The Dodgers have played five games in Cincinnati this year so far (despite not having made it to San Francisco even once yet, because that makes sense), and they’ve scored 9, 14, 5, 12, and 6 runs. Sure, they’re just 3-2 in those games because, well, you remember what the pitching was like in April, but still: nothing’s more fun than watching a team break out of a prolonged offensive slump, especially when you’ve got Andre Ethier going yard for the first time since returning from injury (with three hits on the evening) and Manny Ramirez doing so for the second time in two days. Plus, James Loney is red-hot, knocking out fourteen hits in his last six games, seven of which have been doubles.
Of course, to focus only on the offense would be unfair to the newly-buzzed Clayton Kershaw, who made it into the 8th having allowed just one run and one walk. (According to the broadcast, Casey Blake shaved his head during the rain delay yesterday. Ha!) If not for Blake DeWitt booting an easy grounder, we might have been able to see him finish out the inning, but even so, the man just keeps humming along. That’s now 8 consecutive starts since his May 4 disaster against the Brewers in which he’s allowed no more than three earned runs. Remember, you probably heard a lot about how impressive Reds rookie Mike Leake was entering tonight’s game, and he certainly is. Just don’t forget that Kershaw is actually a few months younger than even Leake, and what he’s doing is phenomenal.
With the win and San Diego’s loss to Toronto (man, that didn’t feel right to type), the Dodgers are now a half-game ahead of the Padres and the Braves for the best record in the NL – this, despite having just the 4th-best run differential in the NL West and the 9th best in the league, so it’s no surprise their Pythagorean record entering tonight was just 33-31. Still, I’ll take it.
Remember: early start tomorrow, at 9:35am Pacific – John Ely vs. Bronson Arroyo as the Dodgers go for the sweep. In other minor news, former Dodger Claudio Vargas (who I was oddly unhappy to see go last year) was signed to join the Albuquerque starting rotation.
Oh, and in case you were wondering what Scott Rolen and Dusty Baker were so mad about that caused them each to get ejected, this is the pitch which was called strike 3. It’s a gift, but I’ll take it!