Dodgers strike strikes against Nationals for sweep

Vin Scully made a point today of emphasizing how Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez had not allowed a two-strike hit this year. Opposing hitters were 0 for 42 entering the game with two strikes against Gonzalez, and the Dodgers tacked on six more outs with two strikes before James Loney stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning today.

Gonzalez had thrown his last 11 pitches for balls to walk three consecutive batters – Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier understandably, Juan Uribe less so – but he did get ahead of Loney 1-2.

However, Loney went with a tailing pitch and stroked it smoothly to short left-center field, driving home Kemp and Ethier to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead that held up as the final score for a sweep of the Nationals.

The Dodgers ended up with six walks, but Loney’s single was their third and final hit of the day.

In another impressive performance, Chris Capuano pitched 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts and only five baserunners allowed, lowering his ERA to 2.73. Facing Jesus Flores, Josh Lindblom gave up a couple of high fly balls that threatened to tie the game, but one landed foul and the other in Tony Gwynn Jr.’s glove. Lindblom then stayed in to complete the eighth inning.

Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth inning, which combined with Don Mattingly’s pregame statement about Javy Guerra’s sudden lack of swag is sure to ignite some conversation about who wears the title of Dodger closer – as will the fact that Jansen walked two batters in a 26-pitch ninth before striking out the side. Guerra warmed up in the bullpen after Jansen began the inning with six straight balls, so I wouldn’t say there’s clarity on this issue.

Nevertheless, I’m just glad that Mattingly’s increased faith in Lindblom meant that he let him pitch the eighth, rather than take him out for no good reason. Whenever that trio of Lindblom, Guerra and Jansen pitches, I expect them to be effective over the long haul, despite the occasional hiccup. The inning that they pitch in should be the least of anyone’s worries – although the way these things go, I’m sure the calls for Lindblom to close are not far away.

Chad Moriyama has a worthwhile post on Guerra’s pitch selection, for those who wish to explore this further.

The Dodgers improved to 16-6, matching their best start since 1981, and have the best record in the National League by two games. This morning in the comments and on Twitter, I made note of a fact that was meant as pure trivia: In Matt Treanor’s two Sunday starts this year, the Dodgers had allowed 20 runs, compared with 53 total runs in their 19 other games (2.79 per game). I was hopeful that Treanor’s third Sunday start would break the pattern – and it did.
  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Speaking of Treanor, it’s kind of interesting (small-bore interesting, maybe) that he’s the second Dodger I can think of who’s been married to an Olympics gold medalist. Is this a trend?

    • Anonymous

       Well, so far it works out to one per decade in the new millennium.

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

         But that’s two more than they had in the previous century! (I think. I’m too lazy to look up spousal athletic feats for all the previous Dodger players from 1880-whatever till 1999. Say, didn’t Julie McNamara marry a ballplayer too?)

        • Anonymous

          Ann Meyers Drysdale would like a word with you.

          • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

             Whoops! She won a silver at the Montreal Olympics in 1976; I’d forgotten that. I remember her as a UCLA standout, not an international one. My mistake.

  • Anonymous

    In yesterday’s game Ethier fought off a good pitch and tipped it off to the backstop to stay alive for another pitch.  Vin then said that was the difference between a great hitter and a not so great hitter in that the latter would have struck out.

    I would love to know what Vin was thinking and not saying when Ethier on the very next pitch strikes out swinging at a pitch that bounced in front of the plate.  

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I see why you West Coast Dodger fans don’t care for the E coast dominated national media.
    ESPN dissed the Dodgers worse than I have ever seen today. If they had said something negative about the Dodgers it would have been better than ignoring them and their sweep. The Story was all about Harper, and if I didn’t know, I doubt I would have picked up who the Nationals played!

    • peter drysdale

      I saw that. I told my wife, “they didn’t even show the dodgers score. It really was just a Brice Harper story. Ridiculous

  • Dave Alden

    Re Guerra/Jansen/ Lindblom, I sure wish Jonathon Broxton was still a Dodger.  (Ducks back into foxhole.)

    • Anonymous

      Too high priced to have stayed with the Dodgers, but Mongo is having a pretty good season so far for KC, with an ERA+ of 184 (over 8 innings).

