Funny what good defense and relief pitching can do for a club. Most people tend to think those areas can help a team win ball games. Newsflash they can and do. For once the Dodgers got both together in one game. And not rain nor cold would halt them. Oh and having some guy on the mound named Clayton Kershaw normally helps too.
Despite a 45 minute rain delay and inclement weather conditions, the Dodgers were able to mix those key ingredients together Friday night and bake a delicious 2-0 win over the Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Kershaw picked up his third win of the season. Even though he had to pitch another three innings after the rain delay after sitting for nearly 45 minutes. The first three innings he was fantastic, not allowing a single hit. The rain delay occurred during the top of the fourth inning with Kershaw up to bat. He had to finish his at-bat first and then immediately take the mound in the bottom of the fourth.
It was that inning where he ran into trouble when Utley doubled and Ruiz walked. But Kershaw got mad, (taking it out on poor Rick Honeycutt, before taking it out on the Phillie’s hitters) and whiffed three in a row, (Byrd, Howard and Ruf) to escape that jam. The only other jam Philadelphia could muster against Kershaw was in the bottom of the sixth. Rollins doubled and Ruiz walked. Putting Kershaw in a jam and a foul. Kershaw had a few choice words for poor Honeycutt when he jogged out to the mound. But Kershaw got Utley to fly out, Byrd fouled out to Gonzo, and Howard is called out on strikes. Philadelphia ended up getting kersh’d. The lefty went six frames, allowing just two hits, three walks and whiffing nine.
Kershaw’s mound opponent was the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. He changed his name back to Roberto Hernandez. He was pretty decent too, holding the Dodgers to two runs on seven hits through 6.1. He walked four and whiffed three in losing cause.
Erisbel Arruebarrena made his MLB debut as Hanley Ramirez was given a night off. Would you belive not a single ball was hit to him tonight? Oh Baseball. At the plate he looked overmatched, going 0 for 3 with three whiffs and a walk.
Carl Crawford kind of stole the show, with Gordon doing some stealing of his own, and Puig reached base five times. Puig was 3 for 3 with three singles, two walks. Crawford went 2 for 4 with a home run, and two great defensive plays in left field. Tough night for Gonzo though who went 0 for 5.
His sliding catch on Dominic Brown’s sinking liner in the seventh, and a great running catch on Howard’s drive in the eighth, helped squash two Philly rallies. The Dodgers also threw out a runner at the plate in that seventh inning rally. The bullpen was spectacular. League, Howell, Wilson and Jansen combined to keep the Phillies off the board. League did struggle, but his scoreless innings streak was preserved, thanks to Howell, and Crawford. That’s what friends are for!
The Dodgers scored their first run in the first when Gordon singled, stole second and third, and came home on a Yasiel Puig RBI single. The Dodgers got their second run in the top of the second when Crawford homered, to put the Dodgers up 2-0.
Speaking of Gordon, he stole three more bases tonight, and now leads the majors with 28 steals. Gordon is stealing the world right now.
The Dodgers finally made the plays, and improve to 26-23, and 17-10 on the road. Heres how this rain-soaked win played out in the city of brotherly love…….
The Dodgers draw blood in the top of the first. Dee Gordon leads-off with a single to right. Gordon then steals second. Chone Figgins fails to move Gordon over, and flies out to left. But with Yasiel Puig at the plate, Gordon steals third. Both times the throws are way too late. Gordon now has 27 steals on the season. Then Puig singles him home. The Dodgers go up 1-0. Gonzalez flies out to right. Puig is on the move but Andre Ethier grounds to first.
Kershaw has a ncie easy 123 bottom of the first inning. Jimmy Rollins grounds out. Ruiz lines out to Ethier, and Utley fouls out to Figgins.
The Dodgers plate another run in the top of the second. Carl Crawford leads-off the frame with a solo jack to right, landing over the right field scoreboard. Dodgers lead 2-0. That’s Crawford’s fourth home run in 2014. Hernandez settles down, retiring A.J. Ellis on a line out. Then Erisbel Arruebarrena whiffs swinging in his first Dodger at-bat.
Kershaw looks to be on his game in the bottom of the second. He whiffs Byrd and Howard, but walks Darin Ruf. Third baseman Cesar Hernandez hits one to Gordon, who has to go the long way to first and gets the out. 2-0 Dodgers after two.
Hernandez sets the Dodgers down in the top half of the third. Puig gets an infield single to short, to go 2 for 2 on the night, but that’s it.
