battled and just beat us.”
Sale finished with five runs, seven hits and a season high four walks in five innings of work. Sale has not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous eleven starts.
A disappointed AJ Pierzynski also commented on Sale’s performance, “you feel good with him on the mound and a 5-1 lead in the sixth inning with the way he’s been throwing, but tonight he just didn’t get it done!”
The Dodgers maintain the league’s best record at 41-25 so far on the season and remain five games ahead of the rival San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Coming off a disappointing loss on Monday night against their neighbors from the south the Los Angeles of Anaheim, the Dodger looked to regroup for Southern California supremacy.
Dodger starter Aaron Harang took the mound to battle against Angels starter Jerome Williams.
Both Harang and Williams pitched superb, it was duel to see who would give up the first score it seemed. However Harang would lose that battle in the third inning, after walking outfielder Torii Hunter, slugger Albert Pujols hit a slicing single to left to load the bases. Harang looked confident to get out of the inning, until a throwing error commited by Adam Kennedy that allowed Kendrys Morales to be safe at first base, that caused Williams to score.
The Dodgers continued to struggle offensively until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Andre Either fresh off his new $85 million dollar, five year extention contract. launched a single deep to right field that advanced AJ Ellis to third base. With runners on the corners, a healthy Juan Rivera hit a single to left that scored Ellis, to tie the game 1-1. Williams ended the inning by with Adam Kennedy who grounded out into a double play that got Rivera out at second base.
The Angels with two on in the bottom of the sixth inning, Harang got Maicer Izturis to fly out to left, and struck out Erick Aybar. Williams hit into a ground field out to second, however thanks to an error committed by Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon, Morales came in to score. Harang maintained his poise and focus, with two out and two on base he managed to strike out Mark Trumbo to end the inning.
Williams continued his superb pitching well into the bottom of the eight inning. Fatigue seems to begin to take it toll on Williams, as the Dodger put together a masterful rally. With second baseman Elian Herrera on first base, Gordon hit into a ground play near first that managed to get Herrera out at second base. The speedy Gordon stole second base. Next up Either, who proved he wasn’t done for the night, hitting a clutch single that scored Gordon and advanced Ellis to third base. Either picked up his 500th career RBI in the process. Once again the Dodgers had runners in scoring position, and with a very energetic crowd behind them, it was time for Juan Rivera to make something happen. Just before Rivera came to the plate Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher visited the mound to make sure Williams was able to continue. Rivera made Williams pay as he connected on his 102nd pitch a three run homer deep to left that gave the Dodgers the huge 5-2.
That would be Williams final pitch for the night as Angels manager Mike Scisocia decided to call up reliever Jordan Walden to the mound.
In the ninth inning, replacing Jamey Wright who pitched a perfect eight inning, would be the faithful closer Kenley Jansen. Jansen struck out both Mike Trout and Torii Hunter. Jansen settled down and focused as he got Pujols to fly out to center, and waited for Tony Gywnn Jr to make a great catch near the wall to end the game.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen recorded his tenth save on the year, Jamey Wright picked up the victory (3-2), while Jerome Williams who received the loss fell to (6-4) on the season. Aaron Harang gave up two unearned runs, six hits in seven innings, with five strikeouts and four walks.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued a call that umpire Joe West made calling Dee Gordon safe. According the replay it looked as though the throw from Angels catcher Hank Conger beat Gordon. Of course Scioscia loss the case on his bobblehead night against his former team. “Joe said he was safe. He said he saw his hand get in there,” said Scioscia. “I don’t need to see a replay. I thought he was out.”
Andre Either talked about his clutch hit in the eight inning, “I was focused on the task at hand, having the same good approach and the same good swing. When you focus on that instead of the outcome, good things happen.”
*The Freeway series concludes on Wednesday night, and a special treat to fans before the first pitch members of the Los Angeles Kings will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and showcase the newly acquired Stanley Cup.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are coming off a rough road trip in Colorado, looking to turning things around by sending their ace 2011 Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw against the Philadelphia Phillies and Vance Worley. The Dodgers have lost 6 out of their last 7 games, and have lost 9 out of 12 games vs. the Phillies.
The Phillies are one of three teams that Kershaw has not won against in his career as a starter. Kershaw has been on a bit of a slide as he has lost two straight.
Will tonight prove differently for the boys in blue? The Dodgers need to give Kershaw much needed run support.
One bright spot will be the return of Juan Rivera to the Dodgers line up tonight. Andre Either must continue his hitting ways along with AJ Ellis, and Bobby Abreu.
It’s going to be a tough four game series for the Dodgers vs. the Phillies, as they hang on slightly to having the best record in baseball.