The anniversary of the Dodger’s incredible run last season began on this date exactly one year ago today. June 22nd. The Dodgers were also playing in San Diego at the time, like they are right now. In that series, the Dodgers had to win two in a row to force a series split. This afternoon, the Dodgers were trying to earn a series win in the three game series at Petco Park. Let’s hope this magical date will inspire the club to go on another spectacular run. We can hope.Dodgers 2 6 0 Padres 1 4 1 WP-Ryu-9-3 LP-Stults-2-10 SV-Jansen-22
The series finale featured a battle of left handers. Hyun-jin Ryu for the Dodgers, going up against former Dodger Eric Stults. The Dodgers were able to eek across two runs in the early goings, and it was just enough run support for Ryu. Hyun-jin limited the Padres to just one earned run on four hits over six frames to lead the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory, and a series win.
The Dodgers have not been hitting left handers well at all in 2014, but have won seven out of eight, now eight out of nine against lefties on the road. Ryu has not pitched past the sixth inning in his last five starts, now including Sunday afternoon. But he has still won six of his last seven decisions. Ryu is now 9-3 on the season after picking up the win.
The Dodgers offense took a nap again after the second inning, but the pitching staff was able to make it stand up. The Dodgers scored once in the first, when Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second, and was wild pitched over to third. By the way what’s with all these wild pitches from the San Diego pitching staff these days?
Hanley scores on an Adrian Gonzalez force out, and errant throw from shortstop Everth Caberera. That costly throwing error was a huge play. The Dodgers scratched across one more in the second, but would have had more had A.J. Ellis not been thrown out at the plate, on a good throw from right fielder Chris Denorfia.
In that frame, Scott Van Slyke singled, and one out later, A.J. walked. Then Ryu sacrificed both runners to second and third. Dee Gordon singled into right, which scored Van Slyke. A.J. tries to score from second, but is nailed at the plate by Denorfia. Dodgers lead 2-0. Two Dodgers also extended their respective hitting streaks. Hanley went 2 for 4 and now has hit in nine straight. Kemp doubled, and has hit in ten in a row.
Stults pitched well too, but not well enough. He’s had a terrible year. His luck didn’t improve on Sunday. He limited the Dodgers to two runs on five hits through six frames. He walked three and whiffed five. After the second inning, the Dodgers did nothing on offense. There was a Ryu single in the fifth. A Kemp double in the seventh. Kemp was left stranded of course. The a couple of walks in the top of the ninth, and that’s it.
San Diego scored their only run in the bottom of the sixth, when Ryu began to tire. Denorfia doubled, and moved to third on a Cabrera grounder. Denorfia would score in an RBI ground out from Carlos Quentin.
The Dodger bullpen took things the rest of the way, and came through just fine. J.P. Howell threw a scoreless seventh inning, and then got the first out of the bottom of the eighth. After getting Venable to pop out, the Dodgers brought in Brian Wilson to finish the inning. He gets the annoying Seth Smith to ground out, and after Cabrera walked, he retired Quentin on a force play.
For the third straight game, closer Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth. After blowing the game on Friday, the Dodgers used him again on Saturday night. Jansen was able to get the save on Saturday, and then picked up his second save of the series on Sunday. Apparently the Dodgers had noticed that he was holding his hands too far behind his shoulders. Did the slight mechanical tweek have any bearing on his results? I don’t know, but Jansen looked great on Sunday. He blows away the Padres in the ninth, whiffing all three batters. Medica, Rivera, and Cameron Maybin all go down swinging, as Jansen picks up his 22nd save.
It’s nice to finally see the Dodger bullpen protecting and respecting a one-run lead instead of blowing it. The Dodgers improve to 42-35, and remain four games behind the Giants who polished off the Dbacks this afternoon.
The Dodgers will now fly to Kansas City to take on the Royals. The Royals had won ten games in a row, but now have lost four straight. That’s Baseball for you, the streaks never end.