The Dodgers took a crushing defeat on Friday night, losing to the Anaheim Angels 3-2 after being one out away from a series opening victory. On Saturday night, the two teams met again in the FOX Saturday Game of the Week. Joe Buck and John Smoltz were on the call, and the Dodgers responded with leading performances by Ross Stripling and Justin Turner.
After all, not every game can be won via a stat-sheet filling slugfest. Sometimes you play in 100 degree temperatures and need clutch hitting, and near flawless pitching. Those aspects were part of this game as it worked towards it’s conclusion.
In game two of the series, the team from Southern California was victorious by a 3-1 score.
Ross Stripling Continues To Be ‘The Boss’
Stripling was his usual steady, solid self. In fact – if it weren’t for Mike Trout – Stripling sported a flawless outing. In six innings, Stripling allowed just three hits, one earned run, all while striking out seven and issuing no walks.
Stripling’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is becoming a national topic in baseball circles. It was mentioned by Smoltz on the telecast, and then there was this tweet:
You keep thinking that Ross Stripling can't possibly keep doing this, and then you look up and see he has a 102/13 K/BB and a Top 10 SP hard-hit rate (min 175 batted balls). I know Max Muncy is The Story right now, but Stripling has been just as important.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) July 8, 2018
As we mentioned, Mike Trout continued to get the best of Stripling. He collected three hits, including a home run that accounted for the lone run Stripling allowed. Trout is now 5 for 5 in his career against Stripling. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and admire how special this guy is in his own right.
Justin Turner’s Big Knock
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 8, 2018
The game was in a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning. With Yasiel Puig and Kikè Hernandez aboard with two outs, Turner lined a single into right field that scored both players. The Dodgers were given a 2-0 lead after a great slide at home plate by Hernandez.
Turner continues to look more comfortable at the plate – aside from this swing that was textbook Turner in his essence. His season on-base percentage has risen to .361 which is in line with his lifetime .360; a great sign.
Puig’s Insurance Blast
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Yasiel Puig blasted his 10th home run of the season off reliever Noè Ramirez. The ball landed off a camera well in center, and the fans at the park knew when it left the bat. This gave the Dodgers the ever important insurance run needed to turn the ball over to Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers now have eight players with ten or more home runs to lead all of baseball.
The Final Word
Last night’s loss would have possibly put a team with less integrity into a swoon; but the 2018 Dodgers don’t go into a shell with adversity. They responded with a fundamentally sound low-scoring victory in which the home run didn’t really play a factor.
The Dodgers pulled their record to 48-40 and will wait to see what happens in Arizona tonight in regards to their rightful place in the standings. If the Diamondbacks lose, the Dodgers once again move into a tie for first place in the division.
Tomorrow night, the Dodgers face left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney on Sunday Night Baseball in the series finale. This will decide the winner of the Freeway Series on national television. Los Angeles will oppose Heaney with Alex Wood.
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