Dodgers 5 Cubs 2- Latos+Steals+Bullpen=Wins?

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I’m usually pretty optimistic about the Dodgers, but I would be lying if I said I felt confident about Mat Latos facing the Cubs lineup and the Dodgers offense sans Yasiel Puig against Jon Lester.

Latos had a strong Dodger debut, but gave up 10 earned runs in eight 2/3 innings in two starts after and was pulled from the starting rotation during the Dodgers’ last road trip. With the off days, this pushed Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke forward to remain on five days rest, and lined them up to face the Giants next week. It also gave Latos some time to figure it out, which he apparently did with the 16 days of rest he got. 

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Latos didn’t make it out of the fifth against the Cubs, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. Addison Russell led off the inning with a hit, and Justin Turner made an incredible diving catch on a Lester bunt attempt. Another single put runners on the corners, and then Latos was called for a balk. I’ve been a baseball fan for about 20 years (I’m only 24 so give me a break), and I still don’t know if I really know what a balk is. I understand the concept, but if you showed me 10 pickoff moves and 10 balks, I probably couldn’t pick the balks out. The umpire called Latos for a balk, and the Cubs had a 2-1 lead with Lester dealing.

Then, magic happened in the seventh. Carl Crawford, who started against a lefty because the Dodgers are running out of right-handed outfielders, slapped a single to left. He stole second because everyone steals second off Lester (including tonight, Lester has allowed 40 stolen bases this season) and A.J. Ellis had a very professional at-bat and singled to right. Jose Peraza, who was called up to replace the DL’d Puig, roped a double to left to score Crawford. Andre Ethier, who came into the game hitting .200 against lefties, hit a weak single that got through the infield and scored Ellis and Peraza. Enrique Hernandez and Adrian Gonzalez followed up with singles, and the Dodgers had a four-run seventh to give them a 5-2 lead.

Aug 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford (3) and left fielder Scott Van Slyke (33) celebrates after beating the at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Notice how long that paragraph was. The Dodgers put up four runs in an inning without a home run. Their lack of power concerns me, they can’t depend on manufacturing runs as often as they do IMO.

For my math majors out there, Latos only lasting four 2/3 innings means four 1/3 innings of Dodger bullpen. Luis Avilan ended the fifth inning by getting the last out, and then had a perfect sixth. Chris Hatcher got two quick Ks in the seventh, and then walked two batters and was replaced by J.P. Howell, who struck Kyle Schwarber out. Jim Johnson came in for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single, struck out Anthony Rizzo (lol) and hit the next two batters. Interesting strategy, but Johnson threw the “double play” pitch to Russell and got out of the inning unscathed. Kenley Jansen closed out the game, and the Dodgers won. Against a +.500 team. With Mat Latos on the mound. And using five relievers. And had four stolen bases. Also they didn’t hit a home run. Just like we all expected.

The Giants lost, so the Dodgers lead the division by 3.5. It would be really nice to not be in second place next week, so the Dodgers should keep winning IMO. Considering I was actively rooting for the Cardinals, I’m gonna go shower now.

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