Tonight’s game didn’t actually matter. The only thing that was actually at stake was pride, and the Dodgers did their best to boost their pride, winning by a score of 7-4.
The meaningless nature of today’s game took the edge off of another tedious start by Roberto Hernandez. He was a little bit better than he has been as a Dodger, but only slightly. He allowed three runs in 5-2/3 innings (at Dodger Stadium in the 2014 offensive environment that’s around replacement level), but he was constantly dancing around trouble. He allowed eleven baserunners, including four walks and a hit batter. The major damage was done on a Justin Morneau two run home run, part of a three run third inning. Hernandez departed with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning before Scott Elbert struck out Charlie Blackmon to end the threat. Hernandez continued to look unprepared to start in the playoffs, so again Hyun-jin Ryu‘s health is so, so important.
The Dodgers only managed one run against starter Jordan Lyles through five innings, fueled by a Dee Gordon double (his first of two) and a Yasiel Puig single up the middle. However, in the sixth inning, the Dodger offense opened the taps. Darwin Barney led off with a single, and after a Gordon bunt single and a Joc Pederson pop-up (and requisite FUCK by him, which is becoming a pattern), Scott Van Slyke singled and advanced with Gordon on the throw. Gordon and Van Slyke scored on a Justin Turner infield single to give the Dodgers the lead. The offensive onslaught continued, including Barney getting a second plate appearance in an inning in which he pinch hit, and the Dodgers left the inning with six runs.
The rest of the game was mostly defined by postseason roster “auditions.” Elbert, who is a long shot, retired the only batter he faced. Paco Rodriguez, on the bubble, retired neither of the batters he faced, allowing Rafael Ynoa to reach on an error and a Justin Morneau single. Brandon League saved Paco from allowing any runs behind two strikeouts (?) and a Carl Crawford assist at home (?!). Pedro Baez pitched a 1-2-3- eighth inning, his velocity back up in the mid 90s. He allowed two fly balls to the left field warning track, so his batted ball profile is still pretty concerning. On offense, Darwin Barney hit a single and a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, while Miguel Rojas made an uncharacteristic error later in the game. Rojas seems to be the defensive replacement of choice at short (and third, which he played later in the game), but it remains to be seen how Barney’s uncharacteristic and unsustainable offensive performance as a Dodger will be weighed.