Summer Jam

“Hit that playback
Let’s get back to it now.
You and Me we’re like a simple song
Yeah so damn easy to sing along,
I don’t need a guitar or a band,
Cause baby you’re my Summer Jam”

Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers Chase Utley hits grand slam against the New York Mets Saturday, May 28, 2016 at Citi Field in Flushing,New York.

What a difference a week makes! Last week’s post was about trying to find the silver lining to most aspects of this team. This week, much different story. Sure, there still are problems, but the Dodgers had a great week sweeping Cincinnati and taking two of three from the Mets in New York.

This week was book-ended by Clayton Kershaw starts. Monday against Cincinnati, he threw a two-hit gem that saw his double digit strikeout streak end. It was his third shutout in the month of May, and saw him give up only his fifth walk all season. Sunday in Queens, Kershaw struck out 10 Mets’ batters and gave up no walks. He did not get the win, as he was taken out in the bottom of the 8th, and Adam Liberatore allowed the Mets to tie the game. He reached the 100 strikeout mark in the fifth inning, having the fewest amount of walks allowed when achieving that benchmark. Kershaw’s record now sits at 7-1, with a 1.56 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and a 20/1 strikeout to walk ratio.

The other pitchers besides Kershaw also gave strong starts this week, with the exception maybe of Julio Urias, who made his major league debut Friday night against the Mets. He lasted just 2-2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs, with four walks and three strikeouts. Mike Bolsinger earned his first win of the season with a strong showing, with his only mistake being a two-run homer by the Reds’ Adam Duvall. Scott Kazmir followed with a dominant 12 strikeout performance, holding the Reds to only one run. Kenta Maeda won his fourth game of the season, going five innings and only allowing two hits and two walks against the Mets. That was made even more impressive as he took a line drive off the back of his pitching hand in the bottom of the first inning. Even though the hand swelled, he stayed in the game and continued to pitch well.

I think we all agree that the most fun part of the week came on Saturday night, when Chase Utley stole the show. Coming off a game-tying three-run double in the top of the ninth inning on Friday night, Utley had more fireworks in store. Noah Syndergaard threw a fastball behind Chase, and was ejected from the game. In his next at bat, Utley hit a home run. And then in his next at bat, with the bases loaded, hit another home run. It’s times like these that most make me love being a baseball fan, because if it had been in a movie, you might not have believed it.

The most positive thing for me from this week is that offense is starting to show life again. Even when they were down in games, they fought back (even if it was to be undone in one pitch by the bullpen). Friday night’s comeback to tie in the top of the ninth inning featured singles by Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and Yasiel Puig, before Utley drove them all in with a double. Sunday night, Liberatore allowed the game to be tied in the bottom of the 8th, costing Kershaw a win. But again the Dodgers loaded the bases, and Gonzalez singled in Kike Hernandez and Corey Seager for the go ahead runs. Justin Turner has a home run and five RBI in the last seven games, Kendrick has two home runs in the last seven games, and Gonzalez’s BA last week was .367. The young guns might be cooling off a little and it’s a perfect time for the old guard to pick up the slack.

Going into New York and taking two of three from the Mets was about as good as I was expecting. Winning six of the last seven games, the Dodgers are on a roll as they head into summer and into Chicago to face the best team in the majors. They will have to do it without being able to start Kershaw, but there’s no reason to believe that they can’t split the series with the Cubs and keep the summer jam going.

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