Friday, August 2, 2013
If Dodgers on road, get out of the way
By Mark Saxon
In 1924, the Brooklyn Robins' longest road trip took them from New York to St. Louis, less than half as far as their descendants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, often have to venture. Then again, they had to get there by train.
Like that 1924 team, led by Hall of Fame manager Wilbert Robinson, these Dodgers are in a hurry to do some damage on the road. The Dodgers equaled the 89-year-old franchise record by winning their 12th straight road game, this one a 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Dodgers won their 12th consecutive game on the road after a 6-2 decision on Friday against the Cubs.
These days, the Dodgers can win while apparently running at 50 percent capacity.
Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu labored through his 5 1/3 innings, giving up 11 hits, including four doubles. And the offense -- without Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford, who got routine days off -- wasn't exactly explosive. It mostly relied on sloppy Chicago fielding and a bout of wildness by its starting pitcher.
It didn't matter. Ryu is 10-3 and the Dodgers have come out of nowhere to take control of the NL West. Their lead in the division was four games pending the outcome of Friday's Arizona game in Boston. The Dodgers have gone 29-7 since June 21.
The Dodgers wore down Chicago's best starting pitcher, Travis Wood, in a 41-pitch third inning. Wood, who normally has good control, walked four straight batters as the Dodgers took a 3-1 lead. A.J. Ellis, who sees more pitchers per at-bat than all but two hitters in the National League, fell behind 0-and-2 but still worked a bases-loaded walk.
The Dodgers made increasing their on-base percentage an emphasis in the spring and, lately, they have been among the most patient teams in the league. The Dodgers' .327 on-base percentage was fourth in the NL (after St. Louis, Atlanta and Cincinnati) going into Friday's game.
Ryu hasn't just pitched well this season. He also has hit, a shocking development given that the other part of his career was in Korea, which has the designated hitter. Ryu, who pitches with his left hand and hits right-handed, had a leadoff single in the fourth inning and, after some awkward base running, scored a run on Adrian Gonzalez's bloop hit. That was Ryu's ninth hit, putting him second among Dodgers pitchers behind Zack Greinke, who is batting .400.
Mark Ellis, of all people, was ejected from the game in the fourth inning for arguing a pitch around the outside corner with plate umpire Alan Porter. TV replays showed Ellis apparently saying, "That's so bad." Porter also tossed manager Don Mattingly, who has been thrown out of two of the Dodgers' past three games for arguing with umpires.
Ellis had doubled over David DeJesus' head earlier in the game, so his hitting streak remains intact at 13 games.