Series Recap: Dodgers Avenge 2012, Take 2 of 3 from Brewers
The Dodgers had a very positive weekend, taking two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Dodgers were Milwaukee’s doormat last season, as the Brew Crew took six of the seven games the teams played last season. This was a great series, and every game featured a different facet that made it interesting. The Dodgers won a seeming back-and-forth slugfest 7-5 Friday night with Adrian Gonzalez delivering the decisive blow, a double off the glove of Milwaukee CF Carlos Gomez. The Blue Crew got a tremendous spot start from rookie Matt Magill on Saturday, Magill was called up from AAA-Albuquerque to replace the injured Stephen Fife. However, Matt Guerrier and the Dodgers bullpen would blow the game. Sunday’s game was a pitchers’ duel between Clayton Kershaw and Kyle Lohse, but thanks to Carl Crawford’s two home runs, the Dodgers came out on top 2-0 and took the series.
Adrian Gonzalez paced the Dodgers offense in Friday’s 7-5 win, going 2-4 with two doubles and three RBI, including the go-ahead RBI double in the 7th inning off of Milwaukee’s Mike Gonzalez. Adrian went 0-6 the next two games of the series, however. Going around the horn, the Dodgers didn’t get much from the catcher spot. A.J. Ellis went 1-9 with a RBI single in Saturday’s 6-4 loss. Ramon Hernandez went 0-3 starting Sunday afternoon. Although Mark Ellis went down with a strained quad Friday night, the Dodgers still got production from second base. Skip Schumaker went 1-4 there Saturday, and Nick Punto went 3-4 at second on in Sundays’ 2-0 win. Shortstop would not provide too much else, Justin Sellers went 2-7 with a double and a pair of runs scored in the series. Luis Cruz went 0-4 in Saturday night’s losing effort with an RBI groundout. Cruz’s former position of third base appears to have been taken over by Juan Uribe for the time being. Uribe started every game of the series at the hot corner, going 2-7 with a run scored. On top of that, Uribe has walked more than he’s struck out so far on the season. For a guy who has a worse than 3-to-1 K:BB ratio, this is absolutely, mind blowing. Hanley Ramirez also made a rehab start at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, and he might be back with the team in time for their weekend series in San Francisco. Things are looking up for the Dodgers infield.
Carl Crawford was beastin’ against the Brewers this weekend with three homers and four RBI against Milwaukee. Andre Ethier added a solo shot in Saturday night’s loss, however, Matt Kemp wasn’t much of a factor in the series. Crawford went 4-13 with three homers, four RBI, and four runs scored in the series. Crawford provided all of the Dodgers’ offense on Sunday afternoon, banging two shots off of Milwaukee’s Kyle Lohse. It was Crawford’s first multi-homer game since July of 2010 with Tampa Bay. Andre Ethier got things going with a first inning RBI single in Friday night’s win, and he slugged a solo home run off of the Brewers’ John Axford, but other than that, Andre didn’t provide much else going 2-11. His five game hitting streak was snapped on Sunday. Kemp also had a quiet series, going 2-9. Kemp scored a pair of runs in Saturday night’s loss, but that would be all for Kemp this weekend. Kemp did not have an extra base hit in the series. The Dodgers won a couple of close games this weekend, but Kemp and Ethier must step it up in order for the Dodgers to contend for a World Series title.
STARTING PITCHING: B+
Josh Beckett was alright again, Matt Magill was surprisingly good, and Clayton Kershaw was sublime. Those were the three Dodgers’ starting pitcher performances. Beckett threw 5.1 innings Friday night, giving up three runs, with five K’s and 2 walks. Beckett left to a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning. The Dodgers placed Stephen Fife on the 15-day DL with shoulder soreness before Saturday’s game, so they called up Matt Magill to take his place and he was brilliant going 6.2 innings allowing only two runs, while striking out seven with only two walks. Magill left with a 3-2 lead and was in line for his first major league win, but it was not meant to be. After a bunt single by Norichika Aoki followed by a two-run bomb from Carlos Gomez, it was 4-3 Milwaukee. After two shaky starts, Clayton Kershaw delivered a vintage performance. Eight innings, no runs, 12 strikeouts, zero walks. WOW! Kershaw improved to 3-2 on the season thanks to Crawford’s offense. It remains to be seen how severe Fife’s injury is, but Chris Capuano has been throwing, and he could also rejoin the team this weekend in San Francisco.
It was a mixed bag for the Dodgers’ bullpen this weekend. Brandon League recorded two saves, and the recently struggling Ronald Belisario pitched nicely. However, Paco Rodriguez was ineffective, and Matt Guerrier just got lit up this weekend. Guerrier entered Friday’s game and got Yuniesky Betancourt to ground into a key double play to end the sixth. But he allowed a lead-off single to Alex Gonzalez to start the seventh that would come around to score on a bloop single by Aoki off of Rodriguez. Belisario came in to stop the bleeding and struck out early rookie of the year candidate Jean Segura to end the seventh. After Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers the lead, Belisario pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two batters to maintain the lead. Despite giving up a run in the ninth, Brandon League converted his seventh save of the season. League would return Sunday afternoon to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth for his eight save of the season. League is tied for second in the NL in saves, only Pittsburgh’s Jason Grilli has more with 10. With two out in the seventh on Saturday night, Matt Magill got pulled after a brilliant spot start. Paco Rodriguez gave up a bunt single to Norichika Aoki, and Matt Guerrier gave up a the go-ahead two-run bomb to Carlos Gomez. J.P. Howell and Josh Wall came in to pitch the final 1.2 innings scoreless, but the damage had been done and Guerrier dropped to 1-1 on the year. After his ERA hit 4.91 in Baltimore, Belisario has pitched 4.1 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts in his last three appearances. His ERA now sits at 3.09. Paco Rodriguez’s ERA has risen to 4.91 this season. Matt Guerrier now sits at 5.40. Hopefully, just hiccups for these two relievers. The Dodgers will need them down the stretch.
The Dodgers welcome the division leading Colorado Rockies (didn’t see that one coming, huh) to Dodger Stadium this week. The Rockies have been led by Dexter Fowler and a healthy Troy Tulowitzki on offense. Colorado has also received strong starting pitching from Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, and…Jon Garland!? The Rockies just lost three of four games to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix, so this series is a prime opportunity for the Dodgers to make up some serious ground in the NL West. Ted Lilly is set to make his second start of the season Monday afternoon against the Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood.