I woke up groggily this morning thinking I had messed up somehow since it was still pitch black outside. Nope, this godforsaken game actually started at 5 AM.
Well thankfully the Dodgers at least made it worthwhile to me, overcoming a great start by Joe Ross to beat the Nationals with a pen game, 5-1. That made it a clean four-game sweep and a nine-game win streak.
The Dodgers went with relievers instead of going with Edwin Uceta, and that certainly seemed to be the right choice. Garrett Cleavinger started instead, running into trouble in the 1st with a double and a walk but keeping the game scoreless.
Phil Bickford started the 2nd and continued his shocking run with two strikeouts in a dominant frame. He continued in the 3rd, getting an out but issuing a walk before being removed. Bickford did end up being charged with a run after Victor Gonzalez entered and surrendered back-to-back singles to make it 1-0 early. Victor did follow that by at least getting a double play to avoid disaster.
The Nationals countered with Ross, who honestly dominated for the most part. Ross generally cruised through the first three frames, but was greeted suddenly in the 4th by a lead-off Matt Beaty homer to tie the game at 1-1.
He then got two outs, but allowed back-to-back singles and drilled Austin Barnes in the head with a fastball to load the bases and provide a scary moment. Thankfully, Barnes was fine, though the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize either.
Meanwhile, back on the pen game side, Joe Kelly took over and continued his run of quality with a scoreless 4th. David Price got the 5th, facing some trouble due to a catcher’s interference on Barnes and a walk, but inducing a double play to end the threat. He then caught a bit of a break in the 6th, as a Josh Bell bloop fell in front of Beaty in left, but Bell tried to go for second and was thrown out after his hand came off the bag. Later, he gave up a two-out double that would’ve scored a run, but instead managed to recover to keep things tied.
That proved to be a significant turning point in the game. After loading the bases in the 4th, Ross set down seven in a row, but was greeted in the 7th with a lead-off double from Gavin Lux. With one out, Albert Pujols pinch-hit and promptly (and comedically) roped a ball down the line in left to the wall for only a single to score Lux. After getting the second out of the frame, Ross exited.
Brad Hand entered to get the left-handed Max Muncy, and the decision to pinch run Tony Gonsolin for Albert paid off when Muncy lined a double to right-center and Gonsolin motored around to make it 3-1. After completing the 7th, Hand also got an uneventful 8th.
The Dodgers pen then got into a situation they’re more used to, with Blake Treinen getting a scoreless 7th and Jimmy Nelson chipping in with a scoreless 8th, including some nice D from Lux to end his outing.
The 9th was … well, a mess. Wander Suero took over and was greeted by Lux and Barnes back-to-back singles. He then went up and in on the first pitch to Justin Turner, thankfully hitting him in the front shoulder first before it deflected into his helmet, which likely helped to avoid disaster.
After getting one out, Muncy took some level of revenge by smashing a “double” to deep center that was pretty badly misplayed by Gerardo Parra to clear the bases and make it 5-1.
Andres Machado then took over and, yeah, you guessed it, hit AJ Pollock in the upper arm to load the bases again. Machado at least then found a way to throw strikes, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
IT’S F*!@&ING ALL OVER THE PLACE 🤬 pic.twitter.com/Zz6TgE7YeW— danny ⚾️🏆🇬🇹 (@gatodejazz) July 4, 2021
Despite the four-run lead, Kenley Jansen entered in the 9th, and he continued an odd stretch of surrendering baserunners to start off his outings with a single to start. However, he rebounded with a strikeout and a double play to end it.
Dave Roberts did a line or something to be this animated this early.
Dave Roberts keeping it 💯. pic.twitter.com/Ofz0OPCUBD— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 4, 2021
The Dodgers improve to 53-31 on the year with the win. The Giants play later today, but they are at least temporarily tied for the NL West lead.
The team now travels to Miami for a three-game series against the Marlins and old friend Kim Ng, starting at 12:40 PM HST/3:40 PM PST/6:40 PM EST. Walker Buehler will start, facing off against Trevor Rogers.