All of the hullabaloo before the game was because Don Mattingly decided to play Juan Uribe and bat him second, while moving Cruz to second base. While everyone tried to understand the reasoning behind it, the only reason I could come up with was that Uribe was 8 for 17 in his career against Kevin Correia, and Mattingly was going with a match-up. What else could explain it? After all everyone on the planet knows that Uribe is the worst hitter in Baseball, and quite possibly the most pathetic Dodger hitter of all time. How did Uribe do? Uribe was predictably atrocious, going 0 for 4 with a walk, and lowering his batting average to a pathetic .186. Fortunately Uribe’s ohferness didn’t affect the Dodger offense one bit. The Dodgers scored 11 runs on 13 hits and pounded the Bucs 11-0, in their second win in as many days in Steel town.
Of the 11 hits, 10 were singles. The offensive star of the night was Luis Cruz who collected three hits, drove in three runs against his former team. (remember Cruz used to play for the Bucs, and the time he had three RBI in a game was 2008 with the same Bucs). Cruz now has 22 RBI this season. Hanley went 3 for 5 with a two run double. Kemp went 2 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Perhaps the biggest story is the Phoenix rise from the ashes from Chad Billinglsey. At one point Bills had lost five in a row, until a two week DL stint to heal a sore elbow. Since returning Bills has been fantastic, as he wins his fifth straight decision tonight to even his books at 9-9. Bills pitched 8 scoreless frames, allowing only five hits, one walk, and whiffed five Bucs. It is easy to see why Bills has found success again. This new and improved Bills is pounding the strike zone, challenging hitters, getting ahead of batters. Most importantly though, he is not walking people. And when you stop walking guys, and throw strikes, good things tend to happen. Funny isn’t it?
This was a true team effort tonight. The Dodgers have now won 8 of their last 11 games, and four of the first five on this ten game road trip. Despite an initial hour long rain delay before the game. Have the Dodgers finally started to gel? It is beginning to look like it. This was truly an enjoyable game Dodger fans. Kick back and relax and let’s go through the highlights.
Shane Victorino starts the top of the first and flies out to deep center. Juan Uribe flies out to center as well. Matt Kemp grounds out to third. Pedro Alvarez makes a nice charging play to throw out Bison, who slipped getting out of the batter’s box.
Chad Billingsley begins the bottom of the first by getting Starling Marte to softly line out to James Loney. Bills whiffs Travis Snider on a called third strike like a statue. Andrew McCutchen hits a sharp grounder up the box, that deflects off of Bill’s glove over to short, and Luis Cruz makes a nice play to throw out McCutchen by a step. No score after 1.
Andre Ethier leads off the top of the second hitting a scorching line drive right into Kevin Correia’s glove. Correia doing his best Randy Choate impression from last night. Hanley Ramirez grounds out. Loney grounds out and the inning is over.
Bottom of the second. Garrett Jones doubles over Ethier’s head in right field. Bills recovers to whiff Neil Walker, the Bucs switch-hitting second baseman. Bills walks Alvarez. Former Dodger Catcher Big Rod smokes a liner to third, and Uribe is there to spear it and fire throw to second to double off Jones! Great play! The Dodgers get out of the inning without allowing scorage.
Top of the third. Cruz singles to left. A.J. Ellis walks. Bills sacrifices the runners to second and third. Shane Victorino plates the run with a grounder to second. Cruz scores, and the Dodgers take a 1-0 lead. Uribe predictably grounds out to end the frame.
Bottom of the third. Clint Barmes flies out to Kemp. The opposing starter Correia reaches on an infield single to short. Marte hits a broken bat blooper to second. Cruz lets the ball drop on a short hop, to try and turn a double play. However he hesitates and is only able to get the lead runners at second. Now the Dodgers have erased the slow running Correia for the far superior runner Marte. Of course Snider doubles off the wall in the right field corner. Bills doesn’t let the crappy defense behind him bother him at all. He whiffs McCutchen on a nasty called third strike. Still 1-0 Blue after three frames.
