All things considered it was rather difficult to care about the game when right before it was supposed to start we had a tribute to Vin Scully being done on the field. The most important part of that, of course, was Vin Scully himself actually speaking.
Never one to make it all about himself, he got everybody back to baseball, and so we went.
In Scott Kazmir‘s first start since August 22, he lasted just 19 pitches and one inning before having to be removed due to whatever right intercostal spasms are.
Scott Kazmir left the game with right intercostal spasms
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) September 24, 2016
In his one frame of work, he allowed a lead-off single and then got a line out. Kazmir proceeded to induce an easy double-play ball hit back to him that he promptly threw in the dirt to Chase Utley and forced a bad throw to first from Utley, which put the runner at second. Kazmir then gave up another hit on a line-drive single to left, but was saved when Andrew Toles used his cannon to cut down yet another runner at the plate.
Ross Stripling took over and looked more effective than Kazmir, as he has really all season long. Stripling threw three shutout frames, allowing two hits and two walks, but striking out four. The strikeouts helped him escape the trouble he got into, as did this play by Josh Reddick in right that saved at least a run and probably two.
Offensively, the Dodgers got started early thanks to opposing starter Jon Gray. After Utley struck out to start the first, Gray walked Corey Seager, hit Justin Turner, and walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases. Unlike last night, Yasmani Grandal didn’t hit a grand slam, but rather dunked a fly-ball jam-shot down the line in right for a two-run single.
Did Joc have fun with it? Joc had fun with it.
After Kazmir and Stripling, Luis Avilan took over in the fifth, and he set the side down in order, striking out one. However, the Rockies got on the board in the sixth off Josh Fields. Nolan Arenado blasted a ball over the left-field fence to get a run back, and then Seager made a throwing error on an “infield single” hit to him to put a runner at second. That runner later scored on another single, and Fields was charged with an unearned run before escaping the inning without any other trouble.
The Dodgers needed insurance after giving back a pair, and they got it in the seventh. Utley, who is honestly insane, got on by taking a 99 mph fastball to the kneecap and basically not caring at all.
JT followed later with a single to put runners at the corners, and A-Gon hit a sac fly to center which scored Utley and put the Dodgers up 5-2.
Pedro Baez pitched into the eighth, striking out two en route to throwing a perfect inning in the seventh and getting the first out of the eighth before being removed for Grant Dayton. Dayton allowed a fly-ball double down the line to start things, but then struck out back-to-back batters to end the inning.
That set things up for Kenley Jansen, who is good at throwing the baseball, and he did it again in a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for the save. Jansen now has 101 strikeouts and nine walks on the year, because he is goddamn ridiculous.
Vin also sung ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’.
And here’s A-Gon trying to troll Utley, which is probably a bad idea.
And here is a good tweet.
when u send the fire tweet but u notice a typo after someone's already rtd pic.twitter.com/BhpUAyErRf
— Mina (@maddc8) September 24, 2016
With the win, the Dodgers improve to 88-66 overall and 51-29 at home. The Giants lost to the Padres tonight, which means they are now 7 games back in the NL West and the Magic Number is down to 2. That means with a Giants loss tomorrow and a Dodgers win, the Dodgers can clinch. Also, given the team’s record at home versus on the road, I feel it’s relevant to mention that the Dodgers now trail the Nationals in the race for home-field advantage in the NLDS by only 1.5 games.
The Dodgers play the Rockies again tomorrow night at 3:10 PM HST/6:10 PM PST/9:10 PM EST on SportsNet LA. The matchup on the mound will be Clayton Kershaw (1.73 ERA/1.69 FIP/1.92 DRA) against Chad Bettis (4.79 ERA/4.24 FIP/4.14 DRA). Honestly, now that it’s right there, I really want the clinch at home to listen to Vin do it.