As a person desperately rooting for them to best the 42-8 mark from 2013, I was somewhat nervous about this series given that the Braves were not only the last team to beat the Dodgers, but they also won two in a row against them. Still, the Dodgers managed to put the Braves away comfortably today, 3-2, thanks in large part to the pitching performance of Kenta Maeda.
The Dodgers have now won nine games in a row and are 40-6 in their last 46 games. Just need 3-1, guys. 3-1.
We’ll get to Maeda later, but let’s start with the offense, which didn’t explode but did do enough. In the third, Yasiel Puig started the inning with a double and Chris Taylor got the scoring started when he exchanged places with him.
Then in the fourth, the Dodgers added another run, this time on a Cody Bellinger solo bomb over the right-center field fence.
Puig then manufactured a run, singling to start the fifth, advancing on Maeda’s bunt, and then stealing third and scoring on an errant throw.
Like I said, not exactly the most thrilling offensive showing, but at least Maeda made it stick. He ended up turning in one of the best starts of his career, going seven shutout innings on 94 pitches, reducing his ERA to 3.79. More impressively, he surrendered just two hits and a walk, striking out six batters. It wasn’t much a matter of getting lucky on contact either, as he induced weakly hit balls all game long. Kenta is very good when he’s aggressive and attacking.
Unfortunately, in a three-run game, they brought in Josh Ravin to experiment or save the pen for tomorrow, and he started things with a walk and a homer to promptly cut the lead to one. That led to new acquisition Tony Watson entering the game, and he promptly gave up a single to start his Dodgers career. Fortunately, however, he worked around it, ending the inning by getting Freddie Freeman and escaping with the lead intact.
That proved important since Kenley Jansen was next out of the pen and he mowed down the Braves in the ninth by striking out the side.
Feels good, man.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the game was the interview with Farhan Zaidi, during which he talks about the trade deadline, making trades, their acquisitions (Yu Darvish, Watson, Tony Cingrani), their prospects, and their strategy.
The victory gets the Dodgers to 75-31 in 2017 and improves them to 28-18 on the road. It’s a 115-win pace, folks. The Diamondbacks are losing but are still playing, so the NL West lead is temporarily 14.5 games. The Astros have also not finished but are currently losing, so the best record in baseball lead is temporarily 5.5 games.
The Dodgers go for the series win against the Braves tomorrow at 1:35 PM HST/4:35 PM PST/7:35 PM EST. Brock Stewart (0.87 ERA/3.69 FIP/4.83 DRA) will continue his temporary role as a starter, and he’ll face a Julio Teheran (5.09 ERA/5.75 FIP/5.34 DRA) who probably wants to make his terrible season less terrible.