Top of the fourth. Kemp leads off and reaches on a ground ball infield single that deflects off of Alvarez. Ethier’s grounder to second should have been a double play, but Kemp runs right into Walker, and he drops the ball, so everyone is safe. Buc’s manager Clint Hurdle comes out to argue, but the umps aren’t having it. The play is ruled an error and a fielder’s choice. The error is charged to Walker. Hanley Ramirez’s little dribbler up along third takes a blue roll and the ball dies in no man’s land. The bases are loaded. Loney’s little grounder to first scores Kemp, and the Dodgers now lead 2-0. The runners advance to second and third. Cruz follows with a base knock into center to score Dre and Hanley. The Dodgers lead 4-0! Correia whiffs AJ for the second out. Bills whiffs as well for the third out. But the Dodgers score three to jump out to a four run lead.
Bills takes the mound in the bottom of the fourth up by four. Jones grounds to first. Walker grounds out as well. Alvarez whiffs on another called third strike. That’s the fourth whiff for Bills.
Correia whiffs Victorino to start the top of the fifth. Uribe flies out to right. Kemp grounds out to end the frame. Bottom of the fifth. Big Rod flies out to center. Barmes flies out. Correia’s grounder is ole’d by Hanley as the ball goes right through his wickets for an error. Not to worry, Marte bounces into a force out to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Etheir flies out. But consecutive singles from Hanley and Loney put runners at first and second. The Bucs have a meeting on the mound to discuss how to pitch Cruz. Whatever they said didn’t work, as Cruz drives a base hit to right to score Ramirez. 5-0 blue! Loney goes to third on the hit. AJ sends McCutchen back to the warning track in deep center field to easily score Loney from third on the sac fly. The score is now 6-0 Dodgers. Bills grounds out to end the frame. Snider grounds out to lead off the bottom of the sixth. McCutchen and Jones fly out, and Bills cruises through the 6inning. The Dodgers still lead 6-0.
Jeff Locke, the lefty replaces Correia in the top of the seventh. Correia goes 6 allowing six runs, five earned on seven hits, walked on and whiffed three. He gets Victorino to fly out. Uribe grounds out. ( he goes 0 for 4, cementing the most predictable 0 for 4 in the history of Baseball). Kemp flies out. Bills keeps rolling through the bottom of the seventh. Walker singles, to lead off but is stranded. Alvarez grounds out back to the box. Walker advancing to second. Big Rod grounds out and Barmes pops out.
Top of the eighth. Locke in his second inning of work. Ethier and Ramirez ground out. Loney singles off of Walker’s glove. Cruz flies out to end the frame.
Bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Josh Harrison lines out to Cruz. Marte bloops a single into right. Marte steals second even though the Bucs are down by six runs. (doesn’t that violate Baseball’s unwritten rules that everyone has been talking about the last couple of years?). Gaby Sanchez flies out to right. Marte tags up to third. Bills whiffs McCuthen like a rented mule for the third out. Hats off for Bills!
Chad Qualls comes in to pitch the top of the ninth. AJ grounds out. Adam Kennedy pinch-hitting for Bills singles on a grounder to third, that Alvarez makes a diving stop on but couldn’t get a throw off. Victorino singles to right to send Kennedy to second. Big Rod drops a passed ball to advance the runners to second and third. Uribe walks to load the bases for Bison. Kemp singles on a line drive single that deflects off of Quall’s leg. Kennedy scores to make it 7-0 Dodgers. Ethier a bloop single to right scores two, to make it 9-0 Dodgers. The Bucs have completely melted down. There is an error charged to Qualls for a bad relay throw to third. Chris Resop has to come in and clean up the mess. Hanley doubles down the left field line to score two more. That makes it 11-0 Dodgers!
Shawn Tolleson comes in to finish the game in the bottom of the ninth, with the Dodgers leading 11-0. Jones flies out to Kemp. Walker flies out to Ethier. Alvarez fittingly whiffs to end the game. Dodgers win 11-0! The Dodgers improve to 64-53, and await the result of the Giants/Nationals game. If the Giants lose the Dodgers move back into sole possession of first place.
Tomorrow at 4PM Clayton Kershaw will draw Wandy Rodriguez, as the Dodgers look for the series win. Join us tomorrow for more continuing Dodger documentation as we root our beloved boys in blue to a division title. Wow, was tonight’s game enjoyable or what? Right Dodger fam? It was all gravy. Go Blue.
Topics: A.J. Ellis, Adam Kennedy, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Elian Herrera, Hanley Ramirez, James Loney, Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, Luis Cruz, Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, Shane Victorino, Shawn Tolleson