John Ely was outstanding yet again today, allowing just one run while pitching into the eighth, yet he was saddled with the loss thanks to the punchless Dodger offense. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Clayton Kershaw threw six scoreless in the first game of this series, and he came away with a loss as well, because the offense has been shut out twice in three games.
Yet as depressing as it is to see such great pitching performances going to waste, I feel a whole lot better about these losses than the ones we saw in April. Remember early in the season, when the Dodger offense was kicking ass and taking names – yet it didn’t really matter, since the pitching was so terrible? At the time, I said…
Okay, so maybe this team can’t pitch. Maybe they can’t field. Almost certainly, those weaknesses are going to come back to bite them in a big, stinking, painful way. There’s going to be plenty of time to discuss that, but tonight we’re going to focus on what just might be the most high-powered offense any of us have ever seen wearing the Dodger blue. It’s getting to absurd levels, and I mean that in the best way possible. Look at the lineup, and realize that 7 of the 8 regulars are carrying batting averages over .300. 7! And the one who isn’t – Blake DeWitt – merely has a .404 OBP.
And what did all of that fantastic offense get us? A 9-14 April record. At the time, you knew that the offense would eventually come back to earth a bit, but you couldn’t be equally sure that the pitching would turn it around.
Now, we’re seeing pitching that’s not only improved, but seems to be a good bet to keep it going. Chad Billingsley and Kershaw have found their grooves, Ely’s been a revelation, and both Ortizes are gone. Meanwhile, the offensive failure of the last few days can be seen as a bump in the road for a still-dangerous group – especially when Andre Ethier‘s return is imminent.
Anyway, as lousy as it is to lose a game 1-0, I just can’t say enough about John Ely, really. Each time out, you expect the other side to unlock the secret to his underwhelming stuff, and every time out he just keeps on humming along. A few more starts like this, and it’s not unreasonable to wonder about him being the MVP of the 2010 Dodgers. I mean, right?