Coming off a disastrous 1-6 homestand, which was one less Clayton Kershaw solo victory over the Padres from being the worst homestand in Los Angeles Dodgers history (or something terrible like that), the Dodgers drubbed the Rays, 10-5, scoring one less run today than they did across the last seven games combined.
The Dodgers are now 14-13 on the year, including 9-5 on the road.
The Dodgers offense mustered 11 runs across the seven-game homestand in which they went the aforementioned 1-6, so there were understandable concerns about how the Dodgers were going to push runs across the plate during this tough upcoming slate.
Well, thankfully the hitters seem to have broken out of it for at least one day.
In the second inning, Howie Kendrick singled (yes, really) and Trayce Thompson followed with an absolute moonshot to left.
Thompson's HR in the @Dodgers 2nd hit the C-ring (and hasn't come down). It's only the 6th fair ball to hit and lodge in a Trop catwalk.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 4, 2016
Not be outdone, Joc Pederson made his case for not being platooned against lefties by bombing a solo shot to center.
The Dodgers put the game away in the fifth inning with a four-run explosion. Enrique Hernandez led-off with a walk, which was followed by a Yasiel Puig infield single. After Adrian Gonzalez lined out to left center, Justin Turner walked to load the bases. Kendrick, who came into the game hitting .143, then hammered the first pitch he saw for a double. That was Howie’s first extra-base hit of the year and first two runs batted in as well.
Thompson followed with a single up the middle that bounced past the drawn-in infielders for another two runs.
For good measure, in the ninth the Dodgers put up insurance runs to protect the battered bullpen. Corey Seager led-off the inning with an opposite-field single, and Carl Crawford got on base by hammering a ball to second which was misplayed into an error.
That led to Puig, who finally got going by uncorking an absolute bomb into left.
Not even sure how to react to the Dodgers scoring 10 runs at this point.
On the other side of the fence, Scott Kazmir was quite good and also quite bad, which sorta sums up his season. Kazmir went 6.2 innings in 111 pitches, struck out nine and walked just one. However, he also gave up four runs on seven hits, including two taters.
"Kazmir is gonna strike out a batter an inning with less walks." "So everything's worked out then?" "No, his ERA is like 5.5." "Huh."
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) May 4, 2016
I mean, overall it’s a promising effort because it sure didn’t look like a mediocre start. Kazmir looked like he was in control for most of the game and then randomly got burned by dingers, which sums up a season in which he has one more walk (8) then homers allowed (7). At some point every mistake Kazmir makes has to stop resulting in him being burned by taters, right? Well, no, but I hope that’s eventually the case.
Anyway, Kazmir aside, it was Joe Blanton that was entrusted to protect a three-run lead with two outs in the seventh and then again to get the eighth inning. Blanton did both of those things, retiring four batters in a row.
In the ninth, though, J.P. Howell had a bit of an adventure. After recording two outs, he then loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and then he hit a batter to drive in a run for the Rays. That forced the Dodgers to bring in Kenley Jansen, who gladly will take the stat boost for throwing four pitches to finish the game.
As a bonus, the camera angle of this stadium showed why Kenley has been so hard to hit.
The Dodgers play the Rays again tomorrow at 4:10 PM PST/7:10 PM EST, with the pitching matchup being Alex Wood against Drew Smyly.
-Kendrick finally broke out of his miserable slump, going 4-for-5 today and generally hitting the ball hard. Defensively, he also contributed this gem.
Have a day.
-This was not nice to do to Joc.