You know, you don’t ever want to get complacent. One hot month — okay, one unbelievably white-hot historic run of a month — isn’t enough to act as though the division is all wrapped up. Every game really does count, and when the race is still close down the stretch, you’ll look back and rue the ones that got away.
But you also look back at this absurd recent stretch, and you remember the games that they had absolutely no business winning. You look at the game where Dusty Baker refused to use Aroldis Chapman, or the comeback against Toronto’s bullpen, or the other comeback in Toronto when Colby Rasmus couldn’t remember how turf works, or probably four or five others. The point is, the Dodgers have had more than a few bounces going their way lately.
So while I’m bummed out that an absolutely fantastic pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Hiroki Kuroda ended up with the team being unable to turn Kershaw’s excellence into a win thanks to a weird ninth inning, it’s hard to get all that torn up by the team’s second loss since July 14, especially against an opponent that doesn’t even figure into the NL playoff race.
There’s not a whole lot to say about the first eight innings other than that watching Kershaw & Kuroda battle it out was just glorious, so let’s skip to the ninth. Yeah, Don Mattingly probably should have left Kershaw in for the ninth, and I wonder if he would have had the team pushed across a run in the bottom of the eighth. Anyway, Ronald Belisario managed to get two outs while putting two on — no thanks to Hanley Ramirez‘ bobbling of what should have been a double-play — and then Paco Rodriguez came in to strike out Lyle Overbay to end the threat.
Ha, wait, no, that’s just what should have happened. The third strike on Overbay wasn’t called as such since the umpires determined he didn’t offer, despite it being nearly identical to the previous pitch which was called a strike, and even the YES broadcast was shocked. So when Overbay poked a single into center field for the first run, it was no surprise. (Mattingly ended up getting ejected between innings arguing over it, rightfully.)
While you might consider coming back from 1-0 against Mariano Rivera, the wheels then fell off a bit when Jayson Nix popped a ball to right field that Mark Ellis was unable to handle — Yasiel Puig clearly was calling for it, and that far out it’s the right fielder’s ball, so I know where I’m pointing here — scoring two, and that was that.
Again, this game should be remembered for Kershaw and Kuroda. Can’t win them all, really, and there’s a four-game set in Wrigley Field to look forward to.