Geezus Dodgers! Our blood pressure can only take so much of this. The Dodgers narrowly escaped Coors Field with a win, after nearly blowing a 10-1 lead, to squeak by with a 10-8 victory and avoid the sweep at the hands of the lowly last place Colorado Rockies. I thought that we would just have to outscore the Rockies and Joe Blanton, but didn’t think we would have to actually outscore our own Bullpen. But after a nightmare eighth inning scare, where the Rockies scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers were able to hold on and get the win.
Update- *As if things couldn’t get any worse, Dylan Hernandez is reporting Kenley Jansen is suffering from the same heart problem he had last year that sidelined him for a few weeks. No word yet from the club as to how long he will be out for. I swear it’s like Murphy’s law with this team.*
The near meltdown wasn’t the fault of Joe Blanton though. He was dominant through seven and a half innings until the wheels nearly fell off the bus in the eighth. Blanton pitched 7.1 innings of one run ball, and the offense finally came to life, to bail the Dodgers out of this game. I first thought maybe someone had kidnapped the real Joe Blanton and replaced him with an imposter. Blanton coming into this game had lost three of his four starts with the club, allowing 18 runs and 28 hits in his previous four starts. This near meltdown wasn’t his fault though, as he pitched much better than his final pitching line showed. Blanton picked up his first win as a Dodger pitching 7.1 innings allowing three runs on ten hits, walking one and whiffing five. Kudos to him, because that’s the best we could have ever expected from him in a Coors Field start. Joe Blanton actually put together a quality start. If he continues to pitch like this, he could be useful. Notice I said if.
Somehow Blanton got into the eighth inning, and let me remind everyone that that is the first time he has pitched into the seventh inning or later as a Dodger. After Blanton allowed two hits in the eighth, Mattingly called in the rookiest of rookies, Shawn Tolleson, and then just left him out there to die on the mound. Before the game we learned that Lefty Scott Elbert was placed back on the DL with a sore elbow, necessitating the recall of Tolleson.
Tolleson allowed four runs on three hits and a walk, not retiring a single batter, before he was finally lifted for Randy Choate. The Dodger offense finally came to life, scoring ten runs on twelve hits, scoring six runs in the third, off of opposing starter Drew Pomeranz, and four more in the eighth, off of the Colorado bullpen. Victorino, Gonzalez, Ethier, Rivera, and A.J. Ellis all had two hits on the day. The big blows came from a two-run blast from Hanley, and a huge grand slam home run from AJ, making the difference in the game. Ronald Belisario had to battle the annoying Coors Field air, to pitch the final inning and two thirds to pick up his first save of the year. Colorado lefty starter Drew Pomeranz, took the loss, allowing six runs on five hits through four frames. Chris Nelson was the offensive star for Colorado recording three hits in a 3 for 5 performance.
Matt Kemp did not play in the game because he was still banged up. MRI results were negative on his left knee, and his jaw. Kemp has a bruise on his knee, and received a few stitches in his chin, after his frightening crash into the center field wall in yesterday’s loss. Fortunately, Bison is ok, and is just banged up. We’re still not sure how long he will be out, but he shouldn’t be out for more than a few days. As we all breath a great sigh of relief, let’s get to the highlights. I swear if I never see Coors Field ever again, I will die a happy Dodger fan. That place is a travesty of a ball park.
Drew Pomeranz starts the first inning, by getting Mark Ellis to pop out. Shane Victorino swings at the first pitch and flies to right. Adrian Gonzalez pops out. Tyler Colvin leads off against Joe Blanton and flies out to center. Josh Rutledge singles up the middle. Carlos Gonzalez hits into a force out. Jordan Pacheco hits a bouncer to short, Hanley Ramirez makes a nice backhanded stop, and throws to second to record the out. For only the second time in nine games, the Dodgers hold their opponent scoreless in the first inning.
Pomeranz whiffs Hanley in the top of the second. Luis Cruz grounds out, and Andre Ethier whiffs. The suckfest goes on. Blanton starts well in the bottom of the second. Colorado Catcher Ramon Hernandez whiffs. Chris Nelson grounds out. DJ LeMahieu singles to center. Charlie Blackmon flies out to Victorino.
Juan Rivera singles to left leading off the top of the third. A.J. Ellis gets two strikes, and then from what it appears, he foul tips the ball and it bounces out of Hernandez’s mitt. Jim Tracy comes out to argue and say the ball bounces and he missed it. The umpires say no. With AJ still alive he flares a broken bat bat base hit over Rutledge’s head. Blanton sacrifices the runners to second and third. M>Ellis hits a bouncer up along first base. Jordan Pacheco, does not field the ball cleanly, as it bounces off of his glove, and rolls a few feet away from the bag. M.Ellis slides around Pacheco, and Rivera breaks for home to score. 1-0 Blue. Victorino beats out a grounder to third to score AJ. 2-0 Dodgers. With Gonzalez at the plate, there is a wild pitch, that advances the runners to second and third.Gonzo then squeaks a ground ball single through the hole between first and second, just past the diving Lemahieu, to score two more runs. The Dodgers lead 4-0! After a coaching visit to the mound, Hanley smokes a line drive two-run home run just over the wall in dead center field. That’s number 22 on the season for Hanley, to give the Dodgers a 6-0 lead. Luis Cruz grounds out, and Ethier pops out to finally end the frame for Colorado. However the Dodgers put a six spot on the board!
