It’s June 30, and just after both Luis Cruz & Matt Guerrier were finally DFA’d, we saw nine solid innings from Stephen Fife, Jose Dominguez, Chris Withrow, and Paco Rodriguez, with four of the fourteen hits chipped in by Yasiel Puig. Just how we all envisioned it in March, right?
I suppose that’s appropriate, becuase so far this season hasn’t worked out in any way we’d hoped or expected to at all. Right now, none of that seems to matter. Fife was wonderful yet again — seven shutout innings! — and he’s more than making a case to be the one to hang on to his job rather than Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly if and when the Dodgers make a move for a starting pitcher.
Six different Dodgers drove in runs, and that’s really how this offense is supposed to work. It’s supposed to be an offense that’s tough from top to bottom, not just concentrated in a star or two. It’s never been healthy enough to work that way until now… and it really brings home the point that having healthy, talented players available is a lot more important than complaining about the manager when all the talent is on the disabled list.
In the eighth, rookie Dominguez entered to hang on to a 4-0 lead, and if the expectations were merely “be better than Guerrier,” then I think it’s safe to say he exceeded them and then some. Depending on how much faith you place in the always questionable broadcast gun, the 22-year-old righty hit triple digits more than once, blowing away Delmon Young before getting Ben Revere to ground out and Carlos Ruiz to fly out.
But then, who am I kidding by pretending absolutely anything matters other than Yasiel Puig? You’d think that at some point this would slow down, that pitchers would stop throwing him anything at all near the strike zone. Maybe that’s what will happen, some day. Today was not that day: Puig singled in the first, singled in the fourth, tripled in the fifth, and doubled in the the seventh, the first four-hit day of his career and giving him the opportunity to come up in the eighth just a homer short of the cycle. Sure, some of those were friendly scoring calls on some questionable fielding plays, but then doesn’t this team deserve some luck at this point?
Puig struck out on a high fastball from Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, but 107 plate appearances into his career, he’s hitting .436/.467/.713. I know that can’t keep up, simply because more than a century of baseball demands that it doesn’t. But then, those are “rules” that apply to “humans,” and it’s starting to feel like absolutely none of that applies to Puig.
As the Dodgers head into a day off tomorrow before starting a series in Colorado on Tuesday, things are starting to get real. San Diego lost in Miami. Arizona was swept in Atlanta. San Francisco managed to win, but that at least still goes as a loss for the Rockies. No team in the NL West has won more than four of the last ten except the Dodgers; they’re still in last place, but they’re red-hot and just four games out of first in a jumbled division.
Look out, National League. The Dodgers are healthy, and they’re coming for you.