I tell you these games are not for the faint of heart. Talk about your heart attacks! Where’s my defibrillator? (looks around for defib). The Dodgers were coming off the loss of the ages in last night’s 16-1 thumping. That was one of the worst losses the Dodgers ever had at home. So it was interesting to see how they responded after last night’s disaster. I didn’t have much confidence faced with having to beat Cliff Lee. Welp, they sure as heck proved me wrong and delivered didn’t they?
Before we get into the game, the Dodgers won on a walk-off single from A.J. Ellis in the bottom of the ninth, let’s talk news first.
Before the game the Dodgers announced they had optioned right hander Peter Moylan back to Albuquerque, and called up flame throwing rookie Jose Dominguez. The Dodgers also announced that Josh Beckett would need season ending surgery. More on that later.
Anyways, the Dodgers were facing one of their biggest challenges tonight. No I’m not talking about this California heat wave. I’m talking about the road block that is always Cliff Lee. The game featured a battle of lefties as Lee battled Hyun-jin Ryu.
Lee has been dominating against the Dodgers in the past. The Dodgers just can never beat this guy. I mean, how do you do it? And he always pitches into the seventh inning. The only Dodger ever to beat Lee was Clayton Kershaw. Coming into tonight, Lee had only allowed four earned runs to the Dodgers in his five career starts. That’s a 0.95 ERA. Not to mention Lee has been having another Cy Young type season in 2013. He’s only walked six Dodgers ever, and had only allowed 18 free passes this year before tonight. Well tonight somehow the Dodgers got to him, kind of. Lee walked three Dodgers in seven innings, but allowed three runs on four hits, while whiffing ten Dodgers. After having trouble in the first, Lee was his usual dominant self. From the second inning to the ninth, the Dodgers did nothing offensively. Nothing. The first inning was pretty awesome though. Maybe it was the heat, but the Dodgers got to Lee, finally.
In the first, Puig hit a line drive single, Gonzalez walked. The red-hot Hanley Ramirez drove a monstrous tape measure three-run shot over the wall in straight away center field. The blast was measured at 439 feet. The only other inning the Dodgers had any chance of scoring was the fourth, when they loaded the bases with none out. Of course they didn’t score though. Hanley doubled, and Kemp, and van Slyke walked. But A.J. GIDP’d, and Uribe’s grounder ended the frame. That’s the most Dodger inning ever.
With the Dodgers up 3-0, Ryu turned in a solid effort. He wasn’t dominating, but was able to work out of quite a few jams. He started shaky though. As he was unable to keep Chase Utley in the park. literally, Utley was not held in the park. Utley knocked two home runs in the game. One was a sol o shot in the first, and the other another solo home run in the top of the third.
When Ryu was taken out after the seventh, the Dodgers were clinging to a 3-2 lead. Ryu went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. He walked three and whiffed six. Ryu and Lee were both not involved in the decision. The Phillies totally pulled a Dodgers in this game. They stranded 11 runners on base and were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
But you know whenever the Dodgers can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, you know they do. The top of the eighth was almost fatal, but luckily the Dodgers were able to once again, disappear out of a jam like David Copperfield. Mattingly had to use three pitchers in the top of the eighth, to get through the frame. Paco got the first out, and Belisario entered. He allowed a single to Delmon Young, a double to pinch-hitter Laynce Nix, and an intentional walk to Ben Revere. Beli got Ruiz to ground into a force at the plate, and J.P. Howell got Kevin Frandsen to ground into a force as well, and the Dodgers escaped somehow.
It was the top of the ninth, and the team’s lack of defensive fundamentals were really were put on display. With the score still 3-2, Kenley Jansen was victimized on a costly error from Puig in right field, when Puig dropped a Michael Young single. With one out, and Young at third, Kemp’s errant throw to home allowed Young to score the tying run with two outs in the ninth. To be fair to Kemp, A.J. was not able to handle wide throw, and there was nobody covering home plate anyways. Young saw this, and took advantage.
The Dodgers didn’t throw in the towel though. They came right back in the bottom of the ninth, and won anyways. Poor Justin De Fratus, who was the loser on the night, He gave up a single to Hanley, a walk to Ethier, and then A.J. Ellis redeemed himself by driving in the winning run with a walk-off RBI single. Hanley scored the winning run, and the Dodgers walk-off with a 4-3 win!
Hanley extended his hitting streak to 11 games, with a 3 for 4 performance. He drove in three of the Dodgers four runs, and scored the winning run. So game ball for him I guess. Yasiel Puig was 1 for 4 with an error. His average drops to .417. Tis ok Yasiel.
Amazingly the Snakes, Giants, and Padres all lost. So the Dodgers move to five games back of first place, with a 37-43 record. Here’s how this exciting game played out…..
Ryu starts off by whiffing Michael Young looking. Chase Utley immediately deposits a RYu fastball into the right field seats and the Phillies are already up 1-0. This is starting to smell like last night. Ryu settles down a bit. A Jimmy Rollins grounder, and a Delmon Young whiff, sandwiched in between a Domonic Brown single.
