Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Clearing the Bases: Dodgers do it again
By David Schoenfield
First base: Magical ending. It's only 43 games and crazy things can happen between games 44 and 162, but it's starting to look like one of those seasons for the Dodgers. They're now 30-13 after one of the most exciting wins of the season, rallying from a 6-1 deficit to defeat the sinking Diamondbacks, 8-7. First, Ivan DeJesus Jr. hit a two-run, two-out double off Arizona closer J.J. Putz in the top of the ninth. Then, after Arizona put runners on the corners with one out, Kenley Jansen induced Jason Kubel to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, with Dee Gordon flying through the air as Justin Upton took him out and James Loney scooping Gordon's bounced throw. A key play happened on Upton's base hit, with Tony Gwynn Jr. making a nice play in right-center to hold Upton to a single. And Kirk Gibson didn't send Upton on the 3-2 pitch to Kubel (understandable considering Jansen's strikeout rate). As Dodger Thoughts' Jon Weisman writes, "I can't explain ... anything that is going on." Matt Kemp last played on May 13. The Dodgers are 7-2 without him and averaging 5.1 runs per game. "I'll never forget this game," DeJesus said.
Second base: Harper versus Halladay. Terrific anecdote from Mark Zuckerman, who covers the Nationals at NatsInsider.com. He tells the story of Harper saying in spring training that he's watched Roy Halladay and says he starts a lot of hitters with a slow curveball. In the third inning on Tuesday, sure enough Halladay threw Harper a first-pitch curve and Harper ripped it for a two-run triple, putting the Nationals ahead. The Nats are now 4-1 against the Phillies, setting the stage for tonight's Harper-Cole Hamels showdown.
Third base: Wilson's gem. C.J. Wilson shut down the A's, allowing one hit over eight scoreless innings, a Cliff Pennington single in the fifth. With Vernon Wells out 8-to-10 weeks after thumb surgery, the Angels can finally play the lineup they should have been playing all along: Peter Bourjos in center and Mike Trout in left. With Torii Hunter temporarily out, red-hot Mark Trumbo has been playing right field. With the ground Bourjos and Trout can cover, the Angels can live with Trumbo's lack of range. In fact, even when Hunter returns, I'd stick with this lineup -- making Hunter more of the utility guy instead of Trumbo, who needs to play every day considering the Angels' offensive problems. Yes, Bourjos is off to a slow start at the plate (.197), but it's only 84 plate appearances. Oh ... and that Albert Pujols guy hit his third home run in seven games.
Home plate: Tweet of the Day.