Dodgers Series Recap: Pitchers lead sweep of Pirates
The Dodgers enjoyed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend at Dodger Stadium.
The pitching staff showed why they will be a force to be reckoned with this season, shutting out the Buccos twice in the series. The bats started showing signs of life, especially in the series finale Sunday, a 6-2 victory with 11 hits, the team’s best offensive showing of the season.
Although, Clayton Kershaw was unable to pad his team home run lead.
Adrian Gonzalez broke out in a big way in the series going 7-for-11 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs in the series, including four in Sunday’s 6-2 victory. Gonzalez displayed his classic stroke, going with the ball and driving it into the gap in key spots with men on base.
Mark Ellis continued his solid play, going 4-for-9 in the series, including the lone RBI in Saturday night’s 1-0 win, a single to the gap scoring Carl Crawford after a stolen base.
A.J. Ellis went 2-for-6 with a double in the first two games of the series before getting Sunday off. Tim Federowicz went 0-for-3 in his place.
Justin Sellers went only 1-for-10 in the series, but the one hit was a solo home run in Sunday’s offensive onslaught.
In a disturbing trend though, Luis Cruz continues to go 0-for on the season. Cochito went 0-for-7 in the first two games of the series, before getting Sunday off, bringing him to 0-for-17 on the season. In a surprising turn of events, Juan Uribe went 0-for-3 in Cruz’s place. Defense was solid as always, so all-in-all, it was a solid performance from the Dodgers’ infield.
Carl Crawford continued his impressive start to the season, Matt Kemp finally connected for some RBIs, and Andre Ethier hit his first homer of the season.
The outfield led the way behind Gonzalez for the Dodgers this weekend.
Crawford is starting to look like just might be worth all that money, going 4-for-11 with a double, three runs scored, and two stolen bases in the series. He looks like he just might be the perfect lead-off man for this team, and it appears he hasn’t lost a step on the base paths.
After going 0-for against the Giants, Matt Kemp bounced back to go 2-for-10, both hits being RBI doubles. He scored a pair of runs also.
Ethier hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot off of Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Sanchez deep into right field on Friday night to give Zack Greinke his first lead of the night. Andre would go 2-for-6 in the series before getting Sunday off. Jerry Hairston, Jr. went 1-for-4 in his place.
STARTING PITCHING: A
It’s only a week into the season, but the Dodgers look like they will have one of the elite pitching staffs in the league this season.
Clayton Kershaw continued his brilliance, hurling seven innings of shutout ball on Saturday night, allowing only two singles to Starling Marte, while striking out nine Bucs with only one walk. I don’t know if Clayton has been hanging out with Lil’ Wayne, but like Tunechi, Clayton is clearly not a human being.
Zack Greinke made his Dodgers debut on Friday night, tossing 6-1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, while recording six strikeouts without a walk.
Friday and Saturday night’s games showed what a playoff series with Kershaw and Greinke pitching games one and two could look like for an unlucky opponent.
Hyun-Jin Ryu showed promise, as well, on Sunday. The Korean lefty worked 6-1/3 innings, striking out six with two walks. Ryu surrendered only one hit after giving up a two-run home run to Andrew McCutchen in the first inning.
Each Dodgers starter picked up the win, Kershaw his second of the year, Greinke his first as a Dodger, and Ryu his first MLB victory.
Pitching’s not going to be an issue this season.
Brandon League got his first two saves of the year and the Dodgers bullpen pitched 7-1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only a single during that span.
With every Dodgers starter going at least six-innings plus in this series, the Dodgers continue to get maximum utilization out of the bullpen.
Kenley Jansen had two holds in the series, striking out three batters in 1-2/3 innings of work.
Paco Rodriguez also found himself in setup situations, striking out two in an inning of work in the series, also recording two holds.
With the Boys in Blue finally up by a comfortable margin on Sunday, Ronald Belisario, Matt Guerrier, and J.P. Howell came in to finish the job for Ryu.
The Dodgers have power arms in the bullpen, locked and loaded for late in the game, and with every starter a seeming lock to pitch at least six, the Dodgers look like they’re going to be in good shape in late inning situations.
The Dodgers will head down to San Diego to start a three-game series with the Padres on Tuesday. The lowly Padres are coming off a three game sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies in Denver, where they got outscored 20-6. The opposition has scored 40 runs against the Fathers so far this season, only the Phillies have allowed more runs to start the year.