Monday, July 29, 2013

26-6 Run May Actually Mean Something. No, Really.

Mark Saxon of wrote exactly what I was thinking after watching Sunday's extra-inning win over the Reds: if you can still win the game after: (1) suffering 20 strikeouts, (2) starting Chris Capuano, (3) forcing Brandon League to pitch two innings of relief, and (4) watching phenom Yasiel Puig get picked off of first base like a third-grader earlier in the game, one might think that the Dodgers might actually be not just lucky, but possibly good:

On the same day the Dodgers set a Los Angeles strikeout record (the wrong side of it), they also tied a Los Angeles record for the team's best 32-game stretch (26-6), equaling the 1977 World Series team.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was unaware his team had struck out so many times until he walked into the interview room after the game and was asked about it.

"You're kind of inning to inning trying to win a game. You're not really paying attention to how they're getting their outs, just that they're getting them," Mattingly said. "It's a good game for us from the standpoint of it's a close game, it's a tough game, it's a tough club.

"It's a game we hung in there and stole a series."

For perfectly justifiable reasons, Mattingly gets antsy when Capuano is still on the mound late in games. He pulled the veteran left-hander after Capuano had given up only three hits, and thrown 83 pitches, with two outs in the seventh inning. Joey Votto was at second base and right-handed hitter Todd Frazier was coming up.

Capuano has rarely gotten to that point in a game, having failed to pitch into the sixth inning in three of his previous four starts. The move worked. After walking the first man he faced, Ronald Belisario struck out Zack Cozart to end the inning.

It was another confident stride for the Dodgers' bullpen. Even as general manager Ned Colletti looks for one more arm, good things are happening. Demoted closer Brandon League, booed routinely at Dodger Stadium a few weeks ago, pitched two scoreless innings. In his past four games, League is 3-0, has thrown 6 2/3 scoreless innings and opponents are batting less than .150 off him.

Throw in Skip Schumaker's unlikely heroics yesterday (only his second HR all year); or Hanley Ramirez' game-winning shot Friday (after a pathetic failed do-se-do at home plate earlier in the same game); or the fact that we don't even have Matt Kemp in the lineup yet: it's really frickin' crazy.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say the Dodgers are "good." But they sure are remarkable.

What is going ON?!


Fred's Brim said...

I am more nervous about this team now than I ever was. It feels like we are constantly playing good teams, facing their best pitchers, on the road, in 4-game series. It feels relentless and like there's little room for error. But I am grateful we are winning. I really hope they can keep it up

Dusty Baker said...

One could argue that we haven't been playing our best ball/offense isn't completely clicking/still don't have all the pieces (Kemp) yet we still keep winning. That to me is the mark of a team that is playing as a team and finding ways to get it done; if we can keep winning through the rough patches, we'll have a great shot at winning the division.

Franklin Stubbs said...

We've all been fans long enough to know that there is a whole spectrum of up-fuckery that a baseball team can accomplish over 58 games, but I've said it before and I'll say it again. I know that I'll be miserable when they're losing, so I'm sure as shite going to try to enjoy it when they aren't.

Steve Sax said...

* First use of the term "up-fuckery" on SoSG *

Franklin Stubbs said...

I believe the first documented use of up-fuckery here was actually February 28, 2011

MR.F said...

SooHoo shot of the slide:

Steve Sax said...

Hmm, you're right. Up-fuckery, or fuck-uppery, on my part.