Sugar Ray Leonard had someone in his corner remind him when there was 30 seconds left in each round against Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987, and Leonard ended his rounds with a flurry that while not necessarily effective was visually impressive. That strategy helped Leonard win a fight he really had no business winning.
The Dodgers managed to turn a 12-16 month into nearly something of a high note, as they won four of their last five games and ended May the exact distance from first place as they were at the end of April, four and a half games. Perhaps they can frustrate the rest of the NL West into retirement and have them go make action movies in Italy, too.
Dodger Batter of May: The offense was down, but Matt Kemp did the heavy lifting, hitting .253/.327/.495 with seven of the club's 20 home runs during the month.
Dodger Pitcher of May:. Enough said.
May Record: 12-16
91 runs scored (3.25 per game)
100 runs allowed (3.57 per game)
.457 pythagorean winning percentage (13-15)
|May National League West Standings|
It was a big month for Arizona, who surged ahead in the division with a solid month, especially the final three weeks.
Season Record: 26-30
202 runs scored (3.61 per game)
229 runs allowed (4.09 per game)
.443 pythagorean winning percentage (25-31)
|National League West Standings Through May 31
Game of the Month: Clayton Kershaw's second career shutout, on May 29, was a great game in its own right, but the winner for best game of May was Friday night, May 20 in Chicago. The White Sox were one out away from beating the Dodgers, holding a 3-2 lead with Sergio Santos (no runs allowed in 20 inning before that game) facing Russ Mitchell. A 2-1 pitch was lined into the seats in left field to tie the game, followed by a three-run rally in the 10th, including run-scoring hits by Juan Castro, James Loney, and Jay Gibbons. The Dodgers then used three pitchers in the bottom of the 10th to close out the 6-4 win over Chicago.
Welcome Aboard: The Dodgers bullpen welcomed two new members in May. Javy Guerra, the Dodgers' fourth round pick in 2004, debuted on May 15, and picked up his first major league save on May 24. In that May 24 in Houston, Dodgers 2010 minor league pitcher of the year Rubby De La Rosa made his MLB debut with a scoreless inning. Rubby picked up his first win on May 27. In addition, Josh Lindblom earned three days of service time at the end of the month, but has yet to pitch in a big league game.
Strong Finish: May was looking like a dreadful offensive month for the Dodgers, as the team had scored just 68 runs in the first 25 games of the month, an average of 2.72 per contest. However, the Dodgers scored more than a quarter of their runs for the month in the final three days of May, outscoring their opponents in those three games 23-3. It was the first time the Dodgers had won three straight games by scoring seven or more runs since May 25-27, 2009, a sweep at Coors Field.
Quality Starts: The starting pitching, led by Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, was strong during May, with a collective 3.32 ERA. The Dodgers had 20 quality starts in 28 games, and they needed them. The team was just 11-9 in those games, and 1-7 when they didn't get a quality start.
Spreading The Saves Around: The Dodgers, who had five different pitchers collect saves last season, and who haven't had more than six pitchers record saves an any one season since 1991, had six different players record a save in a 23-day span during May. In fact, had Rubby De La Rosa not given up a run in the eighth inning on May 27, he would have been the seventh Dodger to pick up a save during May.
Pleading The Fifth: In the "Why would you ever pitch to Matt Kemp" file, Dodgers fifth place hitters during May hit just .196/.259/.262 with four doubles, one home run, and 12 RBI. The leading culprit was Juan Uribe, who had 61 of the 116 plate appearances batting fifth, with Jay Gibbons (16 PA), James Loney (16 PA), and Jerry Sands (10 PA) pitching in as well.
Pinch Hitting: For the month, Dodger pinch hitters had 5 hits in 32 at-bats, with a double and six walks, hitting .156/.289/.188.
Runners in Scoring Position: In May, the Dodgers hit .214/.317/.319 with runners in scoring position in 286 plate appearances.
They had a runner on third base with less than two outs 57 times, and got the runner home 22 times, or 38.6% (the entire NL scored 449 of 890, 50.4%).
They had a runner on second base with nobody out 41 times in May, and the runner advanced 23 times, or 56.1% (the entire NL advanced the runner 386 of 692 times, 55.8%).
Upcoming Month: After their final game with the Rockies, the Dodgers head out for a 10-game road trip to Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Colorado. Then the Dodgers return home for a 12-game homestand, including interleague series against the Tigers and Angels, before ending June with a three-game series in Minnesota. The Dodgers have 26 games scheduled in June, with 13 games apiece at home and on the road. The Dodgers have four of five Thursdays off during June.
Previous Month in Review: April
|De La Rosa||3||1-0||0/1||5.0||3||1||1||1||5||1.80||0.800||1.56|