The Dodgers strike back in the bottom of the first inning against Cliff Lee. Mark Ellis starts the frame with a foul out. Yasiel Puig singles to center. Adrian Gonzalez walks. With runners at first and second, Hanley Ramirez literally Hanleys a ball over the center field wall for a monstrous three-run home run, that gives the Dodgers the lead 3-1. That ball was crushed!
Ryu pitches around a one-out double by Ben Revere in the top of the second. This inning includes whiffs of Carlos Ruiz, and Lee to end the frame with the Dodgers still leading 3-1. Lee answers that bell by whiffing the side in the bottom half of the second. (Uribe, A.J. Ellis, and Ryu).
Chase Utley smacks his second home run of the game against Ryu in the top of the third. The rocket shot into the Phillie’s bullpen cuts the Dodger lead to 3-2.
Gonzo and M.Ellis both go down on strikes as Lee has another 123 frame in the bottom of the third.
Ryu wiggles out of a jam in the top of the fourth. Young walks. Mayberry whiffs. Revere singles to left, as Young takes second. But Ruiz pops out, and Lee flies to left.
The bottom of the fourth is the most Dodger inning ever. Hanley continues his torrid hitting with a line drive double down the right field line. Kemp, and Scott Van Slyke draw walks, to load the bases. But we all know how the Dodgers always choke with the bases loaded. Well, after a lengthy A.J. Ellis at-bat, he grounds into a 1-2-3 double play. Uribe follows with another grounder, and the Dodgers leave the bases loaded with none out. That’s what we call a Dodger inning.
Ryu finally retires Utley in the top of the fifth, getting public enemy number one to foul out behind the plate. Lee throws another 123 frame in the bottom of the fifth, as the game remains a 3-2 Dodger lead.
Strange play in the top of the sixth. On a two-out base hit to right from the increasingly annoying Ben Revere, Puig accidentally kicks the ball over the low wall in right field as he’s trying to pick up the ball. Charlie Manuel tries to argue that it should be a triple, but to no avail. The Dodgers intentionally walk Ruiz, to take their chances with Lee. It works, as Ryu whiffs Lee looking, and the Dodgers escape again. But can they keep up this high wire act?
In the bottom of the sixth, the Dodgers get a lead-off single from Gonzo. There’s a force out to Hanley, who steals second base. Kemp and Van Slyke both whiff, and Hanley is left stranded at second base.
Ryu tosses a 123 frame in the top of the seventh, as the Dodgers go to the stretch, leading 3-2. The Dodgers go down easily again in the bottom of the seventh. That has to be Lee’s final inning right? Right?!
Paco Rodriguez enters to relieve Ryu, in the top of the eighth. Ryu pitches seven strong frames, allowing two runs, on seven hits. He whiffed six, and walked three. He made 108 pitches. Paco gets Brown to foul out, and then gets removed. Enter Ronald Belisario. The new and improved Belisario. Or at least we hope. Young singles up the middle. Then pinch-hitter Laynce Nix doubles to the wall, sending Young over to third. No, this is the same old Belisario. So the Dodgers intentionally walk Revere to load the bases. Up comes Ruiz, who grounds into a 5-2 force out at the plate. So now with two outs, Mattingly brings another hook and brings in J.P. Howell to face the left handed Ryan Howard. Big Nose ends his scheduled off-day to come off the bench and bat for Lee. Instead it’s actually Kevin Frandsen, and not Howard. The chess game of this inning goes on. Howell gets Frandsen to ground into a force play at second to end the frame. Phew!
Right hander J.C. Romero enters to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Lee goes seven, allowing three runs on four hits, and whiffed ten. He walked three, and made 111 pitches. Romero gets M.Ellis to ground out, and Puig to fly out. Puig goes 1 for 4 on the game, and his average drops to .417. Another Philly pitching change brings in lefty Jake Diekman to get Gonzo to bounce to first. We move to the ninth.
Move to the top of the ninth with the Dodgers clinging to their 3-2 lead. Enter Kenley Jansen. Michael Young’s slicing single into right field, is booted by Puig allowing Young to go to second. Utley’s grounder advances Young to third. With Rollins at the plate, the infield moves up, and we pray. Rollin’s fly ball to center is shallow. Enough to fool Young at third, who started to go, but stopped. Kemp’s throw was offline and wide, but A.J. Drops the ball. That allows Young to race into score the tying run don’t you know. Yep, of course with two outs in the ninth. Brown then triples off the wall in left. Jansen finally ends the frame by whiffing Delmon Young.
We move to the bottom of the ninth now, with a tied game. Justin De Fratus allows a Single to the red-hot Hanley. Kemp whiffs, and of course argues with the ump before taking a seat. Ethier’s walk puts runners at first and second with one out. A.J. Ellis, redeems himself with a base hit to right, scoring Hanley from second, who slides in safely just ahead of the throw. The Dodgers walk-off to victory! Final score of 4-3.
Phew that was close. This was the tough game because of Lee. He’s been like a Dodger kryptonite. The Dodgers go for the series win tomorrow afternoon. Kyle Kendrick will draw Stephen Fife in what should be another hot one tomorrow at 1:10 PM. Literally, and figuratively speaking.