Bizarro day finds Dodgers only six back
The odds were already stacked against the Dodgers in the second game of a doubleheader having to face the best pitcher in the National League in his park, but they looked even worse after Rich Hill left the game with a torn blister without retiring a single batter. This meant the bullpen would have to get 27 outs for a win, and in one of the more improbable games of 2018, the bullpen did just that. For five innings the combined trio of Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, and Yimi Garcia not only shut down the Nationals they didn’t give up a hit. All that changed in the sixth inning when the Nationals broke through for four runs to give Max Scherzer a two-run lead. That seemed like more than enough given that the Dodgers would have to face Scherzer in the 7th, the vaunted National bullpen, and the Dodgers inability to come back late in games.
But it wasn’t enough. Cody Bellinger hit a home run against the left-handed Solis in the 8th, and Matt Kemp came through with a huge two-run game-winning double against Doolittle in the 9th. The bullpen did their job by shutting down the Nationals in the 7th, 8th, and 9th giving the Dodgers a doubleheader sweep against the hottest team in the National League.
The Dodgers got a sweep because Ross Stripling continues to pitch better and better with each start. I was not a fan of the Dodgers going with Ross Stripling as the newest member of the rotation feeling that Brock Stewart was the better man for the job since he was already stretched out as a starter, but it is clear that Dodger management had their finger on the pulse as Ross Stripling has been dynamite. Ross in three May starts has now thrown 15 1/3 innings, giving up just fourteen hits, three earned runs, only two walks, and a staggering twenty-one strikeouts. It was easy for me to poo poo the first two starts given they were against the Padres at Petco and the Reds at home, but this game was against the hottest team in the National League on the road, and he shut them down for six innings.
Other notes from the doubleheader:
- The latest Dodger acquisition Erik Goeddel made his Dodger debut in the 8th inning of the second game and got the victory when the Dodgers scored twice in the 9th. I’m not sure who the last Dodger was to get a victory in relief in their first game with the Dodgers. Or even how to find out, but it was cool.
- Kenley Jansen got two saves in one day, the first time he ever did that. He is looking more and more like our Jansen.
- The Dodgers picked up a game and a half on the Diamondbacks who lost again. Even though the Dodgers are only 4 – 6 in their last ten games, the Diamondbacks are 1 – 9 and the Dodgers are actually gaining ground.
- Scott Alexander rejoined the team on May 9th and has looked fantastic in his four appearances with today being the best. In four May appearances, Scott has gotten fourteen outs, zero hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. This is the guy the Dodgers traded for.
- Max Muncy had another big game including a home run off Max Scherzer. Max now has a .968 OPS in May in thirty-seven at-bats.