We have said it before within these very archives. These Dodgers fight. They may not be the perfect team, and they’re not without their warts. But they fight. On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball against the Washington Nationals, they climbed out of a 3-0 hole early. For their efforts, they’re back to .500 on the year, and may have tallied their most impressive win of the young 2018 season.
Things looked bleak early on. Alex Wood wasn’t bad – he hung in there on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff. But the Nationals chipped away and built a 3-0 lead off a couple sacrifice flies sandwiched around a Michael Taylor home run. Then the Dodgers began to play with a sense of urgency.
The Big Comeback
The Dodgers were held to no hits from the first inning until the bottom of the sixth by Nationals’ starter Jeremy Hellickson. Chris Taylor chipped a single to right field, and Corey Seager worked a walk. Then Yasmani Grandal came up with the biggest swing of the game for the Dodgers.
The double got the Dodgers on the board and cut the deficit to 3-2. Grandal has now hit in 11 straight games, a career best. One batter later, Cody Bellinger doubled off the centerfield wall to tie the game. This was a key hit because it came off a lefty specialist in Sammy Solis.
A True Team Win
There was no one star in this game. That’s one of the best aspects I noticed while taking it in – in between the ESPN announce team trying to butcher a perfectly good ballgame.
When Wood handed the game off to the bullpen, they each had an incredible focus and intensity. Josh Fields was the pitcher of record, earning his second victory. He got out of a big jam with a couple of strikeouts. Fields has looked phenomenal to start this season and is earning bigger opportunities. Tony Cingrani and Pedro Baez got the game to the ninth inning and did their jobs.
Corey Seager delivered a key sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Austin Barnes who earned his way aboard with a hit-by-pitch. The 4-3 lead would hold up as the final score.
Kenley Jansen’s Continued Resurgence
I saw the tweets. People started to panic when Jansen entered the game and his first handful of pitches averaged 91 miles per hour. The first two hitters reached base with singles, and Jansen reacted with some rare emotion. Like a boxer who had tasted his own blood, he went into a different dimension. His velocity suddenly rose to 93 to 95 miles per hour, and he struck out the next two Nationals hitters. After a long battle with Howie Kendrick, he got a fly out to end the game. It was his first save since April 10th. He might not look all the way ‘back’, but it was a continued step in the right direction.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are back to .500, and the Miami Marlins are coming to town. It’s time to make hay over the next three games.
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