  • Anonymous

    I’ll admit to being impressed by Harper’s talent, even if he doesn’t stick immediately, and can hardly imagine the contract he’ll command if he becomes a free agent at age 25 or 26.

  • Anonymous

    Good weekend, Haper gets a couple of knocks and makes a nice defensive play, but the Dodgers sweep.  Couldn’t have asked for more.

  • Anonymous

    WBB – what do you mean “IF” Harper becomes a free agent?

    • Anonymous

      I was thinking more in terms of the age he might become an FA. Of course, with Boras you can’t imagine he would even think of signing an extension without testing free agency.

  • Anonymous

    Going back to yesterday’s game, I thought Dee’s at-bat in the 9th was sensational.  I believe he was down 0-2 against a guy throwing 100 mph and he refused to give up.  According to BR he got to 1-2 when Rodriguez uncorked the WP on the 6th pitch of the at-bat.  Kudos to Dee.  Without that at-bat there are no Kemp heroics.

    • KT

      is that the swinging strike 3 safe at 1st your talking about or the other wild pitch

      • Anonymous

        The WP that drove in the tying run. Dee could have gone down swinging before that wild pitch but he didn’t. I just wanted to give him his props.

  • Anonymous

    I read Moriyama’s posting on Guerra’s pitch selection as a contributing factor to his struggles here in 2012…. I enjoyed reading it… Well done Chad. :-)
    I would like to submit an additional thought for consideration….

    Javy’s pitch selection should be a product of the following;
    1. Dodgers’ advance scouting prior to each series with each opposing team (discussion / film)
    2. Manager/pitching coaches’ ideas as to how to approach each batter
    3. Game situation
    4. Catcher’s instincts… (pitches he calls for)
    5. And a big “lastly” for a guy with as incomplete a resume as Javy…. “his own gut instinct”
    Even when I was in college, if a pitcher started deviating from the game plan for any hitter, the pitching coach would be so far up the pitcher’s (orifice) before the pitcher could even blink… it would make your head spin.  And, it wasn’t a nice conversation.  :-(
     

    • Anonymous

       Also…. consider this….
      AJ Ellis also calls the pitches for Kershaw, Bills, Lilly, Jansen, et. al. …. and, they are all finding ways to get hitters out.
      I like Javy.  I root for Javy big time.  I hope he’s really successful.  However, I think it’s his “stuff” and location right now. 
      I don’t want him to struggle early here this season… only to find him on his way to the DL in May…
      That would be “Soooooo 2011!”   ;-)

      • Anonymous

        I read about the newly arrived bundle of joy.  Congrats!!!!
        Enjoy, because as I am finding out, they grow up fast.

        • Anonymous

           Thanks so much Artie… I really appreciate that.
          I’m trying to take as many photos as I can. :-)

    • Anonymous

      I would just like to make sure that you know that Guerra was in the Dodger minor league system from the summer of 2004 until the spring of 2011 when he came up to the ML team.

      • Anonymous

         So noted, Mike!

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    My friends at FB including Mr. Timmermann tell me that it’s Julianne McNamara, and that she did indeed marry a ballplayer, Todd Zeile. So I had her name slightly wrong but my memory of her marriage right. Hmm. I’m not sure what that means, but it must mean something.

  • Anonymous

    From my point of view, it’s interesting that the Dodgers’ new owners are corporate descendants of the former owners of the Chuiquicamata copper mine, as witness this quote from the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/business/the-guggenheim-connection-fame-riches-and-a-masquerade.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all): “THIRTY-TWO blocks south of the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan is another shrine to the Guggenheim fortune. In the ninth-floor offices of a skyscraper near Bloomingdale’s are mementoes of a gloriously rich past: a sketch of Meyer Guggenheim and his sons; a three-foot-long bar of copper from the Chuquicamata mine in Chile; a check for $70 million, dated 1923, for the sale of two million shares of the Chile Copper Company to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.”

    For those who read Spanish, http://www.mercuriocalama.cl/prontus4_nots/site/artic/20050417/pags/20050417035416.html contains a relatively recent account of baseball in Chuquicamata and Calama.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT