Don’t Stop Believing

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Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights, people
Livin’ just to find emotion
Hidin’ somewhere in the night

Going into the previous week, I was a little worried about how the Dodgers would be able to handle two good teams back-to-back, starting with a four-game series versus the defending National League Champion New York Mets, and the ever tough to play St. Louis Cardinals. And it ended up about as good as I could’ve hoped, with a split with the Mets and taking two of three from the Cards.

St.Louis Cardinals vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers Scott Kazmir is greeted in the dugout after scoring against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, May 14, 2016 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2016

 Kaz getting better ?Scott Kazmir started things off against the Mets, and it wasn’t so pretty – one swing, one run on a homer from Curtis Granderson. He did last six innings, but was pulled after the opposing pitcher Steven Matz launched a two-run double against him. He gave up a total of four runs.

“It’s definitely not written up the way I wanted, that’s for sure,” Kazmir said. “I feel like I’m really close to getting where I want to be. I don’t want to look too far in the past of what happened. That’s in the past. I’m confident out there. I know what I’m doing. It’s just a matter of executing.”

Saturday’s game went quite a bit better. Kazmir, facing the Cardinals, took his three-hit, one unearned run gem into the 9th inning. He gave up a two-run homer to Jeremy Hazelbaker and was removed from the game.

“I felt like every pitch was working for me,” Kazmir said. “I was able to get ahead in the count and had a good fastball today. I was able to keep hitters honest with the changeup away, cutter in — just mix it in and out. That was the key.” This was Kazmir’s best start since joining the Dodgers, and I’m hopeful that he’s turning a corner to being an consistent, effective starting pitcher.

The Kershaw show – So much has been made of Jake Arrieta, the ace of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff. Undeniably, he’s been pitching extremely well. But Clayton Kershaw is still better, and oh so consistent. Courtesy of my friend @PuigsHelicopter, so far in 2016:

CK 11.18 K/9 Arrieta 8.84

CK 1.47 FIP Arrieta 2.60

CK 1.88 XFIP Arrieta 3.03

CK 3.0 WAR Arrieta 1.6

All he did in the final game vs the Mets was throw a two-hit, 13 strike out, complete game. He allowed only his 4th walk of the entire season. He extended his streak of double digit Ks and one walk or less to five games, an MLB record. His ERA sits at 1.74, and he leads the league in strikeouts with 74. We are not worthy.

Other pitching notesAlex Wood has allowed exactly one earned run in all four home starts this season.Per Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, Louis Coleman retired all eight batters he faced this week, with six strikeouts. Ross Stripling earned his first major league win, and collected his first major league win in an 8-4 win over his former Texas A&M roommate Michael Wacha.

Home Homers – This has not been a home run hitting team. The homer run bats did starting heating up a little at home, with Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, and Yasiel Puig all launching one, and Trace Thompson, Corey Seager and Yazmani Grandal hitting multiple homers. The bad thing about it is that most of them were solo shots.

I have no play of the week – let me know what you think it should be!

All in all, not a bad showing. Only in Friday’s game did the offense really show any real fire, scoring eight runs, (and capitalizing on four errors by the Cards) and the bullpen continues to remain spotty. But at this point, not losing series to good teams is a good thing. A four-game set against the Anaheim Angels should be a series to get the offense really rolling. I believe this team has what it takes to make a good run into the playoffs, albeit with a few tweaks here and there. Slow and steady now can definitely lead to rolling later in the season.

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