Found July 21, 2013 on Suicide Squeeze:
The key to the Dodgers’ improbable run to the championship in 1988 was not their ability to blow opponents away night in and night out.  It was to hang tough against every opponent.  They might not have led the whole way every game, but they always seemed to get just enough pitching and then get the big hit or the big play when they needed it the most. In 1988 it was Kirk Gibson taking two bases on a passed ball to score in extra innings.  Orel Hershiser pitching 59 consecutive scoreless innings and running off five straight complete game shutouts down the stretch and pitching 10 shutout innings in an eventual 1-0 loss against San Diego (after the division had already been clinched) to tie Drysdale’s record.  In fact, Hershiser threw nine innings or more in the last 9 games he pitched that season, rendering the Dodger bullpen practically unnecessary, while not giving up a single run in the month of September.  Then in the playoffs, Scioscia had his ninth inning game-tying blast against Doc Gooden, then Gibson had his 12th inning eventual game-winner at Shea.  And in the pentultimate event, a slew of Dodger relievers combined to hold the Oakland Athletics scoreless over the last seven innings of Game 1 of the World Series while the offense chipped away just enough to give Gibson the ability to hit the most dramatic walk-off home run in the history of baseball. It’s hard to compare this team to the ’88 team because the payroll is much more bloated.  The players are guys you expect to win a lot of games and cause problems for their opponents based on reputation and salary.  But the way that they’ve become similar: a will to win.  The idea that every at-bat, every pitch, every play is important.  If the team falls behind, they believe they’re one swing of the bat away from being back in the ballgame.  There is an entirely different attitude this year amongst the players, one that seemed to start to grow in the wake of Yasiel Puig’s call-up and the brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks, one that won 17 out of 22 games leading up to the All Star Break with seemingly every player on the team playing a role. There was no one “guy.”  The focus was on Puig, and maybe that was part of the change, it took the rest of the players out of the spotlight, let them relax and enjoy the game.  But one night it would be Juan Uribe getting 7 RBIs.  One night it would be Matt Kemp with his legs stealing bases, the next with his glove robbing home runs.  One night it would be Andre Ethier with a big hit.  One night it would be Chris Withrow with extended relief.  Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez got big hits.  Puig made big plays.  Greinke, Ryu, Kershaw, Fife, Nolasco and even Capuano would make quality starts.  When things looked bleak during a 16-1 loss, the one major blemish on the team’s recent run, Skip Schumaker would take a load off the bullpen and the guys would shake it off and win the next day. There is something special about the 2013 Dodgers, and now they sit a half game back of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  A month ago, the margin was 8 1/2 games.  The division and this team have turned around. Zack Greinke made another solid start for the Dodgers despite not having his best stuff, surrendering one run on seven hits while mixing in three walks and three strikeouts.  The Nationals got their lone run off him in the bottom of the sixth.  Roger Bernardina singled to right, scoring Chad Tracy.  Bernardina was thrown out by Puig trying to take second to end the inning, but the Nationals drew first blood and took a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers immediately struck back.  Zack Greinke, who has been hitting well lately (.406 season batting average), usually hits for himself even when being pulled.  However, manager Don Mattingly made a move that most would consider odd considering Greinke’s recent plate success and sent up Skip Schumaker to pinch hit for him.  The hunch paid off.  Schumaker nearly hit it out and sound up standing on second base with a double.  Mark Ellis then lined a base hit off Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez into left-center field to score Schumaker and tie the game at 1. This one would require extras to finish off,  but the Dodgers would get the margin necessary in the top of the tenth.  Adrian Gonzalez led the inning off with a double.  Hanley Ramirez followed him up by lining a double off the center field wall, and absolute rocket to the deepest part of the park, scoring Gonzalez and giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.  A Juan Uribe sacrifice set up Andre Ethier, who hit a ball just deep enough down the left field line to score Ramirez from third on the sac fly for a 3-1 lead. Kenley Jansen struck out two batters in the bottom of the tenth, then got a game-ending groundout from Chad Tracy to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to secure the Dodgers’ win. Chris Withrow picks up the win in relief after pitching a scoreless bottom of the ninth, he improves his record to 1-0.  Craig Stammen picks up the loss for the Nationals, dropping his season record to 5-5.  Jansen picks up his 11th save. The Dodgers and Nationals conclude their three game set in our nation’s capital today at 10:35 a.m. local time.  Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 1.98 ERA) makes his first start of the second half against Jordan Zimmerman (12-4, 2.58 ERA) with the Dodgers eyeing the game in San Francisco between the Giants and the Diamondbacks carefully as a Dodger win combined with the Diamondbacks loss will get the team back to the place they have been eyeing for the past month while this hot streak has been running: first place. Related articles What the Dodgers Need For A Strong Second Half (ericsdodgersblog.wordpress.com) Dodgers win in 10, pull within 1/2 game of D-Backs (cbssports.com) As Puig falters, Ramirez revs up in Dodgers’ victory over Nationals (miamiherald.com) Dodgers eye first place, sweep of Nationals (oddonion.com) Nats’ Offense Falters Again in Loss to Dodgers (washington.cbslocal.com) ‘Dirt Farmer’ helped Dodgers grow into champions with grit and wit (sacbee.com) This article has been read (0) times
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Injury Roll Call: The Bison is snake-bitten while Crawford & Puig return + minor-league updates

Matt Kemp was activated from the disabled list after a bout with irritation in the AC joint of his reconstructed left shoulder. Scott Van Slyke headed back to AAA to make room for Mattycakes. Kemp had a great day at the plate in his return, reaching base four times (homer, double, single, walk). However, he left the game in the ninth after injuring his left ankle on an awkward play...

