The Dodgers offense didn’t slow down tonight after yesterday’s outburst, and it helped them prevail over the Phillies tonight, 7-2. Adrian Gonzalez was the primary reason for that, as he slugged two homers that drove in a total of five runs. After hitting just four homers in June and July combined, A-Gon now has three in August.
Speaking of August, the offense has a 129 wRC+ from non-pitchers, good for third in the majors. In the past 30 days, they have a 124 wRC+ from non-pitchers, which leads the bigs. While they were terrible early in the season, the offensive outburst is why this team has been able to not only weather the injury storm but thrive in it.
After being shutout for three innings, the Dodgers got the fireworks started in the fourth when Justin Turner singled to start and Josh Reddick walked. Gonzalez then (surprisingly) bombed a three-run homer to right to put the offense on the board.
In the fifth, another homer led to two more runs, as JT’s sky-high blast to left drove in Corey Seager (single).
A-Gon did it again in the seventh, bombing his second homer of the night to right field, cashing in Seager (double) this time.
After all the speculation about his decline and his neck and his back (reasonable at his age), A-Gon’s line is suddenly now .298/.371/.438/.809.
Scott Kazmir was, uh, thoroughly mediocre. He made it through five innings on 95 pitches, giving up two runs on eight hits and three walks. Kazmir only struck out one batter, which sorta speaks to all the (hard) contact being made against him. Given that he was removed with runners on first and second and nobody out in the sixth, and that they were ripping his pitches, Kazmir was extremely fortunate today.
The reason Kazmir was fortunate was partially due to Grant Dayton, who entered in the sixth to save him. While he gave up a single to load the bases with nobody out, he then induced three consecutive fly balls to escape the jam with no harm done. After starting the seventh with a strikeout, he was then removed for Joe Blanton, who got the last two outs of the inning.
Next up was Jesse Chavez, who pitched a perfect inning while striking out one. If it seems like you’ve seen a lot of Chavez so far, it’s because you have. The Dodgers have played 14 games since the trading deadline and Chavez has pitched in seven of them. He’s also thrown 10 innings in those contests, which would put him on a season pace with the Dodgers for 81 games pitched and 116 innings. That’s not a critique as much as it is showing exactly why the Dodgers got him. Even if Chavez doesn’t do well, and he has after his first two games, he adds value simply by eating pen innings.
Speaking of trades, Josh Fields entered in the ninth to finish the game off, and he also got a scoreless inning. Fields was optioned when he was acquired, but has already pitched in eight games and 6.1 innings for the Dodgers. The thinking in regards to the rental relievers is clear.
With the win, the Dodgers improve to 67-52 overall and finally get back above .500 on the road at 29-28. The Giants lost again earlier today, meaning that the Dodgers lead in the NL West is now 1.5 games. I pray to god the Dodgers keep this lead, if for no other reason than now I can stop updating about the NL Wild Card race.
The Dodgers complete the series with the Phillies tomorrow night at 1:05 PM HST/4:05 PM PST/7:05 PM EST, with the pitching matchup being Ross Stripling (4.07 ERA/3.70 FIP/4.11 DRA) and Jerad Eickhoff (3.82/4.06/3.70).