LOS ANGELES -- Friday night saw an unusual power display at Dodger Stadium, as the Dodgers unloaded on the Padres in a 9-2 victory. The team had five doubles and three home runs, the first time they have had eight extra-base hits in a home game since Aug. 4, 2009.
"The ball was carrying decently tonight.," manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "Most of the time at night you're not going to get that carry, but on a warm night tonight the ball carried good."
The Dodgers have hit three home runs in a home game twice this season, both against the Padres. June 4 was the other game, in which Yasiel Puig hit a pair in his second major league game.
Three months later, Puig is still hitting, though on Friday he did so with three singles, a double and two stolen bases. His 4-for-5 game came with great timing, his first game since getting removed for disciplinary reasons on Wednesday. Though as Mattingly noted, Wednesday's game was put behind the team almost immediately.
"It's a situation that has been handled. It's over. We're moving on," Mattingly said. "He got us going early, and then the guys kept swinging the bat. He was good tonight, real good."
For Ellis it was his seventh home run of the season, but his first at home. The timing was rich, because I tweeted this before the game.
I saw Ellis in the dugout prior to Friday's game and he said, "I saw your Stults tweet. You're killing me."
It should be noted that Ellis had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, as he is seemingly always in a good mood and often self deprecating.
"Obviously [the ball was carrying]. I hit a home run. That means the ball is flying," Ellis said after the game. "When it's warm here at the stadium, the ball seems to carry."
Ellis had every right to go full Brandon Phillips on me after the game, calling me "a fat motherf**ker." After all, I am a fat motherf**ker.
But he didn't.
At his locker Ellis looked at me and had a wry smile on his face, and told me he saw my apology tweet (after his home run). I joked that I half expected him to point up to the press box after hitting the home run.
"Like that guy from The Sandlot," Ellis said.
I told Ellis that would make him Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, and he said that would make me Smalls (which makes sense; after all, he did say earlier, "You're killing me.").
"We just need to get you a floppy hat," he joked.
Did I mention the Dodgers will be showing "The Sandlot" on the HD video screens after Sunday's game? What timing.
In fairness to Ellis, he is hitting .266/.359/.414 on the road, and his .344 wOBA away from home is 10th among MLB catchers. He has as many home runs on the road (six) as Joe Mauer. And it's not like Ellis is alone in hitting better on the road.
As a team the Dodgers are hitting .257/.313/.380 and averaging 3.52 runs per game at home, and hitting .273/.342/.409 and scoring 4.64 runs per game on the road. What makes Dodger Stadium such a tough place to hit?
"You talk about the marine layer and all these factors, it's just one of those places where it's a little more challenging to hit here," Ellis said. "It's a fair stadium; when you get it, you get it. There are no cheapies here.
"I've never heard a pitcher say they hate pitching here. Everybody loves the visual, they love being out on the mound. Guys talk about how high they feel out there on the mound, and the closer they feel to home plate, and that's a good combination for feeling pretty confident out there. You tend to see some strong pitching here."