Blanton now with a six run lead, whiffs Pomeranz in the bottom of the third. Colvin grounds back to the box. Rutledge singles. Cargo, a broken bat grounder ends the frame.
The Dodgers threaten in the top of the fourth, but don’t score. Rivera doubles over Colvin’s head. AJ and Blanton whiff. M.Ellis grounds out. Blanton notches another scoreless frame in the bottom of the fourth. Pacheco is called out on strikes. Hernandez grounds out. After Nelson singles, Lemahieu whiffs.
Adam Ottavino replaces Pomeranz in the top of the fifth. Victorino and Gonzalez smack consecutive singles to start the inning. Ramirez grounds into a force out, as Nelson’s throw pulls Lemahieu off the bag. Cruz pops out. Ethier walks to load the bases. But the Dodgers don’t score, as Rivera goes down swinging to end the inning.
Blanton keeps rolling right along in the bottom of the fifth. He retires Blackmon on a grounder. Ottavino whiffs. Colvin singles to right, and Rutledge flies out to right. Still 6-0 Blue. The Dodgers go down 123 against Ottavino in the top of the sixth. Joe Blanton continues his out of body experience, by keeping the Rockies off the board again in the bottom of the sixth. He allows a Colvin single but that is all.
The Dodgers go down 123 again in the top of the seventh off of Ottavino. The score remains a 6-0 Dodger lead. Blanton pitches out of trouble for the first time in the game in the bottom of the seventh. Lemahieu grounds out. Blackmon singles. Pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler walks. Colvin’s single to center scores Blackmon, to make it a 6-1 game. Rutledge grounds into a 5-3 double play. Hanley makes a nice play to step on the third base bag, and throw to first to end the frame.
Rookie right hander Will Harris begins the top of the eighth. Ethier singles to center, and goes all the way to third, on Fowler’s throwing error. Cruz and Rivera both walk to load the bases. AJ then hits a grand slam, to put the Dodgers up 10-1! It was beautiful guys!
Bottom of the eighth, and the Dodgers up by nine runs. Blanton remains in the game. Cargo grounds out, but Pacheco singles. Pacheco takes second on defensive indifference. Hernandez singles Pacheco to third. Mattingly comes out and brings a hook for Blanton, and calls in Tolleson with the Dodgers up 10-1.
It was meatball after meatball from Tolleson. I don’t care if he was squeezed by the home plate umpire Lance Barrett, that doesn’t excuse the rest of the pitches he threw. Nelson immediately singles home Pacheco to make the score 10-2. Lemahieu singles up the middle to score Hernadez, and send Nelson to second. 10-3 Blue. Rookie pinch-hitter Andrew Brown walks to load the bases. Fowler singles to center to score Nelson. 10-4 Dodgers. Out comes Mattingly ,and in comes lefty Randy Choate. In a double switch, Nick Punto takes over at second base. Choate hits Colvin in the rear end to force in another run. 10-5 Dodgers. Mattingly hooks Tolleson, (thank god), and brings in Ronald Belisario.
Rutledge hits what should have been an easy double play, but Hanley bobbles the ball in the act of throwing after he gets the out at second, allowing another run to score. 10-6 Dodgers. At this point everyone is panicking on twitter, including myself. Then Cargo singles home two more runs, to cut the lead to 10-8. Finally Rutledge grounds out to Punto, to mercifully end that nightmare of an inning.
Matt Belisle pitches a scoreless top of the ninth for Colorado, to keep the score at 10-8. Belisario stays out there to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Not Kenley Jansen. Hernandez grounds out to third. Nelson singles. Lemahieu grounds into a game ending 6-3 double play, and the Dodgers hang on to win!
With that, the Dodgers get the hell out of dodge. The Dodgers barely avoid the sweep, and will return home for a seven game homestand to play four with Arizona, and three with San Diego. The Dodgers record their 70 win of the season, improving to 70-61. The Giants play tonight in Houston. The Dodgers are now two and a half games back in the NL West.
Tomorrow is a very special night at Dodger Stadium. It is Vin Scully bobblehead night. I suggest that everyone get out to the ball park to pay tribute to the greatest sportscaster ever. There will only be one Vin Scully Bobblehead night, so this is a special occasion. Stacie and I will both be attending the game in person, sitting in the reserved level as fans. You are probably wondering who will be covering the game? Our newest writer, Dustin Hanson, a Dodger writer from Alaska will be covering the game from the remote region of the Yukon. Dodger fans are all over the world guys, even in Alaska. Please give him a warm Lasorda’s Lair welcome! Join us tomorrow night, as Arizona ace Ian Kennedy will draw Clayton Kershaw. Seriously guys, get out to the ball park tomorrow night guys. Tomorrow we salute Vin Scully and his beautiful voice. Can the Dodgers put it together and get to the playoffs? Check in over here to find out. Go Blue.