In similar fashion to last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have turned things around during the month of June. The team spent the week battling NL West foes as they continued to chase the San Francisco Giants for the division lead.
With a sweep of the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers found themselves four games behind the Giants. The Dodgers then dropped the first of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres before taking the series by winning the next two games.
Grade of the Week: A-
Pros: Throughout the season, the Dodgers have relied on the strength of their pitching staff. The last week couldn’t have been any more different.
It would be impossible to talk about strong pitching without discussing Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter. Kershaw was a Hanley Ramirez error away from a perfect game. Still, Kershaw only needed 107 pitches to put away the Rockies, while also getting a career-high 15 strikeouts.
Hyun-jin Ryu also provided strong outings for the Dodgers. On Monday, he pitched a solid six innings against the Rockies, allowing just one run, which came on a home run. The Rockies were only able to manage two additional hits on the night.
Sunday’s game against the Padres saw Ryu put up a similar performance. He again only let the Padres score once. The bullpen pitched three innings of scoreless relief as the Dodgers would win the game, 2-1.
In addition, the Dodgers’ offense has also found its groove. Since taking over left field, Matt Kemp has been on a tear. Over the last week, he hit .360 with a home run and six RBIs while also extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
As a team, the Dodgers punished Rockies pitchers for eight runs to give Kershaw plenty of run support.
Cons: The Dodgers almost went undefeated over the last week. Their only loss came from a blown save from Kenley Jansen. The team held a 5-3 lead coming to the ninth inning against the Padres Friday night.
Before he was able to register the first out of the inning, Jensen allowed the Padres to tie the game on a single and pair of doubles. The winning run came after a sacrifice bunt moved Will Venable to third, who then scored on a sacrifice fly.
Overall: The Dodgers may have at last turned the corner many have been expecting. Strong pitching performances paired with the with resurgence of Kemp and others in the lineup, has the Dodgers back in the chase for the division lead.
The team is still expecting Juan Uribe to return at some point this week, which should help the Dodgers through the summer months as they look to continue their winning ways.
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