Maybe the Dodgers should wear their Players’ Weekend gear for the rest of the season, because they won their third straight game on Sunday and swept the Padres while donning silly monikers on their backs. MLB might be on to something, because injecting a little fun into a serious pennant race might temporarily alleviate some of the anxiety. Then again, the sweep was against the worst team in the league, the Padres. Either way, we’ll take it.
Hyun-Jin Ryu had sharp command through his first four innings, and he was hurling strike after strike as he racked up 8 strikeouts in 5.2 frames. However, he ran into a bit of trouble when the Padres lineup took advantage of all the strikes over the plate. The Padres did collect 14 hits against LA pitching, but they were mostly scattered weak hits that didn’t do much damage besides solo dongs by Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe.
Monster started off the game strong, striking out three around a one-out Wil Myers double in the first. Things got a bit squirrely in the second, when for the second straight game, Reyes took a Dodgers pitcher deep. The beast of a man crushed a solo shot to center field in the top of the second off the first pitch he saw from Ryu to give the Friars a 1-0 lead.
Missed opportunities is a recurrent theme this season for the Dodgers, and they missed another scoring opportunity in the second inning. After another near-homer that goes just around the foul pole, Matt Kemp started off with a double against San Diego lefty Robbie Erlin. Myers taketh, but Myers also giveth. Chris Taylor reached safely on a fielding error by Myers at third, opening the door for scoring opportunity with a man on third base and one out. Erlin placed a fastball perfectly at the knees to strike out Yasiel Puig looking, then ‘Bob’ struck out ‘Sam’ to end the threat.
Myers was at it again with triple to right field to open the third. Hunter Renfroe promptly drove Myers in with a single to left to add another run to the Padres’ lead.
The Dodgers wasted a base hit from one of their #pitcherswhorake in the third. Ryu took matters into his own hands with a leadoff single for LA’s second base hit of the day off Erlin. The proceeding offense sequence went like this: pop-up, fly out, groundout. They stranded Ryu, and the offense was doing that thing when they don’t score any runs with RISP (0-for-4).
The Wild Horse showed off his cannon arm to throw Manuel Margot at third after fumbling a single to right field by Erlin. That’s Puig’s 10th outfield assist of the season.
DO 👏 NOT 👏 TEST 👏 PUIG’S 👏 ARM 👏. pic.twitter.com/G59zH981ZQ
— MLB (@MLB) August 26, 2018
Ryu was able to battle back after the Padres loaded the bases in the fifth. The walk to Reyes was perhaps for the best, because Ryu was able to induce a fly out from Austin Hedges to end the frame.
The Dodgers finally came up with some clutch hitting in the bottom of the fifth when things unraveled for Erlin. Babe Ryuth came up with his second base hit of the game, a two-out single. He’s now hitting .250 on the season, and Austin Barnes is hitting below the Mendoza Line at .198. Dozier walked, and then Justin Turner doubled in two to tie the game up at two runs apiece. Manny Machado then blasted a two-run bomb, his 31st of the year, to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 26, 2018
With two outs and two runners on in the sixth, Dave Roberts pulled Ryu who allowed 2 runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings with 8 strikeouts and a walk on 86 pitches (64 strikes). Enter Pedro Baez, who retired Myers on one pitch, preserving the two-run lead.
The Dodgers added two more runs in the sixth thanks to a RedTurn2 2-RBI single against Robert Stock out of the San Diego bullpen.
Justin Turner in August: .398/.479/.711/1.190, 5 homers, 18 RBI
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) August 26, 2018
I may be officially on the Dylan Floro train.
This movement on a fastball is ridiculous from Dylan Floro. pic.twitter.com/968SlpnpR2
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) August 26, 2018
With Floro on the mound for his second inning in the eighth, the Padres threatened with runners at the corners and one out. Floro battled back to strike out Freddy Galvis and Myers to escape the jam. I’d like to add that Yasmani Grandal, now in the game behind the plate, blocked a ball in the dirt to save a run.
Turner ends up with a 5-RBI day after he drives in the Dodgers’ 7th run in the eighth. Turner’s resurgence is exactly what this team needs right now. He’s hitting .398 and OPSing 1.190 with 5 home runs this month. That’ll play.
Roberts handed the ball to Yimi Garcia in the top of the ninth, the first sweep for the Dodgers since June three outs away. Renfroe slaughtered a ball for a solo home run, making it 7-3, but Garcia was able to get the final three outs to give the Dodgers the Players’ Weekend sweep.
The Dodgers are now 70-61 on the year and 35-33 at home and remain 2 1/2 games back in third place. The Cardinals handily defeated the Rockies earlier today, so the Rox fall to 1/2 game back of Arizona who beat the Mariners.
The Dodgers have another day off tomorrow and travel to Texas for a brief two-game interleague series with the last-place Rangers. The series opener on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington starts at 5:05 PM PST/8:05 PM EST. Walker Buehler (6-4, 2.96 ERA, 3.23 FIP) looks to continue his dominant run vs. a Texas starter yet to be announced.