The Los Angeles Dodgers showed some collective poise in their comeback victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. Chris Heisey’s grand slam helped improve Clayton Kershaw’s record to 15-7 on the season, but before Heisey became the hero, others contributed as well.
The Dodgers’ six-run fifth inning began with an interesting exchange as Kershaw wasn’t pleased with manager Don Mattingly’s decision to remove him. Los Angeles first got on the board behind Howie Kendrick’s two-run single with the bases loaded.
“I think the biggest thing was trying to get a pitch to hit. Right there, he left a fastball up and I was able to drive it into the gap,” said Kendrick after appearing in just his fifth game since being reinstated from the disabled list. Dealing with a slew of injuries, particularly hamstring strains, has been a major theme for the Dodgers this season.
Kendrick spoke to the character of the club by complimenting players who helped fill the void, saying, “All year you count on everybody you have and it seems like it’s been different guys stepping up. [Corey] Seager has been on fire and [Justin] Ruggiano. It’s been different pieces and a lot of good additions to the team.”
Kendrick is approaching the end of the regular season and beginning of the postseason in a calm manner, confident in the team’s abilities to eventually clinch the National League West division. “We’ve just got to keep playing baseball. We can’t be worried about anything that’s going to happen in the postseason,” he said.
“We’ve just got to play games. When that time runs out at the end of the season, we know we’re going to be where we need to be.” As for his physical state, Kendrick is feeling healthy and being mindful of not attempting to bite off too much, too soon. “I feel good. I’m not really out there trying to push it to the limits,” he said. “I’m trying to get my reps in and trying to help win games.”
Mattingly said recently Kendrick would be eased back into the lineup, on average playing every other day. On the season the 32-year-old second baseman is batting .290/.333/.406 with nine home runs, 20 doubles and 52 RBIs.