LA Dodgers capitalise on triple play to post 9-1
The Los Angeles Dodgers won 5-4 yesterday in what was a superb day for the team and their fans.
On the 65th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Vin Scully returned to the broadcast booth after missing five games, Matt Kemp homered again, and the Dodgers turned a bizarre triple play in the ninth inning of a tie game and then walked off in the bottom of the inning with their ninth win in 10 games.
They beat the San Diego Padres 5-4 yesterday and remain one of the surprise packages of the MLB season. The triple play helped turn the game and was the first for the Dodgers since 1998 against Colorado.
The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the ninth to score the game-winning run on Gordon’s liner to left. The victory gave the Dodgers a sweep of the Padres, and a 9-1 record, matching their best start since the 1981 championship season.
But the victory on Jackie Robinson Day was by no means debate-free for Los Angeles. With two on and none out in the ninth, Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman bunted near home plate while umpire Dale Scott looked to have signalled foul. But the ball rolled fair and Scott then decisively signalled as much.
The Dodgers are just the 11th team since 1990 to start 9-1 (the last team to start 10-0 was the 1987 Brewers). Here’s how the previous ten teams fared:
2011 Rangers: 96-66, reached World Series
2009 Marlins: 87-75, missed playoffs
2003 Yankees: 101-61, reached World Series
2003 Giants: 100-61, division champs
2003 Royals: 83-79, missed playoffs
2002 Indians: 74-88, missed playoffs
1996 Orioles: 88-74, won wild card
1994 Braves: 68-46, strike season
1992 Blue Jays: 96-66, World Series champs
1990 Reds: 91-71, World Series champs
Not including the 94 season, that’s an average record of 91 wins and 71 losses. Only one of the teams finished under .500. Whilst it’s not a guarantee that the Dodgers are headed to the playoffs, but it certainly has to be viewed as a positive sign. They’re 9-1 even though Kershaw hasn’t won any of his three starts (though has a 2.35 ERA). James Loney is hitting just .148. Leadoff hitter Dee Gordon, who delivered the game-hitting Sunday, is struggling with a .200 average and .273 on-base percentage.
But there are some signs that the Dodgers may be a lot more competitive than most envisioned. The bullpen has a chance to be one of the best in the league with Kenley Jansen setting up Javy Guerra and a solid corps of middle men including Matt Guerrier and Josh Lindblom. Chad Billingsley had a rough 2011 (career-worst 4.21 ERA as he walked 84 in 188 innings), but he’s been brilliant through two outings, allowing one run with a 15/1 strikeout/walk ratio. Aaron Harang’s 13 strikeouts on Saturday may be a fluke but, he’s the team’s fifth starter. Suddenly a rotation of Kershaw, Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Harang looks like it could be decent, especially in the NL West, a division not full of mashers.
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