Dodgers Bring The Heat, Sweep Of Nationals Moves Them Into First Place Tie
By Scott Andes
It was a hot and humid day in the Nation’s capital today, but the only thing hotter than that D.C. whether is the Dodgers. The Dodgers came charging out of the gate this morning, giving the Nationals the old razzle dazzle. With a 9-2 blowout win, the Dodgers complete a three game sweep of Washington, and now move into a first place tie with Arizona. Depending on the result of the Arizona/Giants game later this afternoon, the Dodgers could be in sole possession of first place with a Snake loss.
Do we dare to dream? That’s what this hot stretch the Dodgers have had feels like. The Dodgers have now won 20 of their last 25 games. This is the first time they’ve had a stretch like this since the 2004 season.
Before the game the Dodgers announced the return of Matt Kemp from the disabled list. Scott Van Slyke was optioned to make room, as Kemp was back at his familiar center field position. The Dodgers rested the slumping Yasiel Puig, as Ethier was in right field, and Carl Crawford in left.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) is congratulated after hitting an RBI sacrifice scoring Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park.-Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers also announced that Kemp may need an additional cleanup procedure on his shoulder, but if you saw him hit today, you would have never known there was anything wrong with him. Kemp was magnificent today, coming off the DL with a three hit, three RBI performance. Bison went 3 for 4 with a solo home run in his first at-bat, an RBI double in his second at-bat, and an RBI single. Kemp drove in three runs in the 9-2 onslaught.
We couldn’t go two hours without Kemp reinjuring himself though. Good lord man is he like 40 years old or something? He can’t stay healthy. With everything going swimingly, Kemp rolled his ankle on a slide at home plate in the top of the ninth. Kemp was trying to score on a Crawford grounder, and was tagged out. He was seen visibly limping and was unable to come back out for the bottom of the ninth. Kemp’s shoulder may appear to be fine for the moment, but now he sprained his ankle. It remains to be seen how serious it is. We’ll know more tomorrow. (FYI according to the club, it’s an ankle sprain, and he recieved treatment)
The Dodgers took advantage of a Jordan Zimmerman meltdown to bat around in a seven run second inning. In that inning after Kemp homered, there was a single from A.J. a double from M.Ellis, and a run scoring grounder from Kershaw. Crawford drove in a run with a single. Then Hanley hit a huge three-run home run to make it a 6-0 Dodger lead at the time. The Dodgers scored six runs on six hits with two walks, and two home runs in a flurry of hits in the second frame. This was probably the worst outing of Zimmerman’s career, so this was not the pitching duel we expected before the game. The Dodgers pounded out nine runs on 15 hits. Five Dodgers had at least two hits, with Crawford, M.Ellis, and Kemp each getting three. Kemp and Hanley each drove in three runs apiece.
Kershaw wins his ninth-Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of Kershaw, he was amazing as usual. Kershaw pitched seven innings allowing just two hits. (Both were solo home runs from Jayson Werth), the left hander whiffed nine batters and walked none, while picking up his ninth win of the season. Kershaw’s excellence was almost forgotten with all of the offensive fireworks. The Dodgers added two more runs just to make things even more fun.
Would you like to relive this great Dodger win? Check out the highlights below.
The Dodgers threaten in the top of the first against Jordan Zimmerman, but fail to score. Carl Crawford leads off the game with one of his patented post DL weak grounders. Nick Punto and Adrian Gonzalez both follow with back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. Hanley Ramirez a fly ball to left doesn’t advance the runners, and Andre Ethier’s flare looper to Ian Desmond is the last out of the inning.
Clayton Kershaw has no problems at all retiring the Nats in the bottom of the first. Kid Hype Bryce Harper whiffs on a 3-2 slider. Anthony Rendon is called out on strikes like a statue. Kershaw then retires Ryan Zimmerman on a fly out to left.
In the top of the second, the Dodgers utterly explode, scoring six runs and batting around against a shell shocked Jordan Zimmerman. The very first hitter of the inning is Matt Kemp, in his first at-bat back from the DL. Bison shows great plate discipline laying off a 1-2 inside fastball, before turning on a hanging slider and blasting it into the left field seats for a home run! Perhaps Kemp’s shoulder isn’t as bad as we had originally thought? That’s Kemp’s fifth homer, and the Dodgers lead 1-0. That just opened the floodgates. I almost felt sorry for Zimmerman, well almost.
