The owners of the best record in the National League, the Washington Nationals (managed now by former Dodger Davey Johnson), came into Dodger Stadium tonight to begin the first game of a hype filled three game series, of division leaders. Before the game the Dodgers announced they had called up Nathan Eovaldi, and sent down Michael Antonini, in order to help a beleaguered bullpen. Javy Guerra was looked at by the medical staff, and cleared to pitch, two nights after he was drilled in the face by a Brian McCann line drive. Apparently his face was fine, but he had tweaked his foot trying to get out of the way of the liner, but all is well.
The big media frenzy this weekend, is over the fact that Steven Hypeburg will make his first start at Dodger Stadium tomorrow night, as will number one ranked mega prospect Bryce Harper. (Hyper). The Nationals called up Harper, and are without two of their best hitters. Both Ryan Zimmerman and Practice Swing Boy Mike Morse, are hurt and on the disabled list. The game was also tinged with sadness as former Dodger Bill ”Moose” Skowron passed away at the age of 81. Skowron played for the Dodgers and the Yankees, and he hit three home runs in World Series Game sevens.
Kershaw took advantage of an injury weakened Washington lineup, and was able to keep them pretty quiet all night with the exception of a walk and a LaRoche two-run home run in the sixth inning. The Dodgers received an Ethier two-run home run, and an RBI single from Uribe, and made it stand up. They had too, Washington has very strong pitching. Kershaw was his usual dominating self, going eight strong innings, allowing two runs on three hits, walking one, and whiffing six. The three runs were all Kershaw and the Dodgers needed to stop Washington in their tracks 3-2.
Kershaw starts the game by whiffing Ian Desmond for the first out. Lombardozzi reaches base when Uribe is unable to backhand a routine grounder to third. It bounces off his glove and rolls into foul territory. Uribe is indeed charged with an error, and deserved. Then former Dodger Jayson Werthless, who now sports a moonshine, hobo like scraggily beard, whiffs on a called third strike. Adam LaRoche, whiffs as well, to end the first inning as Kershaw whiffs the side.
Gordon leads off the bottom of the first inning, and whiffs off of opposing starter lefty Ross Detwiler. Of course the young lefty is more known as a ground ball pitcher. Mark Ellis flies out to Nady in left field. Bison pokes a base hit through the hole between third and short, and passed the diving Lombardozzi. Andre Ethier, our all-star warrior, smashes another home run, this one landing into the Washington bullpen in right field. The Dodgers take a 2-0 lead. With that two-run blast, Ethier takes over the league lead in RBI, over Matt Kemp, with 24. That home run is Ethier’s fifth round tripper of the season. Hairston flies out to end the inning.
Top of the second. Mark DeRosa grounds out. Espinosa reaches base on a hit over the head of Mark Ellis, that he legs out for a double. Left Fielder Xavier Nady, whiffs swinging for the second out. That’s the fourth whiff for Kershaw. Rookie catcher Jesus Flores, grounds out to Uribe to end the frame. Bottom of the second. Loney grounds out to short. Uribe grounds out to first. A.J. Ellis, our folk hero behind the plate flies out to deep right field to end the inning.
Top of the third. Opposing pitcher Ross Detwiler fouls out to Loney. Desmond grounds out. Lombardozzi also grounds to end a quick four pitch inning for Kershaw and the Dodgers. Bottom of the third. Kershaw grounds out. Gordon tries to bunt for a hit, and is thrown out on a nice play by Lombardozzi. Mark Ellis is frozen pizza on a called third strike.
Top of the fourth. Werthless flies out to Hairston to start the frame. Annoying Adam LaRoche lines a single into right field. Derosa grounds into a 3-6 force out. Kershaw catches the return throw from Gordon at first. Espinosa who doubled off of Kershaw in his first at-bat, ends the inning by whiffing at a breaking ball in the dirt on a full count. The score remains 2-0 Dodgers.
Bottom of the fourth. Bison leads of and singles into right field. Ethier immediately singles the other way, as Bison hesitates, so he has to stop at second. Hairston is ordered to sacrifice the runners to second and third, which he does. I think it is pretty stupid to be sacrificing with Loney and Uribe due up. Loney proves my point by weakly grounding out to first. Uribe on a 2-2 count, reaches on an infield single to short. Desmond has to go deep into the hole to scoop up Uribe’s RBI grounder, and his throw to first is offline and on a bounce. Bison scores, to make it a 3-0 Dodger lead. A.J. Ellis does what he does best by walking, to load the bases, for Kershaw. Unfortunatly Kershaw can’t help his own cause, and whiffs to end the threat.