Kershaw records an eight pitch bottom of the third inning. Retiring the Phillies 123 with a whiff of Hernandez, to give him three whiffs on the game. Hernandez starts to have control problems in the top of the fourth. He hits Ethier in the leg with a pitch. Philadelphia turns a double play on Crawford’s grounder. A.J. Ellis walks, as the sky opens and it starts to rain at Citizen’s Bank Park. The fans head towards the stands. Arruebarrena walks to put runners on first and second. Then with Kershaw at the plate, the umpires finally halt the game, and go into a rain delay.
The game finally resumes at 5:45 PM pacific time with a 1-1 count to Kershaw and runners at first and second with two outs. Kershaw grounds out to deep short, and the inning finally ends.
The question in the bottom of the fourth becomes how many warm-up tosses will Kershaw need? And will he be sharp? He gets the standard eight pitches, and then walks Ruiz on eight pitches. But Kersh battles. He whiffs Byrd on three nasty sliders in a row. He whiffs big nose Ryan Howard after a tense fight. Finally he whiffs Ruf for the third out. Dodgers escape!
In the top of the fifth, Gordon is robbed of a hit by the other Hernandez. Figgins lines out to Howard. Puig fouls a ball off of his foot, beats the throw and reaches on a slow roller towards third. But the umpires rule it a single. Puig is given first base, and the Phillies don’t challenge the play for some reason. The issue becomes moot when Gonzo’s fly out ends the frame.
In the bottom of the fifth, a check-swing strike is called on the other Hernandez. Philadelphia first base coach and former Dodger Juan Samuel is tossed from the game for arguing. Kersh then blows through the inning. Mayberry grounds to Figgins, and Hernandez whiffs. Kershaw now has eight whiffs.
Ethier’s bloop single opens up the top of the sixth. Crawford is called out on strikes, but AJ strokes a single to right. Ruf is off in la-la land, so Ethier takes third on Ruf’s mental gaffe. Hernandez whiffs Arruebarrena for the second out. Kershaw’s chopper to second ends the inning. The Dodgers don’t score, and still lead 2-0.
The Phillies threaten in the bottom of the sixth. Rollins doubles towards left, and Ruiz is walked. Kershaw seems annoyed. Honeycutt makes a mound visit, and Kersh seems to get even more annoyed. Utley flies out to Puig. Nobody is going anywhere with Puig’s laser arm, and the runners hold. Byrd fouls out towards the dugout. Finally Howard is called out on strikes to end the frame. Dodgers lead 2-0 after six.
Hernandez walks Gordon in the top of the seventh. Gordon then steals second. Hernandez is flustered by Gordon’s speed. Figgins flies out to right, and Gordon tags up to third. Philadelphia intentionally walks Puig to go after Gonzo. They bring in left hander Mario Hollands, who gets Gonzo to ground into an inning ending double play.
Kershaw is done for the night, and Brandon League comes in to relieve him in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Ben Revere singles. The other Hernandez walks. The Dodgers are in trouble. They get into more trouble when former Dodger and old friend Tony Gwynn Jr. bunts and Gordon drops the throw from League. They give the error to League, but Gordon did drop the throw. The bases are loaded.
Domonic Brown comes off the bench to pinch-hit for Hollands. He lines out to left and Crawford makes a great forward sliding catch. He alertly gets up and fires into the infield. The runners have to hold. Then Mattingly hooks League with his scoreless streak on the line. In comes lefty J.P. Howell. Rollins grounds into a force out as Figgins goes to the plate for the second out. Ruiz’s liner is caught by Puig and the Dodgers get out of another jam!
Antonio Bastardo is on the mound in the top of the eighth. The Dodgers spin their wheels again in this frame. Ethier with a lead-off double. Crawford’s grounder to the box becomes a single because Bastardo gets confused and looks at the wrong base or something. AJ lines out, Arruebarrena whiffs. Hanley foregoes the night off and comes off the bench to pinch-hit for Howell’s spot. Hanley hits a long drive that sends Gwynn to the wall, but it’s caught.
Brian Wilson is called in for the bottom of the eighth. The beard looks great, whiffing Utley and Byrd. Crawford make a great running catch on Howard’s slicing liner to end the inning. 2-0 Dodgers after eight.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers are still leading 2-0. Enter closer Kenley Jansen. Revere grounds out to Gordon. Jansen blows away the other Hernandez for the second out. Jansen gets old friend Tony Gwynn flies out to Crawford to end the game. Dodgers win 2-0!
Don’t miss Saturday’s game. Game two will feature Dan Haren facing another rookie David Buchanan who is filling in for the injured Lee. The Dodgers will go for the series win at 12:05 PM. Hopefully it won’t rain again.