“Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city”
~The Lovin’ Spoonful
I’m not sure if many people thought that with Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list, the Dodgers would be able to make up 3.5 games on the Giants. But since the All-Star break, that’s just what they’ve done. As of today, the Dodgers sit just three games back of the rivals to the North. Three games is not that big a bridge to gap over the next two months, especially since the Giants have a much tougher schedule than the Dodgers through the remainder of the second half.
After losing two of three to the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers rebounded nicely to take two of three from both the St. Louis Cardinals and the NL East leading Washington Nationals. In those six games, battling both the heat and two tough teams, Los Angeles handed Stephen Strasburg his first loss of the year and hit nine home runs, and nearly swept the Cardinals, taking them to 16 innings on Friday night.
Justin Turner alone hit three of those nine home runs. In those six games his batting average is .367, and he also had three doubles. Then there’s this stat from Elias Sports:
Turner also has been fantastic with the glove:
For those who were calling for the Dodgers to keep Todd Frazier, Turner has more than proved his worth at third base.
Andrew Toles has been a handy addition to the team, and has filled in very nicely for the injured Trayce Thompson and Yasiel Puig. In the last seven games, he is batting .400. In Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Cardinals, Toles went 3-for-4, and somehow managed to score when it seemed if he was caught between third base and home plate. I am hoping that the Dodgers use his speed a bit more on the basepaths, as stealing is not a forte of this team right now.
Ross Stripling was recalled, and pitched two scoreless innings in relief in Satruday night’s game. If any one of the starters has a bad game, he will be a nice piece to eat some innings out of the bullpen.
It was definitely not all sunshine and ice cream. Adam Liberatore saw his 28-inning scoreless streak end, after he was taken out of Sunday night’s game with the bases loaded. A sacrifice fly and subsequent two-run double off Joe Blanton allowed all three runs to score. Kenley Jansen allowed a game tying home run to the Cardinals Jedd Gyorko in the bottom of the ninth with two outs in Friday’s contest. Bud Norris tallied two losses in those six games, one in his start against the Nationals, and once in relief in the 16 inning game. Pitching remains the number one concern as we rapidly near the trade deadline.
Still all in all, it was a very good six games against two top teams. The Giants went 1-5 in the same span, so those were games that the Dodgers had to win. There are two off days this week, helping both the battered starting rotation and bullpen, and aiding those with injuries to get more rest. Also, although it doesn’t always translate into wins, the next two opponents the Dodgers face, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Diamondbacks, are both under.500, while the Giants are facing the Cincinnati Reds and then the Nationals. It would be another good opportunity to pick up a game or two in the division. By the time this week is over, there will be new additions to help the Dodgers make the final push for the division and the post season.