The Dodgers were down to their final out tonight when Andre Ethier hit a sinking liner to center fielder Colby Rasmus. The ball skipped off the Toronto turf and rolled a ways, allowing Yasiel Puig to scamper home and tie the game at 3-3 off Blue Jays closer Casey Jannsen.
The Dodgers would score five more runs in the top of the 10th inning to win the game 8-3. The crowning moment in the game was when Puig got his on one to left field, his 9th of the season. Puig had three hits in the game and has his average back at a cool .376 for the year.
And this game is a microcosm of what’s been building for the Dodgers for quite a while now. Things are bouncing their way. It’s very easy to see that they’re going to stay hot and roll the entire second half and find a way into the playoffs – likely by winning the National League West. Remember when Don Mattingly was going to be fired? He doesn’t.
This team is for real, and they’re firing on all cylinders. When you have that, and you’re getting that certain degree of weird baseball luck in your favor; observers like me just start to get the feeling that it’s going to end up a special and dramatic year for a team. The Dodgers are going to be one of those teams.
The Dodgers have now won six games in a row to run their record to 53-47, holding a one game lead in the division.
That’s what I think of the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers as things begin. It’s not a bad thing for baseball if these guys are restored to relevancy.
It would be unrealistic to think that all of these former superstars will put together superstar seasons at the same time. However, if just a few of them manage it while the others become solid contributors, the Dodgers are going to be one tough out in the National League.
Major offseason moves:
- Signed SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
- Signed SP Zach Greinke to a 6-year, $147 million contract
- Traded minor leaguer Jake Lemmerman to St. Louis for Skip Schumaker
- Signed RP JP Howell
- Signed RP Brandon League to a 3-year, $22 million contract
Of course, let’s not forget all the damn moves they made at the end of last season. They acquired a small army of misfit toys in getting Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett for basically nothing.
After the jump, we’ll take a look at the Dodgers from top to bottom.
Last night I had the Cubs and Dodgers on my MLB.com gamecast only to see how Clayton Kershaw threw (he’s counting heavily for me right now in a few fantasy baseball leagues) and I realized something upon him getting touched up for a homer in the 1st inning by Alfonso Soriano. What is that ’11’ next to Alfonso Soriano’s name?
No, it couldn’t be. They don’t mean he’s hit 11 home runs already this season. But they would have to mean that wouldn’t they? Is this the same Alfonso Soriano that’s been left for dead by so many including myself?
It’s true. In this bizarro world baseball season, Alfonso Soriano for the time being has found the fountain of youth and at age 35, leads the majors by jumping out to 11 home runs. He’s even money to break down at some point in the season–which could be a factor that keeps him from truly jumping off the page over the course of the long grind that is almost a 200 game season. He’s also only hitting .267 at the time of this post so maybe that’s why I’m not hearing about him as much as you usually would with a guy with those type of power numbers. Plus he’s on the Cubs, and they’re abhorrent.
Oh, as a footnote. Kershaw grabbed his third win of the season and that Andre Ethier guy extended his hitting streak to 28 games in this same ballgame.
Back on April the 2nd, Andre Ethier collected two hits in a 10-0 loss to the Giants. That night was the beginning of his 27-game hitting streak that has spanned into yesterday.
We love hitting streaks. We literally love everything about them. Yes, it helps that Ethier is on one of our most important fantasy teams; but really by this point anyone who has stretched their streak near thirty we’re perusing the box score every night to see what he did.
As with any streak, the media coverage gets out of control. The little mom and pop shop blogs start to write about it. Everything is watched under such intense scrutiny and the four at-bats a guy like Ethier gets each night on average seem to go by in the blink of an eye. You start to realize how damn hard it is to keep it going. We hit in about 11 or 13 games straight once. Anything longer seemed impossible. Ethier is some kind of locked in right now and he’s getting the hits early in games a lot of nights.
It could be over within a day or two, or this could last a while. Either way, it’s streaks like the one that Andre Ethier has going right now that make following the course of a big league season so great. And once you’ve got a 30-game hitting streak under your belt (most guy never have a 20 in their entire career) you enter a territory where you can no longer really mouth off about that guy not being able to hit. It’s like they enter a fraternity in which they’re at the very least a respectable professional hitter (Luis Castillo not withstanding, anymore).
We hope this ride Ethier is on continues for a while. Does he have what it takes to chase down Pete Rose?