Since last Sunday’s win against the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 5-1 having scored a total of 38 runs within the duration of these six games, and three of their five wins this week also include a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road. With a walk-off win this week along with dominant performances throughout the lineup, one could say that the Dodgers have fared extremely well this week.
Grade of the week: A
The good: Let’s begin with a man by the name of Adrian Gonzalez. Despite going hitless in the first few games of the season, the Dodger first baseman has vastly picked up his game in the past week as he has hit a home run in four consecutive games. Over the span of the Arizona series, Gonzalez was 7-for-13 with three homers, 10 RBI and a double. He has also had an extra-base hit in eight straight games re-establishing himself as a force at the plate after a rough start to the season. The 31-year-old is showing the spark of a young player with the discipline of a veteran and attributes his recently dominant bat to an improved finish of his swing.
Next up is the Dodgers walk-off win against the Tigers on Tuesday night as the two teams battled in their first interleague play of the season. Although the Dodgers lead was blown in the ninth by Kenley Jansen (we’ll get to him later), the team quickly regained their lead in the bottom of the tenth thanks to a Carl Crawford walk-off double to send Chone Figgins home for the winning run. In their first walk-off win of the season, the Dodgers were highly impressive in getting the win against the AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.
Additionally, fans cannot ignore Dee Gordon’s phenomenal base stealing so far this season but especially in Sunday’s game against the D-backs. He stole four bases on Sunday, one of which was before the reliever had even thrown a pitch to Yasiel Puig and another of which was when Gordon stole third base directly after stealing second. Aside from being the speed demon fans are all familiar with, the second baseman is currently leading the team’s hitting with a .400 average which is a side of Gordon that the organization is not as familiar with. The 25-year-old speedster is showing discipline at the plate that the team has never seen before, and he has proved himself as an everyday second baseman.
Last but not least, the Dodgers starting rotation has really seemed to pull itself together in wake of Clayton Kershaw’s absence as well as some early season blunders. Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up two hits and no runs in seven innings on Friday, Greinke still has yet to give up more than two runs in a start since last July, Dan Haren gave up just four runs over two starts this week, and Josh Beckett even fared decently in his return to the team on Wednesday.
The not-so-good: The only thing setting the Dodgers apart from an A instead of an A+ this week their relief pitching, especially in Kenley Jansen who not only blew the Dodgers lead on Tuesday but also gave up the game-winning home run to Victor Martinez on Wednesday. Although the Dodgers were able to recover on Tuesday, they were not so fortunate on Wednesday. Jansen gave up a run in each of the two games against the Tigers this week, but they were his only runs allowed so far this season and two consecutive blunders are not typical for the Dodger closer. Although he is responsible for the Dodgers single loss this week, Don Mattingly is confident that this uncharacteristic play is only temporary.
Jamey Wright also did not have his finest moment this week in Sunday’s game as he gave up three hits and two runs including a home run to Mark Trumbo in the seventh inning which allowed the Diamondbacks to get within two runs of the Dodgers. Brandon League also struggled on Saturday giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Aside from the handful of mistakes from Jansen, Wright and League, the rest of the Dodgers bullpen looked solid.
Overall: The Dodgers had quite the spectacular run this past week, and they hope to continue this impressive play as they face the Giants again this week in attempts to assert their dominance as the NL West front runners. With Brian Wilson potentially coming back this upcoming week, the Dodger bullpen may also be receiving the relief it needs.
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