Dodgers on a historic run
August, 13, 2013
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are on one of those rolls in which nothing -- not even simple logic -- can slow them down.
With an injury-riddled lineup playing against one of the most intimidating pitchers in baseball, the Dodgers beat the New York Mets 4-2 Tuesday night for their seventh straight win.
The numbers are becoming staggering. The Dodgers are undefeated in their past 16 series. They have won 39 of their past 47 games. They're the first team since the 1951 New York Giants to win at such a high percentage over a 47-game stretch.
And the how is becoming as interesting as the what.
There aren't many mismatches more glaring than Matt Harvey versus Nick Punto, the National League's second-most dominant starting pitcher against the 5-foot-9 career utility guy, who turns 36 in November.
The way the Dodgers are going, they win the unfavorable matchups as frequently as they win those in their favor.
The Dodgers weren't making much headway against Harvey, but he also wasn't dominating them by the time Punto came up with runners on in the fifth inning. Aside from the first inning, they were hitting balls hard, just to the wrong places. Harvey got double plays to escape trouble in the second, third and fourth innings.
The Dodgers finally made something stick in that fifth, after A.J. Ellis walked and Juan Uribe singled. Punto slapped a ball into the left-field corner, scoring Ellis easily and, after Eric Young Jr. had to retrieve it deep in the corner, Uribe lumbered home.
Punto has been filling in for slugging shortstop Hanley Ramirez (and batting .450 in his stead) for the past nine games, over which the Dodgers have gone 8-1. They also played Tuesday without Andre Ethier, who met with a doctor about his tight left calf.
Ellis, who ranks second on the Dodgers with 42 RBIs, later singled up the middle to drive in two more runs against Harvey.
It wouldn't have mattered if Hyun-Jin Ryu hadn't pitched as well as he did. Things started off slowly. Juan Lagares homered and Daniel Murphy lined a single to left. But Ryu got rolling after that. His only real challenge was a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth, but he got Justin Turner to pop up and John Buck to ground out to end it.