ANAHEIM -- Having lost four straight and seven of 10, the Dodgers will take victories in any way they come. That includes games where the formula for winning is almost completely unsustainable, as was the case Saturday in the second game of their weekend series with the Angels in Anaheim.
Once again, the Dodgers' bats were generally M.I.A., but as has been the case most of the year, they made up for it with excellent pitching and timely defense.
Your easily digestible summary of Saturday’s win:
Chris Capuano. Heading into Saturday’s game, only twice in Capuano’s last 10 starts had he given up more than three earned runs. The trend continued today. He rolled through the early innings, facing only 14 hitters and needing only 54 pitches (41 strikes) through the first four. Great defense bailed him out of trouble in the fifth, but Capuano settled down over his next two. Final line: Seven innings, one run, no walks, four strikeouts. Good work in the eighth and ninth from Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen (save No. 11) preserved his ninth win of the year, and Capuano’s strong bid for a spot on the All-Star team continues.
Defense. When they’re not giving themselves much wiggle room offensively, the Dodgers need to be near perfect defensively. The fifth inning wasn’t quite perfection, but it was close. Howie Kendrick should have been thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double, but Jerry Hairston Jr. couldn’t hold on to the ball applying the tag. From there, though, it was all highlight reel stuff. Capuano made a diving play on a Maicer Izturis nubber, turning what would have been in an infield single into the first out. After a pair of singles put runners at first and second, Dee Gordon made a spectacular diving stop up the middle on a Mike Trout shot, saving a run and nearly turning the DP after tagging second for the force. Torii Hunter followed with a shot to deep left center pulled back into the park by Elian Herrera for the third out.
Gordon. Of the eight position players, Gordon was the star for the Dodgers. His first inning single/stolen base got the ball rolling. His defense in the fifth took the Angels out of a big inning, and in the sixth he sent a shot the other way over the head of Mark Trumbo in left for a triple, scoring on a single from Hairston. Gordon hit the ball hard in the eighth, as well. Highlights at the plate have been few and far between for Gordon, who was 3-for-27 over his last six games and came into Saturday hitting .220 with an OBP of .269. Any positive signs are welcome.
Production. Friday night, the Dodgers went silent offensively after hanging five runs on Angels starter Dan Haren in the first two innings. Saturday, they again scored early, but the runs were due more to generosity on the part of their hosts than their lightening bats. Their two runs came on only one hit, a leadoff single from Gordon, who promptly stole second. From there, the Dodgers benefitted from two Angels errors and a wild pitch from Ervin Santana. Unfortunately, the Dodgers wouldn’t scratch out another hit until Gordon’s sixth inning triple.
We live in a world where Juan Uribe makes $7 million this year and next. Just saying.
The bottom six guys in the Dodgers lineup went 0-19. I’m aware this is just another way of saying for the third time “The Dodgers didn’t/can’t hit.” But when offense is the only problem and the post isn’t called “3 up, 1 down,” you do what is necessary.