Phenom’s Misplay Makes Up for Dodgers’ Bullpen Woes

Just as I predicted, on Saturday Kenta Maeda pitched another great game and somehow Dodgers’ relievers snuck in five outs between and after three hits and a run to hand a lead over to Kenley Jansen, and the team won the game I knew they would against the Rockies, 4-1. And my analysis was again spot-on Sunday, when Alex Wood and two others from the


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arson squad, including its newest fire-starter, Luis Avilán, were absolutely horrid, and the Dodgers headed into the ninth inning down three runs, 10-7.

Wood, though in part a victim of bad breaks and bad weather, allowed five runs, all earned, over five innings, raising his season ERA to an even 6.00. He was followed to the mound by Pedro Baez and Adam Liberatore who did well, getting through two scoreless innings, despite
allowing three base runners. But then it was time for the arson squad. First it was Chris Hatcher, who was charged with two earned runs while recording a single out, and then it was Avilán’s turn. On Saturday, before others quelled the storm, he had given up a hit to the only batter he faced, and on Sunday, he was even worse, facing four batters and allowing two hits, two walks, and two earned runs, again without retiring a single batter. For the record, his season ERA now stands at 40.50.

But, Joe Blanton got the one batter he faced to hit into a double play to end the inning, and the Dodgers headed into the top of the ninth down by that 10-7 score. And fate stepped in, to give the Dodgers a win, despite doing virtually everything wrong all day long. With the bases loaded and one out, Trayce Thompson hit a lazy grounder right at Rockies’ shortstop, power-hitting rookie Trevor Storey, about four feet from the second base bag –

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a sure game-ending, double play ball. And Storey bobbled it, and got only the out at second, with Thompson safe at first. The score was now 10-8, and the Dodger went on to score four more runs in an inning that should have been over, pulling out a gift-wrapped 12-10 win.

And so the Dodgers now have a 2-1/2 game lead
over both Colorado and the mysterious Diamondbacks, both bad teams playing over their heads to hold .500 records during the waning days of April. That lead may well be extended tonight, as each of these pretenders play far better teams, the NL Central Pirates and Cardinals, while the Dodgers welcome back to Los Angeles the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly, and his current charges, the underwhelming and underperforming – gee who could have imagined – Miami Marlins, currently sitting in fourth place in the NL East at 6-11.

Ross Stripling will be making his fourth attempt at his first major league win, while


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Marlins' starter lefty Wei-Yin Chen, a solid starter with the Orioles over the past four seasons, will be facing the Dodgers for only the second time in his career. On April 20, 2013, Chen pitched three-hit ball over six innings as the Orioles beat the Dodgers 6-1. The non-manager's new flock has lost all three of Chen's 2016 starts so far this young season.

The Dodgers will play tonight with a makeshift
lineup – yea, cannot let a lefty batter face a lefty starter, right? – with Adrian Gonzalez. Corey Seager, Chase Utley and Joc Pederson all starting the game on the bench, and with Yasmani Grandal getting the start at first base. On the further bad news front, Carl Crawford may be activated prior to the game, but there is good news, just seen as this story comes to a close: Luis Avilán and his 40.50 ERA have both been sent back to the minors.

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