Wednesday Night the Dodgers’ new starter, Yu Darvish, made his debut at Dodger Stadium wearing Dodger Blue. In his first two starts — August 4 in New York against the Mets and August 10 in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks — Darvish struck out ten in each game. Last night he managed only two, but that didn’t keep the Dodgers from a win.
Darvish had a 124-game streak of at least three strikeouts going, the longest by any pitcher starting his career.
The Dodgers had a two-game series with the Chicago White Sox, winning both games. Neither one was easy, as the scores might suggest. In Tuesday’s game it was a five-run 8th inning that broke a tie and gave Los Angeles the win. Chicago starter Miguel Gonzalez only gave up one run in six innings, but in the 8th Joc Pederson was hit in the leg with a pitch by Jake Petricka — with the bases loaded — and the winning run, Yasmani Grandal, walked in to score.
The Dodgers then went around the batting order with Austin Barnes and Corey Seager each getting two-run singles.
Alex Wood started for Los Angeles, but Tim Anderson hit a homerun with the first pitch of the game to give Chicago a lead they would hold for five innings. Wood didn’t get the decision and his record remains at 14-1.
The win on Tuesday put the Dodgers 50 games above 500, the first time they have done that in 64 years.
August 16 is notable for a few things in history — Elvis Presley died on that date in 1977 — but it is also Yu Darvish’s birthday; he is 31. So it was a very special night for the new Dodger when he took the mound at Chavez Ravine. It didn’t start out great for Darvish though. He gave up a leadoff home run to Leury Garcia. He would give up two more solo home runs, in the 4th to Nicky Delmonico and then the 6th to Jose Abreu, before he left the game. The score was 3-2 at the end of the 6th inning.
In the bottom of the second Chicago starter Carlos Rodon gave up a double to Logan Forsythe who moved to third when Austin Barnes grounded out. Rodon threw a wild pitch that allowed Forsythe to score. Kiké Hernandez led of the 4th inning with a home run to tie the game.
It was in the bottom of the 9th when the Dodgers took over the game. They were down 4-2, with one out when Cody Bellinger singled and then scored on a double by Forsythe. Barnes got on base with a single and then Yasiel Puig doubled to center, scoring both Forsythe and Barnes.
The final score was 5-2. Once again the Dodgers came from behind to win their 85th game of the season. Since the All-Star break they have gone 24-5, an impressive .827 winning percentage. They are, without question, the best team in baseball right now — and their ace starter, Clayton Kershaw, is out with a sore back. The Dodgers are firing on all cylinders and if it continues through to the end of the season at this pace they could end up with 120 wins in the season — and be the only team to do it in history. The 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners got 116 wins. The Cubs lost the World Series that year and the Mariners lost in the ALCS in 2001.
The Dodgers are on an historic pace to a possible historic season. Dodgers fans everywhere are watching every game, holding their breath with every pitch.
There are 43 more games in the season. The Dodgers will be in Detroit, MI Friday to start a three-game series and then they will head to Pittsburgh, PA for a three-game stand with the Pirates. Then it’s back to Dodger Stadium August 25 to face the Milwaukee Brewers, who are 1.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division. Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood and Yu Darvish are scheduled to start for the Dodgers in that series.
Unless the Brewers change the rotation before then, the Dodgers will face young pitcher Brandon Woodruff, who is 1-1 with an ERA of 1.50, Chase Anderson who is 6-2 with a 2.39 ERA and Zach Davies who is 14-6 with a 4.26 ERA.
In related news: The Dodgers traded right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher to the Oakland Athletics for international amateur signing bonus pool space so they could reinstate infielder/outfielder Rob Segedin from the 60-day disabled list.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
Top photo: Yu Darvish on the mound at Dodger Stadium
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