Brandon McCarthy made his return from Tommy John surgery a successful one, as he helped lead the Dodgers to a 4-1 win over the Rockies for a series sweep. The Dodgers have now won six of their last seven games, and four straight since it was announced Clayton Kershaw would go on the disabled list.
Dodgers starting pitchers this weekend against the Rockies:
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) July 3, 2016
McCarthy was surprisingly sitting 91-94 mph, as if almost nothing happened since the last time he took the mound. Both his curve and cutter looked sharp, and somehow his command was on point. Usually they say the fine command is the last thing to return after elbow surgery, but McCarthy always looked in control this afternoon. All of that added up to five shutout innings on 72 pitches, and he allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out eight in a dominant effort.
The offense backed him up with a big second inning that probably should’ve been even bigger. Trayce Thompson started things off with a dinger to center to get the Dodgers off to a 1-0 lead.
Howie Kendrick was then hit by a pitch, and Yasiel Puig battled back from an 0-2 count to walk. That started a trend, as Yasmani Grandal then walked to load the bases and McCarthy then took a base on balls himself to score Kendrick and make it 2-0 with nobody out. Amusingly enough, it was at that point it got worse, as Chase Utley flew out to shallow right for one out and then Corey Seager struck out for he second out, both of which didn’t advance a runner. Fortunately, Justin Turner came through with a sharp single to left to score Puig to make it 3-0, but for whatever reason Chris Woodward waved one of the slowest players in the league in Grandal around from second and he was thrown out at the plate by about 10 feet. Adrian Gonzalez waited on deck with the bases loaded, so I have no idea what that decision was about.
Any who, Adam Liberatore entered in relief of McCarthy, which seemed a bit early but I guess they really want to ease him back. Liberatore eventually got a scoreless inning in the sixth, and Casey Fien was brought in to get the seventh. Fien got his inning and was never in trouble, really, but he did give up a homer to Daniel Descalso (him again, really?) to cut the lead to 3-1.
Fortunately, Grandal got the run back in the seventh with a solo shot of his own to move the lead to 4-1.
Joe Blanton then entered in the eighth and struck out the side on 13 pitches, and then Kenley Jansen finally got his chance at a save in the ninth inning. Jansen also struck out the side, but did give up a bloop single in the save.
Of course, in the middle of his appearance, a bunch of people made a mess on the field for whatever idiotic reason.
The Dodgers are now 10 games above .500 at 47-37 overall and are 26-15 at home. The team is currently 4.5 games back in the NL West as the Giants and Diamondbacks are tied in Arizona. The Dodgers are also still leading the NL Wild Card race by 1.5 games.
Good news for Dodgers pitchers, who go from shutting down a scary Rockies lineup right into the lineup that just set the MLB record for homers in a month in the Orioles! Julio Urias goes up against Yovani Gallardo tomorrow at 3:10 PM HST/6:10 PM PST/9:10 PM EST.
Also, maybe Puig really is back to normal in more ways than one.