The Dodgers took a lot of pressure off themselves in this Giants series by taking the first game tonight, 9-5, thus assuring they’ll exit this at least a share of the lead in the NL West. While the rotation still isn’t doing their best work, at least the offense and bullpen came to play today.
Oh yeah, and they’re doing all this despite the fact that they tied the MLB record today for most players on the DL.
#Dodgers put LHPs Brett Anderson and Scott Kazmir on DL. That's 27 separate players on DL this season, tying the MLB record.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) August 24, 2016
Kenta Maeda didn’t have his sharpest command tonight, and on many occasions he couldn’t even get the signs correct. At the end of his day, though, he did enough to keep the Dodgers in the game. Maeda threw a whopping 103 pitches in his five innings of work, surrendering three runs on six hits and four walks. He also only struck out four, which was rare in the sense that his strikeouts didn’t outnumber his walks today.
In each of his previous 24 starts, Kenta Maeda struck out more batters than he walked. In five innings tonight: four walks, four strikeouts.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) August 24, 2016
Jesse Chavez entered to get righties and stuff, but failed at that, surrendering two hits that led to a run. Adam Liberatore entered to get a string of lefties and did his job, as usual, to escape further damage.
As much as this offense has struggled against left-handed pitching this year, they came with a plan tonight, putting up a picket fence around starter Madison Bumgarner for the first three innings.
The second frame was a lot easier, with Rob Segedin crushing a pitch over the left-field wall.
Then in the third, Adrian Gonzalez followed back-to-back singles with one out by Seager and Turner with a sacrifice fly to left that scored Seager.
While they went quietly in the fourth, things broke open again in the fifth, this time for multiple runs. The Dodgers loaded the bases with Enrique Hernandez (single), Seager (walk), and Turner (single), which things up perfectly for A-Gon to single to center to drive in Seager and Kendrick.
Because this is the Giants/Dodgers series, even that joy couldn’t happen without evil man Brandon Crawford trying to ruin it and giving me a heart attack.
The Dodgers knocked out Bumgarner after five and got into the Giants bullpen and immediately took advantage. In the sixth, Chase Utley singled and Andrew Toles promptly crushed a double to right-center, scoring Utley and most importantly leading to this.
Enrique followed with another single to score Toles from second, and the Dodgers were living right. Speaking of Toles, he had himself a night, blasting a two-run homer (Josh Reddick walked) in the eighth to give the Dodgers insurance.
In total, the Dodgers got nine runs on 14 hits (two homers, two doubles) and three walks. They’ll need to stay hot with the rotation in shambles, and they seem intent on doing so.
A combination of Joe Blanton and Kenley Jansen ended any thoughts of a Giants comeback. Blanton got five outs, striking out two, while giving up no damage. Jansen, bought on for a four-out save for whatever reason, and while he gave up a solo homer, he was otherwise flawless on the night.
This felt good.
The win puts the Dodgers at 70-55 overall, 39-24 at home, and 2 games up on the Giants in the NL West race.
The Dodgers play the Giants again tomorrow night at 4:00 PM HST/7:00 PM PST/10:00 PM EST on ESPN, with the pitching matchup being Rich Hill (2.25 ERA/2.49 FIP/2.93 DRA) making his Dodgers debut against Johnny Cueto (2.90 ERA/3.11 FIP/3.80 DRA).