“Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been”
While our favorite writer @DodgerGirlinPA is on a birthday vacation enjoying the sights and sounds of Denver, we’ve decided to stick with the Monday norm in attempting to recap last week’s Dodgers action, in addition to floating out a few witty song lyrics in hopes of brightening up the beginning of the work week. If you happened to stop by looking for some prose from Andy, she’ll be back writing in her normal time slot on Friday.
But before we dive headfirst into the news surrounding the Boys in Blue, we wanted to take the time to congratulate @mash831 for being the lucky winner of our first-ever reader appreciation giveaway. If you haven’t heard from Andy already, she’ll be in touch within the next few days to get the necessary information to ship your brand new Corey Seager jersey. Many thanks again to all the readers who participated — we’re constantly appreciative of your continued support.
Having to deal with the heavy dose of the A.J. Ellis departing news, many fans almost expected a bit of a lackadaisical performance in the final game of the San Francisco series, even with the chance to sweep. And it never helps to boost confidence by rolling out one of the often untrusted batting orders featuring mainly right-handed hitters trying to succeed against lefty pitching.
In the final game, Matt Moore of the Giants dissected the weakened Dodgers’ lineup, losing a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning, ultimately leading San Fran to a 4-0 victory.
Players like Adrian Gonzalez denied that the squad was hampered by emotion. Seager, who seems to be taking on the image of a consummate grinder as of late, lifted a short bloop into right to break up the Moore gem, and appeared to be taking everything in stride while emphasizing the importance of the series win instead of mulling over a conceivable opportunity of a sweep.
“He was good, he was really good tonight,” Seager said of Moore. “Tip your hat to him. But we won the series and that’s all we were looking to do. Just keep winning series.”
Perhaps most importantly, Rich Hill made his much anticipated Dodgers’ debut on Wednesday, and outperformed Johnny Cueto with six scoreless innings in a 1-0 win over the division rivals, giving hope to an otherwise questionable starting pitching rotation moving forward.
Based on the trio starting pitchers that the Dodgers had lined up against the Cubs in the weekend series, many fans weren’t overly optimistic about maintaining the divisional lead, especially since the Giants were hosting the Braves in a three-game series of their own.
In the end, however, despite the bullpen faltering in the first contest, the Dodgers would battle to win the final two games of the series, spearheaded by exceptional performances on the bump from rookies Julio Urias and Brock Stewart.
In the finale, Andrew Toles scored the lone run of the game after being hit by a pitch, ultimately crossing the dish when Javier Baez failed to get a hustling Seager on a force play at second. After all the dust settled on Sunday evening, Los Angeles maintained a two-game divisional lead over San Fran and heads to Colorado for a three-game set, while the Giants begin a quick two-game affair against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
Speaking of Tolesy, the 24-year-old Georgia native, along with fellow rookie Rob Segedin, are making strong cases for more playing time in right field while Josh Reddick continues to struggle. Yasiel Puig is sizzling at Oklahoma City, yet upper management still isn’t sure if he’ll be activated in time to be eligible to compete in the playoffs. And with the return of veteran Andre Ethier creeping ever so closer, the overall landscape of the outfield will grow even more complex over the coming weeks.
As for the starting pitching front, resident ace Clayton Kershaw is doing well with his rehab schedule, and expects to face live hitters sometime this week. And Jose De Leon continues to plead his case for a cup of coffee when the roster expands, striking out a season-high 13 with no walks and four hits allowed in his 7-2/3 shutout innings against Colorado Springs on Sunday.
The coming week features a few potential highlights, including the final days to make waiver trades if the players dealt are to be playoff eligible, as well as calling up possibly a handful of players on the farm when rosters expand on Thursday.
In the meantime, the Dodgers hope to just keep truckin’ onto a divisional title. Like the do-dah man. Together, more or less in line.
Just keep truckin’ on.