For the first few innings of tonight’s eventual 6-4 win over the Cubs, this post was looking like it was going to be about how Ricky Nolasco is decent but not great, and no one should be expecting some sort of ace quality from him. After all, it only took Josh Wall, Steve Ames, and Angel Sanchez to get him, so why should we be totally surprised that he gave up dingers to both Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo in the first?
Nolasco ended up giving up a second blast to Lake in the third, but he comes away from this one with the victory anyway. While you’d expect me to kick in a jab at pitcher wins there — okay, wins! — this has more to do with the fact that the Dodgers suddenly have an offense that can overcome their starter giving up three homers.
You can make that four total for the Cubs, since Rizzo added a second off of Paco Rodriguez in the eighth, but since they were all solo shots that’s all the Cubs would get.
Fortunately for Nolasco, he’s on the new-look Dodgers, the kind that can seemingly pull offense out of just about everywhere. Need a shortstop quickly putting himself into the MVP conversation? Hanley Ramirez has you covered, with a third inning double to score the first two and a highlight-reel double play in the field. Need a clutch hit off the bench to overcome a 3-2 deficit? Look to Jerry Hairston, who did just that by knocking in two with a single up the middle in the sixth, followed by Adrian Gonzalez plating Hairston. Need your young phenom destroying a baseball to add an insurance run? Well, that’s why you have Yasiel Puig.
Nolasco was picked up by four very good innings from the Dodger bullpen, with only Rizzo’s homer off Rodriguez spoiling otherwise solid contributions from J.P. Howell, Chris Withrow, and a dominant Kenley Jansen.
The Dodgers kick off the road trip with their 11th straight road victory, their longest such streak since 1955, and in fact they haven’t lost on the road since July 6 — the day they traded for Nolasco. Thanks to Yu Darvish dominating the Diamondbacks tonight, they sit 3.5 up in the NL West. The fun, it just never seems to end.