Bullpen Game Actually Works: Final Road Game For Dodgers Yields Victory


The bullpen game actually worked! The Dodgers defeated the Cubs on Sunday morning and took three of four in the last road series of the season. Jamey Wright made an admirable start and pitched two innings for the Dodgers, and then the bullpen (6 pitchers) was able to hang on for the next seven innings for the combined effort. I had my doubts about Don Mattingly‘s choice to pitch a bullpen game this late in the season with the Dodgers on the brink of clinching a second consecutive division title, but I was pleasantly surprised with the winning result.

Jacob Turner was not sharp for the Cubs, and the Dodgers jumped on him for 5 runs. Matt Kemp collected 4 hits and drove in 4 runs as The Bison continues to lead his team toward October. Gonzalez, Hanley, and Puig all had multi-hit games as well.

The Dodgers battled the Chicago wind and the ivy and the goats of Wrigley, and they came out the other side that much closer to putting the division to bed.

Dodgers 8 16 0

Cubs 5 7 1

WP- Perez (1-3)

LP- Turner (5-11)

S- Jansen (43)

HR- Kemp (23), Castillo (12)

Adrian Gonzalez collected his 40th double on the season with one out in the first against Jacob Turner. Yasiel Puig singled, and Gonzo’s double to right field sparked Puig to run right through Lorenzo Bundy’s stop sign to score all the way from first base! Then Hanley Ramirez hit a beautiful double off the ivy covered wall in deep left field, and Gonzo brought in the second Dodger run of the inning. Great first inning for the Dodgers.

Jamey Wright, in his second start in the last seven years, gave up a single to Javier Baez and a walk to Luis Valbuena in the bottom of the first. Wright was able to retire the side without allowing any runs.

The Dodgers got a man to third base in the second when A.J. singled, Jamey Wright’s sacrifice bunt moved him to second, and a wild

Sep 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Matt Kemp (27) after he hits a two-run home run in the third inning in the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

pitch by Turner allowed A.J. to advance to third. Anthony Rizzo, who is shaping up to be a great player for Chicago, snared a line drive by Dee Gordon to end the inning.

The Cubs got to Jamey Wright in the home half of the second. Wright began the inning by striking out Arismendy Alcantara, but then he walked Chris Valaika. Matt Szczur grounded into a force out. The big mistake of the inning for Wright came on a 0-2 single to the opposing pitcher Jacob Turner. That base hit would segue into the RBI single to Chris Coghlan. Szczur scored, and the Cubs got on the board. Javier Baez hit a scorching line drive, but the third base vacuum Juan Uribe sucked it right up to end the frame. 2-1 Dodgers.

Yasiel Puig has thankfully snapped out of that awful slump, and he has really been hitting well of late. Puig singled to lead-off the third. Puig made it all the way to third on a passed ball by Wellington Castillo and a groundout to first by Gonzo. Then Matt Kemp hammered a Bison Blast over the right center field fence for a beautiful opposite field two-run homerun! Bubbles were flowing, and the Dodgers took a 4-1 lead over the Cubbies. Hanley Ramirez followed with a single, his second base hit off the scuffling Jacob Turner. The Cubs challenge and win on a tag on Hanley Ramirez at first base after Carl Crawford flied out to left field. The Cubs won the challenge and got the double play to end the inning. Hanley was caught snoozing there, but Davey Lopes didn’t exactly help him out at all.

Carlos Frias picked up for Jamey Wright in the bottom of the third. Luis Valbuena doubled to right, and with two outs Alcantara also doubled to the right field corner to bring in the second run for the Cubs. We all had Frias’ awful outing in Colorado on our minds when he entered the game, and of course the rookie pitcher could not pitch a scoreless inning. Frias reared back to strikeout Valaika to end the inning, but Chicago got to Frias for a run. 4-2 Dodgers.

Jamey Wright pitched 2 innings and allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks on  pitches.

