Although the Dodgers dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 and had their 10 game win streak snapped, they still took two of three games in Philadelphia. News of Sunday’s loss was almost earth-shattering, seeing as how it’s only happened nine times in the last 51 games.
The Dodgers have been the talk of sports media with their historic run, but for whatever reason, the Philly series seemed rather uneventful. Perhaps this was because of the quiet dominance of the Dodger pitching staff as Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke combined for 15 1/3 scoreless innings and the Dodgers held the Phillies scoreless for the first 21 innings of the series.
As I mentioned before, Kershaw and Greinke were nearly un-hittable. Greinke pitched 7.1 shutout innings Friday night, allowing only three hits. Kershaw was even more dominant, hurling 8 shutout innings, also allowing only three hits and striking out eight in the process.
Kershaw’s season ERA is now an unfathomable 1.80. Can we say Cy Young?
Although the Dodgers lost Sunday’s series finale, Ricky Nolasco still pitched a pretty darn good game. Six innings, two earned runs, five strikeouts, and one walk; a season ERA of 3.60.
As good as Nolasco is though, you notice the difference when an elite pitcher like Kershaw or Greinke takes the hill. Their ability to control games is uncanny, Kershaw especially. While some guys struggle with men on base, it’s amazing how a Kershaw or Greinke-level pitcher can escape jams with seemingly no effort. Any team that meets the Dodgers in the playoffs is in for it against that intimidating one-two combination. Did I mention Hyun-Jin Ryu and his 2.91 ERA as well? Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers lead all of MLB with a 2.09 ERA.
After jamming his shoulder chasing a foul ball in Chicago, Hanley Ramirez is now back in the starting lineup after a 12-day absence. Hanley made his presence felt immediately with a two-run bomb off of Cliff Lee Friday night to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Hanley went 3-7 in the first two games of the series before going 0-4 Sunday morning. There’s no doubt that Hanley has been hitting at an astronomical rate, however, he was the goat on Sunday.
He committed two critical errors in the bottom ninth Sunday and with one out Casper Wells hit a grounder into the hole, Ramirez fielded the ball cleanly, but he bounced his throw and Jerry Hairston Jr. couldn’t field the ball cleanly at first base.
Carlos Ruiz singled and the Dodgers intentionally walked Jimmy Rollins to load the bases. Michael Young came up and would ground out to Ramirez, however, Hanley bobbled the ball, Young was safe, the run scored, and the game was over.
An unlikely gaffe from Hanley and something Dodger fans are not likely to see again. Look for Hanley to be hungry for some redemption as the Dodgers head to Miami to face Hanley’s former team, the Marlins.
That was pretty much it for the Dodgers this weekend. No ten-run outbursts, no dramatic comebacks, just three games of good old fashioned, hard pitched baseball. Don Mattingly also did a great job deflecting attention away from Ramirez’s errors Sunday afternoon, saying that by scoring only two runs early on, the team did not do enough to win the game.
The Dodgers head next to Miami to take on the Marlins, the worst team in the National League (47-75). The Marlins just lost two of three games to the San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers will be greeted in the series opener by rookie of the year candidate Jose Fernandez (8-5, 2.45 ERA).
Ryu will take the mound Friday for the Dodgers as it will be an interesting moment when Fernandez faces his countryman Yasiel Puig. Fernandez has been one of the few bright spots for the Marlins this year and is garnering Rookie of the Year attention.
Needless to say Puig will be looking to prove something when he comes to the plate against Fernandez Monday night. The Dodgers should also see Nathan Eovaldi, who was part of last year’s Hanley Ramirez trade. Eovaldi is holding his own as well, boasting a 2-3 mark on the season with a 3.96 ERA in 11 starts.
In case you missed it, be sure to find out the latest on Matt Kemp’s ankle injury.