I hesitate to even pose this question, because with the way the season is going for the Dodgers, it will inevitably come back to bite me in the behind. But could we have just seen the weekend when the team finally turned things around?
The Dodgers did exactly what they needed to do—sweep the Padres and gain ground in the NL West. But with the way the season has gone, the thought of sweeping the Padres would not necessarily be automatic as the squad always seem to find a way to get in their own way.
Keeping in line with what is a weird narrative for this season, it was a weekend of ups and downs. Friday night, the offense came alive and routed the Padres. The Dodgers won 11-1, hit three home runs, and went 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Not great in that department, but much better than they had been doing.
Saturday was a different story. The game started with the first two batters getting on base and Manny Machado driving them in with a homer. And then, not much in the offense department. Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs—one a homer—over seven innings. Max Muncy provided an insurance run with a home run of his own. And then, Kenley Jansen once again allowed a long ball, this time a two-run shot, blowing the save in the process. The other relievers held on, and the Dodgers were able to pull off a 12th inning walk off, albeit after another light malfunction at Dodger Stadium.
Sunday’s game started off slow offensively, going into the fifth inning down 2-0. But they got a two out rally going, started by none other than Hyun-Jin Ryu on his second hit of the game. Brian Dozier walked, and Turner doubled them in. Machado then drove himself and JT in with another homer. Four runs on three hits with two outs, in a game that was looking like nothing was going to happen offensively.
Turner also doubled later in the game and accounted for five of the seven runs driven in for the day. He drove in the winning run Saturday night in a bloop single. In the month of August, he is slashing .398/.479/.711/.1.190 with five home runs and 18 RBI. He is heating up at the just right time.
So seems Machado, also. Two big homers over the weekend in key spots, perhaps silencing fans who were claiming he wasn’t doing what he was brought to Los Angeles to do.
So, in recap, the Dodgers beat up on pitching they should beat up on, came back and picked up Kenley after he blew another lead, got a lot more runners home in key situations, got hits with two outs, and the offense was spread pretty evenly between base hits and homers. The starting pitching was good and so was the bullpen—mostly. You can say what you want about the series ‘only’ being against the San Diego Padres, but you have to start somewhere. You have the win the games that are ‘easier’ to win, and not let them slip away.
Thanks to the Seattle Mariners, the Dodgers gained two games on the division-leading Diamondbacks. The starting pitching and offense now both seem to be clicking. With Turner’s bat this hot, and clutch, it’ll be tough not to get at least a few runs. The starting pitching is keeping them in games. Barring any more hiccups in a short two game series against the Rangers, the Dodgers are poised to keep the wheels moving and overtake Arizona during their four-game series starting Thursday.