Jacob Turner retired the Dodgers in order in the top of the fourth.

Frias also pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth while striking out both Szczur and Coghlan. Frias punched his glove in a little pumped up celebratory expression as he walked off the mound.

There was a scare with Puig in the top of the fifth. Puig reached first on a strikeout wild pitch with one out. While Gonzo was busy striking out at the plate, Puig slid awkwardly while stealing second base. He hurt his left ankle, and Stan Conte ran out to check him. He stayed in the game, and he was able to score from second on a Ramirez RBI single. Dodgers took a 5-2 lead.

Frias shakily started off the bottom of the fifth with consecutive walks to Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo. Rick Honeycutt went out to the mound to try to settle Frias down and allow Chris Perez time to warm up in the Dodger bullpen. The pep talk didn’t work. Valbuena proceeded to single in Baez on a groundball into right field. Then a wild pitch allowed Rizzo to come home, and suddenly it was a one-run game, 5-4.

Carlos Frias pitched 3 innings and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks on 58 pitches.

Sep 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) gets attended to after sliding into second base in the fifth inning in the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Zac Rosscup took over for Jacob Turner in the sixth. Uribear doubled to center field with one out. A.J. Ellis just missed hitting one out, but the darn Chicago wind kept it in the ballpark. Pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke came up with a big double down the left field line, and the Dodgers took a 6-4 lead.

Jacob Turner pitched 5 innings and allowed 5 runs on 8 hits with 3 strikeouts and no walks on 87 pitches.

Chris Perez was the third pitcher for the Dodgers, and he pitched a very nice 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth. Dare I say that Perez hasn’t been THAT bad since returning from his bone spur DL stint. He struck out both Logan Watkins and Chris Coghlan in the inning.

Kyuji Fujikawa came out of the Chicago bullpen for the seventh inning. Puig got on base again thanks to a throwing error on shortstop Javier Baez. Puig ended up all the way to second base. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single to left field, and Puig smartly stopped at third. Kemp then knocked in his fourth run of the game with a single to right, and the Dodgers were up 7-4. The runners advanced to second and third on a Hanley groundout. The Dodgers loaded the bases when Carl Crawford singled on a little ground ball to first base which pulled Rizzo off the bag. Unfortunately the bases loaded curse was in full effect when Uribe grounded into the double play.

Chris Perez returned to the mound for the bottom of the seventh. Miguel Rojas took over at shortstop. Matt Kemp made a bobbling catch in right field, and that was the last out recorded by Perez. Paco Rodriguez came in to pitch to Rizzo. Paco retired the two batters he faced.

Dan Straily became the eighth pitcher of the game in the eighth. Other than a walk to Joc Pederson, Straily was able to keep the

Sep 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) scores on a single by Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Matt Kemp (27) in the fifth inning in the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Chicago Cubs catcher Welington Castillo (5) missed the tag at home plate. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers at bay in the inning.

Pedro Baez was the next pitcher for the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth. After going 3-2 to Wellington Castillo, the catcher smashed a solo homerun to left center field. 7-5 Dodgers.

Brian Schlitter served up a single to Matt Kemp who went 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs. Kemp is now slugging .594 since the All-Star Break. Crawford singled with two outs, and Juan Uribe’s RBI single gave the Dodgers an extra insurance run. 8-5 Dodgers.

Kenley time. Jansen gave up the dreaded lead-off walk to Rafael Lopez. Coghlan then doubled down the right field line. The ball bounced away from Gonzo into the bullpen area. The Cubs had runners at second and third with nobody out. Javier Baez was mad after he struck out for the first out. Rizzo grounded out to Uribe at third. Valbuena struck out. Crisis averted.

The Dodgers improve to 89-67, and their *Magic Number is now 4*. That was a great birthday win for Scott! The Dodgers head home for their final six games of the season. On Monday, they open the what could be the division clinching series with the Giants as Dan Haren counters Jake Peavy.