Dodgers 8, Nationals 4: Scott Kazmir was good, and so was the offense

The Dodgers really needed that from Scott Kazmir. He had one of his most efficient outings of the season on Tuesday night to take down the Nationals 8-4.

Kazmir was spot-on with his fastball command all night long and finished with a strong line:

  • 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 88 pitches, 59 strikes, 8/1 GO/AO

Of course, that didn’t come without some kind of adversity. In the fifth inning, Kazmir jumped to field a comebacker. He came down and landed funny on his right leg and threw a 1-bouncer to first base. Dave Roberts and the trainers came out to check on him and went back to the bullpen without him even throwing a warm-up pitch (which was odd in its own right).

His first three pitches were 88, 88 and 87 MPH — this, after sitting in the 91-93 MPH range all evening. Nats’ backup catcher Jose Lobaton touched up Kazmir for a home run in that at-bat. Kazmir was seen grimacing and not landing with all his weight on his front leg. I was baffled and, it turns out, a little premature in my professional diagnosis.

With all the injuries the Dodgers have sustained this season — especially to the starting rotation — my concern was warranted. But, Kazmir recovered and finished seven innings of work in a game for the first time since May 13.

It helps the Dodgers jumped all over Reynaldo Lopez, who was making his MLB debut, in the first inning. Chase Utley greeted him rather rudely by launching a leadoff home run (99 MPH exit velocity, 37 degrees, 370 feet). It was his sixth home run of the season. He would add two more RBIs and finish the night 3-for-5.

Justin Turner chipped in three hits of his own, while Howie Kendrick stayed hot with two hits and a walk. Joc Pederson also had a key 2-run single in the first inning in his first plate appearance back from the disabled list. That made it 3-0 Dodgers. They’d add a run in the second inning and then go quiet, as Lopez settled into a groove. But in the fifth inning, a Kendrick walk and Turner hit set up Adrian Gonzalez to drive in Kendrick. Yasiel Puig would add an RBI single of his own to make it 6-0 Dodgers. They would tack on one more in the eighth inning to make it 7-1.

Chris Hatcher did his damnedest to give it back, as he allowed a 2-run triple to Trea Turner (after walking the leadoff hitter). Adam Liberatore came in and allowed and RBI double to Daniel Murphy to make it 7-4.

In the top of the ninth inning, Yasmani Grandal launched his 13th home run of the season (102 MPH exit velocity, 32 degrees, 403 feet). Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless bottom-half of the ninth in a non-save situation.

The Dodgers improve to 53-42 on the season with the win. They also gained a game on the Giants, who lost in Boston tonight 4-0. They’re behind by 4 1/2 games. Bud Norris (3.94 ERA, 2.47 FIP with LA) gets the call on Wednesday. He’ll oppose Gio Gonzalez (4.70 ERA, 4.11 FIP). First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.