For the first time since the now infamous brawl in San Diego, the Dodgers won a series, taking two of three from the New York Mets. Matt Kemp broke his home run drought, Ted Lilly made his season debut, and the Dodgers got solid performances from Andre Ethier, Mark Ellis, and Hyun-Jin Ryu as well.
Mark Ellis powered the Dodgers offense with two home runs in Tuesday’s series opener. A.J. Ellis contributed two RBI Tuesday, Justin Sellers had a solid series, and Jerry Hairston, Jr. made SportsCenter multiple times Wednesday night. For the first time this season, Adrian Gonzalez had a very quiet series. Adrian went only 2-11 in the series, dropping his average to .355, fourth in the NL, but he still managed to score three runs in the series. Mark Ellis led the way in Tuesday night’s 7-2 going 4-5 with two home runs and four RBI. It was Mark’s first multi-homer game since June of 2008 as a member of the Oakland A’s. Overall, Mark was 5-9 and scored three runs in two starts. Ellis is now hitting .343, sixth best in the National League. Justin Sellers went 3-4 in Tuesday night’s 7-2 win, driving in a run and scoring a run, however, he went 0-4 the rest of the way. Nick Punto spelled Ellis and Sellers’ on their respective days off going 1-7, including a double and scoring the go-ahead run in Thursday’s 3-2 victory. While Sellers seems firmly entrenched at shortstop for the time being, Luis Cruz appears to have lost his starting spot at third base. Jerry Hariston, Jr. started the first two games at third. He went 0-6, but he made SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays twice on Wednesday night, with brilliant defensive plays. Juan Uribe started Thursday’s season finale, and stroked an RBI single to score Matt Kemp and give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning. Uribe walked in his first three plate appearances giving him four straight walks overall. As Steve Lyons remarked on the Fox Sports Prime Ticket broadcast, “That’s historic.” A.J. Ellis went 1-6, the one hit a two-RBI double in Tuesday night’s 7-2 victory. A.J. got Thursday’s day game off, Ramon Hernandez went 0-4 in his place.
Matt Kemp appears to have finally broken out of his slump and Andre Ethier was consistent. Carl Crawford has slowed down a little bit, but he’s still batting .307. Kemp broke out in a big way going 5-11 in the series including his first home run of the season and four RBI total. Kemp has now had multiple hits in four of his last six games. Heading into the road trip Kemp was batting .182, he’s upped that to a now respectable .266. Andre Ethier hit safely in all three games of the series. Andre doubled and scored a run in Tuesday night’s 7-2 rout, and he drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 3-2 victory off of Mets’ reliever Scott Rice, who hails from Simi Valley. Carl Crawford slowed down considerably going only 1-10 in the series with a run scored in two starts. Skip Schumaker went 0-5 Saturday night spelling Crawford and later in the game Ethier. Matt Kemp appears to be righting the ship. If Ethier can gain some consistency this season, the middle of the lineup will be solidified. Crawford didn’t do much in this series, but he’s proven to be a catalyst when on base early in the season.
STARTING PITCHING: B
Hyun-Jin Ryu was masterful on Thursday afternoon, throwing seven innings of one run ball. Ryu notched eight strikeouts with three walks and got a no-decision. Ryu’s ERA now sits at 3.41 on the season, and he has a better than 4-1 K:BB ratio. It looks like Ryu will prove to be a sound investment for the Dodgers. The other big news from the series was the season debut of Ted Lilly. Lilly has been sidelined since last May due to shoulder surgery, however, he looked extremely sharp. Lilly pitched only five innings but he struck out seven batters with only two walks and showed no rust at all. With Chad Billingsley going down and Zack Greinke still out, the Dodgers will need more starts like this from Lilly. Surprisingly, the worst start the Dodgers got this week was from Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw went only five innings, throwing 111 pitches. He only gave up two runs and struck out five, but the four walks was extremely uncharacteristic of Kershaw and he was having issues with home plate umpire Mike Winters from the get-go.
The Dodgers bullpen actually got all three decisions in the series, going 2-1. Although Kershaw himself would probably be the first to criticize his performance Tuesday night, he set the tone for the bullpen who pitched four scoreless innings with five strikeouts, no walks, and only one hit allowed. Ronald Belisario got the win to improve to 1-2 on the season thanks to Mark Ellis‘s second home run of the game. It was a rough go of things Wednesday night, as the bullpen blew a 3-2 lead. Belisario and Kenley Jansen combined to pitch 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out three. However, Brandon League blew his first save of the season, and Josh Wall gave up a walk-off grand slam to the Mets’ Jordany Valdespin Wednesday night. The bullpen got a bit of a rest Thursday afternoon. With Ryu pitching seven innings, Jansen entered a time game in the eighth. After allowing the first two batters to reach base, Jansen struck out two of the next three batters, including David Wright. League entered the game in the ninth and gave up a solo shot to Ike Davis, but he got three straight outs and recorded his sixth save of the year in seven opportunities.
The Dodgers got a much needed series victory, on the road no less, and return ever closer to .500 at 10-11. They Blue Crew will host Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers for three games this weekend at Dodger Stadium. The Brew Crew is 11-9, fourth in the NL Central. They just took two of three games from the San Diego Padres down at Petco Park this week. Josh Beckett will take the mound Friday night in search of his first win of the season. The Brewers will start rookie Hiram Burgos.