Hanley does it again!-Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Ellis singles to right. Mark Ellis’s double down the left field line sends A.J. to third. Kershaw’s ground out scores A.J. to extend the Dodger’s lead to 2-0. But it didn’t stop there. Oh no, it didn’t. The runs kept coming. Crawford’s single to left scores M.Ellis. 3-0 Blue. With Punto at the plate, Crawford steals second. Nick draws a walk. With two on, Hanley Ramirez bombs one into the Dodger bullpen for his tenth home run of the season. The score is now 6-0 Dodgers! After Andre Ethier walks, Kemp comes up again, and doubles in Ethier. That’s a home run and an RBI double for Matt Kemp, all in the same inning! Incredible! A.J. lines out to end the frame finally, but the damage is done. The Dodgers lead 7-0.
Kershaw had to sit for a while and gives up a big home run to Werthless to lead off the bottom of the second. Good thing the Dodgers had a seven run lead to work with. Adam LaRoche whiffs. Desmond grounds out, and Jhair’s brother Scott Hairston whiffs.
Zimmerman’s day is done, as he is lifted for Ross Ohlendorf in the top of the third. Zimmerman only lasts two frames, allowing seven runs on eight hits. He whiffed just one, in what is probably the worst start of his career. Glad we could help that along of course. In this third frame, M.Ellis lines back to Ohlendorf’s mitt. Kershaw whiffs. Crawford doubles into the right field gap, but is thrown out by Werthless trying to be greedy and extend double into a triple. The score is 7-1 Dodgers in the bottom of the third. Kershaw retires the Nationals in order. Kurt Suzuki grounds out, Ohlendorf whiffs, and Harper grounds out.
The Dodgers add two more runs in the top of the fourth. Gonzo and Hanley with consecutive singles, and a grounder by Ethier scores Gonzo to put the Dodgers up 8-1. Kemp’s ground ball single to left scores Hanley and the Dodgers are up 9-1. That’s the third hit of the game for Kemp, leaving him just a triple short of the cycle. Kershaw returns to the mound to throw a 123 inning in the bottom of the fourth.
Mark Ellis singles, and Crawford walks in the fifth, but that’s all the Dodgers get in this frame. Kershaw throws another scoreless frame in the bottom of the fifth. The inning features an error by Hanley, a wild pitch from Kershaw, and an inning ending whiff of Suzuki. Bison flies out to left in the top of the sixth. Kemp still needs just a triple for the cycle. The Dodgers are leading 9-1 in the sixth.
Kershaw allows the second home run of the game to Werthless in the bottom of the seventh. He then turns around and easily whiffs Desmond, and La Roche to end the frame. Of course with the Dodgers up by so many runs, the first question over twitter was, “are the Dodgers going to use Brandon league?” The answer to that was yes. League enters the game in the bottom of the eighth, with the Dodgers leading 9-2. Surely League can’t blow a seven run lead right?
League’s first opponent Scott Hairston, lines out to Punto. Suzuki singles. Pinch-hitter Lomardozzi bats for Ohlendorf and grounds out. League then whiffs Harper and we’re done with the eighth. Well that was painless right?
Give me five Hanley!-Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Move to the top of the ninth, where Kemp is trying to become just the third Dodger ever to hit for the cycle. Kemp walks instead, and his quest for the cycle ends. Kemp will have to settle for a three-hit and three RBI performance. Shucks! After an A.J, fly ball, M.Ellis singles for his third hit. That brings up the pitcher’s spot, and Brandon League is allowed to hit. Fernando Abad walks him, and we all have a chuckle. But can Matt Kemp catch a break? Kemp hurts his ankle while sliding into home plate on Crawford’s grounder. He’s tagged out for the last out of the inning, but he can’t come back out for the bottom of the ninth. Yasiel Puig takes over in right, and Skip Schumaker plays center. Kemp is seen limping in the dugout, and we pray that he’s alright. We’ll keep you updated on the latest Kemp injury.
Move into the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers up by a score of 9-2, and League attempting to finish it off for the Boys in Blue. Rendon flies out to right. Ryan Zimmerman grounds out. But Werthless walks, and the annoying Chad Tracy singles. Finally League whiffs Desmond to end the game. The Dodgers win 9-2 and secure their 50th win of the season. The Dodgers improve to 50-47 and will await the result of the Snakes/Giants game. The Dodgers could wake up tomorrow in first place all by themselves.
The Dodgers will now leave the country, litterally, and fly up to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays in a bizzare interleague series that will end their trip. The three game series starts tomorrow night at 4:07 PM at the Rogers Centre. Hyun-jin Ryu will take the mound for the Dodgers, Toronto will counter with Josh Johnson.
The Dodgers are in first place? Woooaaa!
This hot streak has been something else I tell you. I am so happy and shocked, I am almost left speechless. Go Blue.