Hit Batters, Comebacks, and Extra Innings – the Dodgers or the Angels?

The Angels started the second half by playing 28 innings in their first two games, splitting the two with Seattle. Today, in the rubber game of the series, the Angels were down 5-4 going into the ninth inning, but Albert Pujols doubled in Mike Trout to tie then game. After a double play took momentum away from the Angels and it looked like their rally was over, and a third straight extra innings game was in the offing, Grant Green, playing shortstop for the first time ever in the major leagues and filling in for the injured Erick Aybar, grounded a single into left, to drive in the winning run,

The game thus became the Angels’ major-league-leading thirtieth come-from-behind win of the season. They missed a chance to come within a half game of the division-leading

Athletics last night, but today remained 1-1/2 out, as the A's also won. The two teams remain, by far, the two best in either league, with the two best won-lost records.

While the Angels have been come-from-behind kings this season, the story is very different for the Dodgers, who are yet to come from behind to win a single game where they have trailed after the seventh inning. The best team money can buy has to
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do much better than that if they are to think they can have a successful season, and by successful, that means no less than getting to the World Series.

And then there is the issue of the hit batter, and the newest incarnation of the “BeanBallWars” that has been a big part of the Dodgers’ game ever since the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly took over the team. In the past couple of season, the Dodgers have had absolute wars with both the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks with intentionally hit batters, hitters attacking pitchers, and teams fighting teams. This is not to say that the Dodgers and mattingly are totally at fault, as a lot of this began with Dodgers’ hitters getting intentionally plunked by baseball’s worst headhunter, current Padre and former D’Back and trojan brain surgeon, Ian Kennedy. And, last season,

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the Dodgers' by far got the worst of it all, when after hitting Carlos Quentin of the Padres, Quentin attacked Dodgers' starter Zack Greinke, fracturing his collarbone and sending him to the disabled list for several weeks.

Now, the Dodgers are involved in yet another such "war",

and this one started during last season’s playoffs, when Cardinals’ pitcher Joe Kelly hit the Dodgers’ hottest hitter, Hanley Ramirez, breaking a rib, and essentially ending the post season for the Dodgers. Then in his first appearance since against the best team money can buy, Kelly hit Yasiel Puig on the hand, forcing him out of the lineup. So, in today’s game, after Cardinals’ pitcher Carlos Martinez hit Hanely, of all people (?) with a pitch, Clayton Kershaw went out to the mound and promptly plunked Matt Holliday, drawing warnings from the plate umpire.

As I write this, the Dodgers-Cardinals game is a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning, and while Martinez is out of the game, Kershaw is still pitching, and the Cardinals have lots of hard, “erratic” throwers, and there may be more extra-curricular activities yet to come.

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