With the best record in the National League, the Dodgers look to forge an even bigger gap between themselves and the second-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers, reigning division crown holders, are now a season-high five games ahead of the pumpkin-colored foes. They are 16 games above .500 even with a disabled Hanley Ramirez and a late season scramble for shored up starting pitching.
Van Slyke 1B
Kevin Correia had a fabulous Dodger debut on Monday evening in Atlanta. He only allowed 1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings of work. He induced 10 groundouts which paired up quite nicely with Miguel Rojas‘ slick fielding at shortstop. With a bolstered pitching squad, the Dodgers are looking to end the season with another playoff berth. Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia may not end up on the playoff roster, but for the final 42 games of the season they can spell some rest for Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu.
42 to go. The 2014 season is quickly coming to a close whether we like it or not. The season hasn’t had an exciting 42-8 winning streak like 2013, but the team has been consistent despite injuries to some of their key players sprinkled throughout the season. Anchored by excellent pitching, the Dodgers will still look to their offense to give Kershaw and company support going down the stretch.
Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp have both had resurgent seasons, and both have been instrumental in the Dodgers’ success this season. Adrian Gonzalez has continued to be the “butter and egg” man, and Gonzo leads the team with 80 RBI and 17 homeruns even though he is hitting a somewhat regressed .271 on the year. Justin Turner has been the unsung hero off the bench, and despite a rough game in Milwaukee, is hitting .308 with 9 pinch-hits.
Dan Haren will be on the mound on Tuesday, and he will be trying to repeat the success of his last start which was a beauty. He only
allowed 1 run on 3 hits over 7 1/3 innings. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the right-hander who was deep in a downward spiral of awful pitching. In his career, he is 5-2 with a 4.68 ERA in 9 games (8 starts) against the Braves. He is 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA in 5 games (4) starts at Turner Field. B.J. Upton has hit five homeruns against Haren in the past. Himself.
Mike Minor will be starting for the Braves after his last start was skipped a la Haren style. The 26-year old lefty has had a rough year. He’s allowed 20 runs over his last 4 starts. Last time out against the Padres on August 1st, he allowed a disastrous 5 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings. Minor is 1-1 with a 2.32 ERA against the Dodgers in 5 career starts. A.J. Ellis has hit Minor well in the past, and the catcher has 5 hits including a homerun against him in 13 plate appearances.
Prediction: Carl Crawford is in a healthy spurt, and he has another multi-hit game.
With the acquisitions of Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia, Dan Haren could be pitching in order to retain his spot in the
rotation. We saw a glimpse of the early-season Haren last time out, and the Dodgers would love to see more of that Haren in Atlanta.
Minor League Spotlight: Tim Federowicz hit his 12th homerun of the season for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Monday night versus Las Vegas. He is now hitting .328 with 42 RBI. He’s also been mowing down would be base stealers at a 44% caught stealing rate. A September call-up is guaranteed.
Game time is at 4:10 p.m. Let’s stop the chop!