The Dodgers dominated the opener in Philly as a former Phillie crushed his old team.
The Dodgers got off to a slow start, but the offense exploded late with four homers, including two by the biggest troll in baseball history.
Kenta Maeda made his second consecutive start against the Phillies. He cruised early on, as he struck out three of the first five batters he faced (and got the other two to hit into weak outs). However, Cameron Rupp ruined the no-hitter as he jumped on a first-pitch fastball with two outs in the second to break the scoreless tie.
Maeda walked a batter in the third, but with two outs he was caught stealing to end the threat. He allowed an infield single in the fifth, but also got out of that inning unscathed.
Maeda got bit by the dinger bug again in the sixth, as he gave up a solo shot to Cesar Hernandez. However, he got a comebacker and a strikeout to get through the sixth with 93 pitches. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh, so his final line was two runs (both solo homers) and three hits in six innings. Maeda struck out nine and issued one walk. The six innings was the best part of the outing, as he finally gave the Dodger bullpen a bit of a break. They had a day off yesterday, so it wasn’t too much of a dire need, but no one is complaining about a starter getting through six.
The Dodger offense lit up Vincent Velasquez at Dodger Stadium six days ago, but Velasquez came out firing today. He struck out the side in the first and struck out two more in the second. The second was a bit frustrating, as Josh Reddick pounded a baseball and Odubel Herrera made a wonderful catch in the left-center gap to rob him of extra bases. That’s a nice microcosm of Reddick’s Dodger tenure thus far.
The bottom of the Dodger lineup finally got to Velasquez in the fifth. Yasmani Grandal led off with a rocket single to left-center. Joc Pederson followed that up with a nine pitch at-bat, fouling off four pitches before finally striking out. Howie Kendrick launched a homer to left-center to put the Dodgers on the board. It’s weird when Kendrick doesn’t go oppo, but he completely crushed that pitch to put the Dodgers in the lead for the time being.
After Maeda struck out, Chase Utley crushed a solo homer in his homecoming. In a weird turn of events, Utley got a curtain call and a standing ovation following the homer, which has to be the first time an opposing player got such a reception hitting a home run against the home team.
I’d like to take a minute to honor Utley’s troll levels. I thought it couldn’t get better than when he single-handedly beat the Mets in the trollingest game in baseball history. I was wrong. This was awesome.
The Dodgers added on again in the sixth after Adrian Gonzalez poked a two-out single to left. Grandal came up and unloaded another home run to make it 5-1. Velasquez stayed in to walk Pederson before getting pulled. He cruised through four innings, but the Dodgers crushed him in the fifth. In his last two starts (both against the Dodgers), he’s allowed 13 runs, 18 hits and six homers. Grandal and Kendrick hit homers in both games against the Dodgers.
The wheels completely fell off for the Phillies in the seventh. Utley drew a walk, Corey Seager doubled and Justin Turner hit an infield single to load the bases. Reddick grounded into a force out, but Elvis Araujo hit Gonzalez with a pitch and walked Grandal and Pederson to bring home three Dodger runs. Rob Segedin pinch hit and added an RBI single.
Then, because baseball is super predictable and Hollywood, Utley unloaded a grand slam to make it 13-2.
The Dodgers added more insurance in the eighth, which started with a ground rule double by Pederson. Kendrick continued to smoke the ball, as he tripled Pederson home to give the Dodgers a 14th run. Segedin grounded out to score Kendrick for number 15. Kendrick finished the day 4-5 and a double away from the cycle. Not bad for a number eight hitter.
Pedro Baez was first out of the Dodger bullpen. He immediately gave up runs, as he gave up a leadoff single and an absolute moonshot to Ryan Howard. Howard hasn’t been good in like five years, but still, Pedro, maybe don’t throw middle-middle fastballs to him. Baez got the next three to finish the seventh.
J.P. Howell was tasked with the eighth and got into his own trouble. The Phillies started the inning with three straight singles. A sac fly made it 13-5, and Howell struck out the next two to escape the threat. Not his cleanest inning, but it could have been a lot worse.
Casey Fien finished off the game in the ninth in his first game action in a month. He got no help to start the inning, as Reddick misplayed a fly ball to further endear himself to Dodger fans. Fien worked around it, as a fly ball to the wall ended the game
Shout out to Philly fans, who generally don’t have the greatest reputation. The game was slightly delayed at the start as they gave Utley a hero’s welcome back to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Dodgers can take sole ownership of first place tonight, depending on what happens tonight between the Pirates and Giants.
In other news, the Dodgers shuffled their rotation a tad. Bud Norris‘ return from the DL has been pushed back to Friday in Cincinnati. He was originally scheduled to return on Thursday, but Ross Stripling will start the getaway game against the Phillies.