So what’s with all of these former Dodgers coming out of the woodwork to spoil our fun? First it was the irritating rat face Shane Victorino in the Boston series. Then the fat tub of lard ex-catcher Dioner Navaro last night. Today it was ex-Dodger Edwin Jackson trying to stick it to the Dodgers in the series rubber match in a rare mid-week day game at Dodger Stadium. I guess you could call it a business man’s special, or something? Whatever you want to call it, the Dodgers finally broke out of their offensive malaise this afternoon with a solid performance against Jackson and the awful Cubs while the temperatures in Los Angeles reached triple digits.
If you remember, the Dodgers drafted Jackson, and he turned out to be a flop, way back in the day. After the 2005 season he was traded to Tampa Bay for Danny Baez, and Lance Carter. Yuck, talk about a gross trade. Jackson didn’t make it through the seventh inning, as the Dodgers tagged him for four runs on six hits, including two home runs. Jackson took his league leading 14th loss of the season.
His opposing starter Ricky Nolasco continued his hot pitching with his sixth win since joining the Dodgers, and his sixth win in his last seven decisions. This kid is on fire, and certainly impressing us all. Last time he shut down the vaunted Red Sox lineup, and he just kept dealing today against Chicago. he hasn’t lost since July 14th, and Nolasco shut down the Cubs allowing only three hits through eight shutout frames, walking one, and whiffing ten Cub batters. he made 116 pitches, and amost was able to go a full nine. Funny I call him kid, yet he’s like 30 years old, but you know what I mean. Nolasco is now 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA since being traded to the Dodgers. Very impressive.
There was hilarity right away, when Chicago manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the top of the first inning after arguing with the umpire that Starlin Castro checked his swing on the first batter of the game. Someone might want to tell Dale to pace himself.
Then in the top of the fifth inning, the Yasiel Puig saga continued as well, as he was removed for an unknown reason before the inning began. We learn later it was because of manager’s decision. Apparently Puig ticked off Mattingly somehow. We’ll have more information for you when we know further, but it does not appear that Puig is hurt. Looks like it was a disciplinarian situation. Puig did make a couple of non-chalant one hand catches, and slammed his bat down on the ground after striking out. Oy! Perhaps Mattingly can send him to bed without his supper? Did Mattingly make the right decision to pull him? What do you guys think?
The Dodgers got two home runs in the game. There was a mammoth blast from Hanley Ramirez in the bottom of the firs. His 15th home run which sailed halfway up the pavilion seats in left field. Then Andre Ethier’s solo blast into the Chicago bullpen put the Dodgers up by two runs.
In the fifth, the Dodgers picked up two more, when after Uribe and Fedex notched back-to-back singles, Uribe scored on Jackson’s throwing error, as he was trying to cut down the lead runner. Finally a Schumaker RBI single plated the fourth run for the Dodgers. Kenley Jansen took care of the ninth inning, and the Dodgers win 4-0! They avoid losing two straight series at home, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. On to the highlights!…..
Nolasco gets Stralin Castro to chase a pitch in the dirt for a whiff to start the top of the first. Darwin Barney whiffs as well, and he gets Anthony Rizzo to pop-up and we have a nice quick and easy 123 first inning. I love those!
There is controversy on the first at-bat. Yasiel Puig checks his swing on a 2-2 pitch from Edwin Jackson, and Dale Sveum, Cubs manager thinks otherwise and comes out to argue. But he ticks off the umpires and they throw him out of the game. Puig then walks. Carl Crawford’s double play erases the bases for the Dodgers. Hanley Ramirez follows with a monstrous home run that travels halfway up the left field pavilions. Hanley’s 15th home run gives the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Andre Ethier singles over Castro’s head, but Jerry Hairston grounds to third and we move to the second inning.
Nolasco gets two quick outs on Brian Bogusevic, and Nate Schierholtz, in the top of the second. Junior Lake’s bouncer to short is bumbled by Hanley for another fielding error. Oh Hanley. Then of course the catcher Wellington Castillo doubles off the low wall in the left field corner to advance Lake to third. With two outs, Nolasco makes frozen pizza of Cody Ransom with a called third strike on the outside corner to end the frame and escape further trouble.
Both pitchers exchange 123 third frames, and Nolasco tosses another perfect fourth frame, notching a whiff of Schierholtz along the way. Move to the bottom of the fourth where Andre Ethier slams a solo shot into the Cub’s bullpen to extend the Dodger’s lead to 2-0. That’s Ethier’s tenth home run of the season, and it was beautiful.
In the top of the fifth, Skip Schumaker comes into replace Yasiel Puig in right field, and we don’t know why at first. Puig did not appear to be injured, and just went and sat in the corner of the dugout. Then we find out that it was a manager’s decision. It seems like Puig angered Don Mattingly with some lackadasiel play in the outfield. A poor at-bat? Another one-handed catch? We’ll have to wait until after the game to find out the official response.
Nolasco has little trouble in the fifth frame. Other than a Wellington Castillo piddly single. Notch two more whiffs for Nolasco as well (Lake and Jackson).
The Dodgers broke out with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, as the Cubs began to act like the Cubs. Uribe’s bloop single falls about a foot inside the left field line, flanked on all sides by a trio of Cubs. Fedex singles Uribe to second. Nolasco’s sacrifice bunt looks like it’s going to go awry when Jackson tries to nail Uribe at third, but his throw sails wide and into the box seats. The costly error allows Uribe to score and Fedex goes to third. 3-0 Dodgers. Skip Schumaker’s ground ball single into right scores Fedex to put the Dodgers up 4-0. Jackson battles to escape the inning. Crawford a fly out, and a force out on Hanley followed by Ethier whiffing ends the rally.
After scoreless sixth innings, Nolasco tosses another donut in the top of the seventh. Bogusevic and Castillo both go down on strikes to close out the frame. In the bottom of the seventh, Schumaker’s two-out walk knocks Jackson out of the game. James Russell has to come in to get Crawford to fly out and get out of the inning.
IN the top of the eighth, Nolasco’s pitch count begins to mount. However he retires Ransom on a fly ball. Nolasco whiffs pinch-hitter Logan Watkins, but a walk to Starlin Castro makes the Dodgers squirm a bit. But he gets Darwin Barney on a check swing third strike, and he gets out of it. Blake Parker whiffs the side in the bottom of the eight, and we move to the top of the ninth.
Jansen whiffs Rizzo and Schierholtz. Bogusevic draws a rare walk off Jansen. Lake whiffs for the last out, and the Dodgers win! Final score of 4-0. That’s the Dodger’s 19th shutout of the season, and they finish with six of seven wins versus the Cubs. The Dodger record improves to 78-55, and the magic number is now 22. The number could be 21 if Arizona loses, and the lead is back to nine games at the moment.
Tomorrow the Dodgers get a rest with a scheduled day-off, and then the Padres come into town for a weekend series. Check in with us later for more Continuous Dodger coverage. Go Blue!