Like I said earlier, why bother shifting around the Dodger rotation to make sure that Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke could face the Red Sox when you have Ricky Nolasco available? This is maybe not exactly what I had in mind when I said that, but let’s go with it, because Nolasco was absolutely outstanding in shutting down a dangerous Red Sox lineup on a mere two singles over eight innings.
Seriously, that was it. Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs in the first inning and got nowhere when David Ortiz grounded out; Stephen Drew singled (after Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch) in the fifth, then was immediately erased on a double play started by a fine Juan Uribe defensive effort. Nolasco retired the final ten batters he faced with ease, and when Kenley Jansen blew away the Red Sox in the ninth, it completed a stretch of 26 consecutive scoreless innings by Dodger pitching, along with their 18th shutout of the year.
It should be noted that Boston starter John Lackey was excellent as well, allowing only three hits while going the distance, but unfortunately for him one of those hits was a two-run Hanley Ramirez blast into the seats in the fourth inning. The Dodgers really didn’t do much else — though Carl Crawford did steal two bases against his old club — and that’s how a matchup that really should have been expected to take about five hours was done in just barely more than two hours (2:07 to be exact).
Since Arizona lost earlier tonight, the Dodgers are now 10.5 games up in the division. As Vin Scully noted, it’s the biggest divisional lead they’ve had since 1977. They’re just one game behind Atlanta for the best record in all of baseball. The fun, it just never, ever, ever stops.