The Dodgers continued their phenomenal play coming down the stretch, sweeping a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Additionally, the Dodgers picked up a game on the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card race.
The Blue Crew outscored the Rockies 18-1 over the weekend.
They will need more of the same timely hitting and dominant pitching if they hope to beat the San Francisco Giants and make it into the playoffs.
With 18 total runs in the series, the Dodgers got their bats going again. Every Dodgers infielder was back at it again. Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 12 games, A.J. Ellis extended his to five. Mark Ellis and Hanley Ramirez were solid, and Luis Cruz saw his dream season continue with a dramatic home run Sunday afternoon.
Gonzalez went 5-for-11 with a double and a pair of runs scored in the series. Adrian’s presence in the middle of the lineup is finally being felt, and the protection he affords Matt Kemp is immeasurable. It’s also worth noting that Adrian has played stellar defense at first base.
A.J. Ellis, who had a period of almost two weeks without a hit, is suddenly red-hot again, going 5-for-11 in the series including a double and his 12th home run of the year on Sunday afternoon. Ellis hadn’t homered in more than a month, with his last coming on August 29.
Hanley Ramirez also went 5-for-11 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored in the series.
Mark Ellis was 3-for-10 with a double in two games.
Nick Punto filled in for Ellis on Saturday and went 0-for-3.
Luis “Cochito” Cruz went 2-for-12 in the series, but one of those hits was his 6th home run of the year, which gave the Dodgers a comfortable 4-1 lead on Sunday.
Kemp went 0-for-3 in Friday night’s 8-0 hit parade, but he carried the team on his back the next two days, going 5-for-7 with three homers and four RBIs over the next two games. Kemp displayed the swing that was the best in baseball at the beginning of the season, spreading homers across the field, hitting one to left, one to center, and one to right field.
It’s no secret that Matt Kemp is the key to the Dodgers success, he showed again over the weekend, when he is hitting the way he’s capable of and carrying the team, the Dodgers are a tough act to beat.
Andre Ethier led the way Friday night going 3-for-4 with an RBI double and 3 runs scored. Andre’s production tailed off over the rest of the weekend, as he went 0-for-7 over the next two games.
Shane Victorino got in on the action too over the weekend. The Flyin’ Hawaiian lived up to his nickname going 5-for-12, scoring three runs, and slugging a three-run blast Friday night.
Bobby Abreu put the icing on the cake Friday night hitting a pinch-hit two-run home run. Abreu is in his 16th major league season, and before Friday night, one thing he had never done was hit a pinch-hit home run. Bobby can scratch that off his list. Clearly, things are going very well for the Dodgers offense.
STARTING PITCHING: A-
After seeing the past few weeks derailed because of a sore hip, Clayton Kershaw returned to dominance Friday night, firing 8.0 innings of shutout ball, striking out 10 Rockies in the process. Kershaw collected his 13th win of the season, and lowered his ERA to a league-leading 2.58. Clayton leads the league in WHIP as well. Only R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets has more strikeouts and innings pitched than Kershaw.
Joe Blanton appears to be steadying himself after a rocky start with the Dodgers, pitching six shutout innings, striking out 6 with no walks. Blanton notched his 10th win of the season, and his second in 10 starts since coming over to the Dodgers. This was Blanton’s first win in a month.
Josh Beckett continued his strong pitching in a Dodger uniform, holding the Rockies to only one run over six innings, while striking out five and walking six. This was Beckett’s second win with the Dodgers in seven starts.
The Dodgers bullpen was completely perfect this weekend. They also did not receive nearly the workload they have been with the return of Clayton Kershaw, and Beckett and Blanton being able to go six innings.
Josh Wall pitched a perfect ninth inning in relief of Kershaw Friday night.
Ronald Belisario, Kenley Jansen, and Brandon League each pitched scoreless innings on Saturday night, and showed what the Dodgers bullpen setup would look like in a perfect world. League is a perfect six for six in save opportunities with the Dodgers.
Although Josh Beckett pitched six innings on Sunday, Don Mattingly dipped deep into the bullpen giving his guys some work. Staked to a 7-1 lead, six Dodgers relievers combined for 3.0 scoreless innings. Paco Rodriguez, Shawn Tolleson, Belisario, Jamey Wright, Randy Choate, and Wall each got a chance to get in on the action and took advantage of the opportunity.
The Dodgers finish the season series 10-8 against the Colorado Rockies, not exactly a stellar record considering the Rockies will finish dead last in the NL West. However, the Dodgers won the three most important games against the Rockies and will look to extend their five-game winning streak against the Giants.
The Giants defeated the Padres in two of games in San Diego, including a dramatic ninth inning win Sunday that featured a game-tying home run from Xavier Nady, of all people.
159 games and it’s all come down to this. The Dodgers have three games to make up two on the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis will be playing the Cincinnati Reds for the final three games of the season, and the Dodgers will need some help from the Big Red Machine. The time for L.A. is now! Go Blue!