Lessons in How to Break a Losing Streak
Hallelujah, Dodger Nation!! The Boys in Blue snapped a four-game losing streak, and woke up this morning with a shiny one-game winning streak, once again in charge of their own destiny.
However, less than 24 hours ago, things looked bleak. The Dodgers had dropped four in a row, while looking rather lackadaisical doing it. The Dodgers offense, which lives or dies by the home run this season, had withered under the late summer, Los Angeles sun. To top it all off, Ace Zack Greinke was scratched from his start with a sore calf. Things looked bleak, indeed.
Then I received a text from my goddaughter: Would I like to go to the Dodgers game? There’s only one answer to that question: Absolutely. It was fate and our mission to do our part to help the Dodgers snap that losing streak. Here’s how it all went down…
After a brief bout with traffic on the 5, we parked at 5:30. Early yes, but the lots were filling up fast, as it was Vin Scully bobblehead night, and a big crowd was in the mix.
The Dodgers put together a small tribute for Vinny on his special night. Prior to the game he and his family stood along the third base line, with enough humanity to rival any number a team would field along the base line for World Series festivities.
As Don Mattingly‘s line-up was announced, I was not thrilled with his use of Chase Utley batting lead-off, but was pleasantly surprised to see Andre Ethier get a shot at hitting clean up. In honor of Dodgers’ Latino Heritage Celebration month, Ethier went on to quietly earn a Golden Sombrero.
We decided to wait the first couple of innings or until the Dodgers scored before grabbing something cold to drink. It was a warm night, so the Dodgers obliged us and scored immediately, with Chase Utley’s first pitch, lead-off home run. His dinger immediately buzzed the stadium and sent the message the Dodgers intended to win.
Arizona answered with a Paul Goldschmidt home run in the bottom of the first, and the game slowed down as the Dodger bats went quiet again. Luckily spot starter Carlos Frias and assorted bullpen extras kept the Diamondbacks down, and the game remained tied for the next seven innings.
It was a balmy night at Chavez Ravine and the Dodger pitchers seemed to take a lot of time between pitches – Pedro Baez in particular. At times the game felt like it was in suspended animation.
Jimmy Rollins surprise-bunted to lead off the eighth, and woke us all up. Utley, his old RBI partner, in that lead-off spot, then knocked Rollins in with a double to right field. Later in the same inning Corey Seager blasted a two-run home run to put the Dodgers up 4-1, slam the door on Arizona, and set the table for Mr. California Love, Kenley Jansen.
Jansen then shut down the snakes, as I ate the final spicy slice of lime from my chillada. The Dodgers had broken the losing streak, and dropped their Magic Number to 6. Dodger fans streamed out of the stadium into the bright Los Angeles night, with smiles that only come from a mission accomplished.