Hanley Ramirez leading Dodgers’ charge

For the first time all season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were a first place team on Sunday afternoon after completing a three-game sweep of the Nationals with a 9-2 win. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, their occupation of the National League West’s top spot was short lived and after only a 

Matt Kemp returns from DL, hurts ankle

When the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Matt Kemp an eight year, $160 million contract extension in November of 2011, most thought it was a solid investment. Two seasons later the team has to be wondering if it grossly overpaid. It’s not because of his play, but because he’s not on the 

Puig bounces off wall and still makes great catch

A lot of people thought Yasiel Puig was deserving of a spot on the All-Star roster after his phenomenal first five weeks in the majors. Now, in the Los Angeles Dodgers first game back after the Midsummer Classic, Puig continued to prove why he should have been there — this time from the field. In the seventh, Puig makes a great running catch in foul territory before colliding...

Down On The Farm: Week Of July 1 & 8 – Castle, Duke, Stripling, Garcia, Baez, Seager

There’s no Julio Urias appearance this week, but some other quality prospects made the list, including Ross Stripling. Also, the two of the Dodgers‘ short-season leagues began play last week (Pioneer League and Arizona Rookie League). —– Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (2-4 & 5-1) Player Of The Week – 7/1 Alex Castellanos – OF .350/.500/.700/1.200, 2 HR, 5 RBI...

Dodgers' Matt Kemp injures ankle in first game back from DL

The Los Angeles Dodgers might be riding a wave of success right now, but Matt Kemp can't catch a break.  He came off the disabled list yesterday, and he had a fantastic game.  However, by the time the Dodgers completed their blow out win over the Washington Nationals yesterday afternoon, Kemp was hurt again. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times says the Dodgers and...

Dodgers' Kemp returns, homers in 1st at-bat

Matt Kemp homered and doubled in the same inning Sunday in his first two at-bats off the disabled list. The Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder led off the second with a solo shot, then doubled home Andre Ethier in a seven-run inning against Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann. Kemp, who had been hindered by inflammation in his left shoulder after offseason surgery, was...

Dodgers' Ted Lilly throws simulated game Friday, could join bullpen soon

Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Ted Lilly, out since June 4, continued working his way back to action on Friday night. MLB.com's Andrew Simon reports that Lilly threw 20 pitches to teammate Matt Kemp (also recovering from injury) and reported no issues with the strained neck that put him on the disabled list for the third time this year. Twenty pitches would allow Lilly to...

Minor leaguer Angel Sanchez helps team throw no-hitter

It hasn't taken long for the Ricky Nolasco Trade to pay off in a big way ... for Jupiter, that is. Right-hander Angel Sanchez, one of three pitching prospects acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 6 as part of the Nolasco deal, combined with two Hammerheads relievers in no-hitting the Clearwater Threshers in a 5-0 victory Monday night. Sanchez (2-0, 1.69) waked two...

Kemp expected to miss at least Toronto series

TORONTO (AP) -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is expected to miss the three-game series against the Blue Jays after spraining his left ankle. Out of the lineup for 11 games with a sore left shoulder, Kemp came off the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's 9-2 win over the Washington Nationals. He went 3 for 4 with a home run, but limped off the field after sliding into home...

Yasiel Puig is being sued for $12 million

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig is being sued for $12 million. Puig is accused of making false allegations against a man who is currently in prison, according to a Friday report from the L.A. Times. Puig, a 22-year-old who made his MLB debut last month after defecting from Cuba in 2012, testified in a human trafficking trial in 2010 that saw a man from Cuba, Miguel...

Andre Ethier’s Blast the difference for the Dodgers

Andre Ethier continued his hot hitting over the last month in the first game back from the All-Star break with the go-ahead homer in the ninth to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals to start the second half. The homer was only Ethier’s sixth this season which is a drop in production from the last five seasons in which he averaged 21 round trips...

Yasiel Puig being sued for $12 million by man in Cuba

Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig is reportedly facing a $12 million lawsuit from a man in Cuba. According to the LA Times, a man by the name of Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot claims Puig knowingly made false accusations against him which resulted in a seven-year prison sentence. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal [...]

L.A. Dodgers Yasiel Puig makes INSANE throw (video)

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig has taken MLB by storm this summer. In a sport that lacks a true “poster child,” Puig might just develop into that. And Puig could become that definitive superstar sooner rather than later.   The L.A. Dodgers rookie sensation made a 280 foot throw (according to MLB Network) that was just insanely perfect from deep in right field of Nationals...

Matt Kemp’s Big Day in Return Leads to a Dodgers Sweep of the Nationals

rss2
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.