Van Slyke 7
How sweet it is. Beating Ian Kennedy, Gerardo Parra, and friends at baseball is pretty satisfying. The Dodgers won their first series against Arizona this season last night, and they look to sweep the Snakes in the three-game set on Wednesday night in Phoenix. The D-backs looked listless compared to the team we saw earlier in the season. Perhaps the brawl set in motion by Kennedy’s nose swipe of Yasiel Puig had rattled their rattles a bit? The Dodgers used their reignited offense and excellent pitching from new starter Ricky Nolasco to contain the D-backs to just one run over the course of the game. Some bumbling defense really hurt Kirk Gibson‘s team in the loss, and even though the Dodgers had an infield with both Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston Jr., there was only one error on the night from the duo.
.500 is within reach. I wouldn’t have believed the Dodgers could be this close to .500 or to first place in the division a month
Jul. 8, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Los Angeles Dodgers batter Hanley Ramirez hits an RBI single in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
ago. Thanks to the monumental offensive skills of Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers have righted the ship and are headed toward the top. I also can’t stop thinking about if the Dodgers had Hanley since Opening Day. The Boys in Blue could have been easily over .500 with extra Hanley hits and homers. He may not field his position well, but boy can he hit. Thanks again, Miami!
Hyun-jin Ryu may not be flashy like Yasiel Puig, but the rookie pitcher has proven that he can pitch in the Majors and be successful at doing so. Ryu has a sub-3.00 ERA, and he has 90 strikeouts in 111 2/3 innings pitched so far this season. He is fourth amongst rookie pitchers in strikeouts and second to Shelby Miller in ERA amongst those who have over 90 innings pitched. Last time in San Francisco, Ryu picked up his first career win against the Giants after going 6 2/3 innings while allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks. Last time he faced Arizona back on June 12th, the lefty did allow 3 runs on 11 hits over 6 innings in the no-decision. So far Ryu is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 11 Ks in 12 career innings pitched against the Snakes.
Hyun-jin Ryu has been one of the best rookie pitches in the league this season. Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The D-backs will counter with top prospect Tyler Skaggs. The southpaw is
Jul 5, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (37) throws during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
pitching in the injured Trevor Cahill‘s rotation spot. The Southern California native won his last start against Colorado after pitching 8 shutout innings and only allowing 3 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk. Skaggs has only pitched 5 innings against the Dodgers in his young career, and he has a 1.80 ERA with 3 strikeouts in that short sample time. Hanley Ramirez, whose 19-game hitting streak was snapped last night, has hit a homerun against Skaggs in his lone at-bat against the left-hander.
If the Dodgers complete the sweep tonight, they will see .500 for the first time since April. They have now won 14 of their past 17 games, and with a win tonight they will sit only 1 1/2 games back of first place in the N.L. West. The rest of the division has been reeling. The Giants are back in last place after losing 3 in a row, and the Padres managed to break a 10-game losing streak yesterday with a win. Now’s the time for the Dodgers to bat flip their way into first place.
Tune into Prime Ticket at 6:40 p.m. to hear Vin Scully’s call of the game, and swing back here to check out our postgame coverage. Sweep those Snakes!