Dancing Days Are Here Again…

“I said it’s alright – You know it’s alright – I guess it’s all in my heart.”  ~Page/Plant

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Safe to say DodgerFam is feeling a little better this week. The Dodgers took two of three in each series against the Diamondbacks and Giants, moving to an 8-5 record and sole ownership of first place in the division. The bullpen, the subject of so much angst in the first week, and later losing the home opener, has not allowed a run in the last 14 innings. Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal returned from the disabled list, and Enrique Hernandez went on a tear against Madison Bumgarner in a 7-3 win Friday night.

Zack who? Boy, it’s easy to fall in love with Kenta Maeda. From that infectious smile, to the fact that he only just surrendered his first run of the season in his third start, there’s not much to dislike about him. What has impressed me the most so far is that his stuff is not all that electric, yet he still manages to get batters out.

In the first inning of Sunday night’s game, he walked two batters — more than he had in the first two games combined. He worked himself out of the jam and settled in until he allowed a home run to Joe Panik. By pitching primarily in the outer half of the plate and mixing up all four of his pitches, Maeda definitely keeps batters on their toes.

Puig is still Puig – Vince Samperio at Chavez Ravine Fiends says…

…and I have to agree. The way Yasiel Puig runs the bases is a pure joy to watch. This past week he had two base running highlights, one in the home opener when he went into second base, slid around it, and played pat-a-cake with the base while missing the tag; and then Sunday stole second and scored on a single by Grandal when Giants’ catcher Buster Posey couldn’t handle the throw.

Should Puig have come home on such a shallow single? Probably not, but I’ll take that hustle and “give everything you’ve got” attitude any day of the week. His current batting average of .356 is third best on the team, and he’s tied for most hits with Adrian Gonzalez. Manager Dave Roberts has said that Yasiel has been a joy to him, while their harmonious relationship is certainly translating to Puig’s play on the field.

Yaz is back — After starting the season on the DL, Yasmani Grandal is back and off to a hot start. Two of his four hits are doubles, and he has 3 walks and a 1.250 OPS. He has now reached base in six straight plate appearances.

Bullpen back in good graces — Coming off last week’s nightmare, then squandering the lead on the Dodgers home opener, the bullpen is beginning to change its ways. The collective stat line for the last 14.0 innings pitched is 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 14 K.

Chris Hatcher was briefly placed on the paternity list following the birth of his son, and Adam Liberatore was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Jansen has been called upon to do a little more than usual, once coming in the 8th instead of the 9th. He has expressed confidence that the bullpen would be back to taking down opponents soon, and they have proved him right.

Best moment of the week — Enrique Hernandez taking Madison Bumgarner deep. Twice.

Taking two of three from division rivals is what you’d always like to see. And the next few series seem to be in the Dodgers favor, as they take on the Braves, Rockies, Marlins and Padres again. Here’s to being happy in next Monday’s post!

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