Top of the fifth. Xavier Nady grounds out to Gordon. Catcher Jesus Flores reaches on a Dee Gordon error. Gordon’s low throw, is not able to be picked by Loney. Another defensive mistake allows another Washington runner to reach, This time it is opposing pitcher Ross Detwiler. His little dribble to the bright side of the mound, is fielded by a charging James Loney. His throw is that of a little leaguer, as it bounces short of Gordon’s glove, and rolls into the outfield. Both runners are safe at second and third. Desmond flies out to Dre, and Flores tags up to third. Lombardozzi finally ends the inning b popping out to Loney.
Bottom of the fifth. Gordon pathetically grounds out. Ellis lines out to Detwiler. Bison grounds out to third.
Werthless starts the top of the sixth by drawing a walk. Adam LaRoche, who was behind in the count, deposits a hanging breaking ball into the right field pavilion for a home run, which cuts the Dodger lead to 3-2. The aggravating home run is the first that Kershaw has allowed this year. Derosa grounds out, Espinosa flies out to Dre, and Nady grounds out to third, to end the frame. Now we are in another one run game, and I do not trust the Bumpen to not blow it again. A measly one run lead isn’t enough for this bullpen.
Bottom of the sixth. Espinosa makes a nice off balance bare handed throw to retire Ethier on a slow hit grounder to short. Hairston walks. Loney whiffs on a pitch in the dirt. Uribe grounds into a force out. Lombardozzi’s throw nearly pulls Espinosa off the bag, but he keeps his foot on.
Top of the seventh. Kerhsaw recovers for a quick inning. Flores flies out to left. Roger Benadina, pinch-hits for Detwiler, and whiffs on a called third strike. Desmond flies out to Bison.
You can close the books on Detwiler. He goes six, allows three runs on five hits, walks two, and whiffs four. The 26 year old left hander made 91 pitches. Lefty Sean Burnett is called in to pitch the bottom of the seventh.
A.J. Ellis leads off with his second walk of the game. Kershaw lays down a sacrifice bunt, which rolls right to Burnett, who makes a nice play to barley get Ellis at second for a force. Now Kershaw is on first base, which worries me since he is up to 97 pitches. Gordon then pops out. Mark Ellis walks, pushing Kershaw to second. With Bison coming to the plate, Washington makes a pitching change. Ryan Matheus, a right hander, comes in to pitch to Bison. There is a wild pitch that sends the runners to second and third. However Bison grounds out to halt any hopes of scorin’
Top of the eighth. Kershaw is now reaching 100 pitches. Lombardozzi pops out. Werthless a cracked bat fly out to left is the second out. The ever annoying Adam LaRoche flies out to the warning track in left field to end the top half of the eighth.
Matheus stays out to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Ethier whiffs. Hairston singles. Tony Gwynn comes in to pinch run for Hairston. Loney pops out. Uribe doubles down the right field line. Gwynn tries to score from first base, and is thrown out by right fielder Derosa for the third out. It was a close play, with Gywnn sliding in head first, it took a great throw to get him. I will say this though, if you are going to run on a hit from Uribe, you better male sure you score, because that may not happen again for weeks. The Dodgers are really making a lot of mistakes on the base paths.
Kenley Jansen comes into pitch the ninth, with Guerra still on the mend. Derosa leads off by flying out to Bison. Espinosa comes up and nearly scares us all to death, by hitting a fly ball down the right field line in the corner, that lands just inches from hitting the foul pole for a game-tying home run. It is a foul ball, but it was so close, my heart nearly stopped. It litterally landed just inches from hitting the base of the foule pole, in that right field corner. Espinosa ends up lining out to Bison. Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy, comes off the bench, and is hit by a pitch on the hands. He has to come out for a pinch-runner. Finally Flores whiffs to end the game. The Dodgers hold on and win 3-2.
Hang on to your hats Dodger fans! Tomorrow will be the debut of Steven Hypeburg, and Bryce Harper at Dodger Stadium. Join us tomorrow for what should be a very interesting game. I am very proud of the boys in blue for the way they have bounced back from losing two tough games. Now if you will excuse me I am going to go get my inhaler and paper bag. These close little games are going to give me a heart attack. Until tomorrow guys…Go Blue