Troy Tulowitzki continued his amazing month, hitting two more home runs, both no doubters. He has 14 homers and 33 RBI in 17 games in September. In fact, Tulowitzki's 14 home runs have come in his last 15 games, tying a major league record for most home runs in a 15-game span. The others who have done it were Albert Belle in 1995 and Barry Bonds in 2001 (Bonds actually hit his 14 home runs in a 14-game stretch, but was kept in the park in game number 15.
Melvin Mora added four hits, including a grand slam off Jeff Weaver in the eighth inning to cap the scoring.
Lost in the shuffle was the fact that A.J. Ellis remained hot, collecting three hits for the second straight day. Ellis now has 10 hits in his last 14 at-bats, dating back to August 22. Ellis also walked once, and has reached base 14 times in his last 19 plate appearances.
Russ Mitchell hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning, his second.
The Core Needs To Improve
Before the game, Joe Torre gave his thoughts on what went wrong this season, and what the future might hold for the Dodgers. At the core of the matter was, well, the core of the team. Torre said:
"This has to get better in here, and they've proven they are better. The fact that we were in this race for half this year, and then all of a sudden we stopped scoring. I don't know the explanation for that because everybody was in a good frame of mind when we went to St. Louis. In that four-game stand there, we just got swallowed up. Once we started struggling, we started thinking about it too much.
"We had a good run over the last year and a half with the young players. Russell [Martin] of course missed a good portion of this year, [Andre] Ethier was on the DL, and Matt [Kemp] was out there all by himself and just hit a wall. To me, in Matt's case, he had all these things going for him last year, the great year he had offensively, the gold glove in center field, he started out this year real well. There's a period of adjustment that the other teams go through, that they have to adjust to you, and it's your job to adjust back. I think that's where he's stuck right now. I think he'll be fine, and Ethier will be fine. They just have to find a way to play this game mentally than they've played it this year. It's not unusual for inexperienced players to go through this.
"James [Loney] is another guy that's going to have to get better, and I think he will. At some point things start clicking. All the things they've heard, all of a sudden will start clicking, 'oh, that's what you meant.'"
Torre said one of the reasons he decided to step down as manager was to give the players a new voice. When the team was in Anaheim in June, Torre called a team meeting. "I was just trying to find a better way for it to work," he said, telling the players "I'm 70 years old, You're listening to my voice, try to talk to each other, you're the same age, just about.'" Torre added, "The big part of it was, as the year went on, and frustration set in, I just didn't feel I was making as much of an impact as I would like to.
"There's a lot of veteran presence, but in a lot of ways players feel that, unless they're producing or unless they've been here a long time they don't feel they have the right to talk. It isn't true, but that's the feeling." Torre said. He said Rafael Furcal was reluctant to speak up when he was on the disabled list earlier in the year, and that Garret Anderson didn't feel comfortable being a vocal leader when he was barely playing and being unproductive at that. "There were a number of people I felt had a presence in the clubhouse, but there wasn't a lot of conversation," Torre said.
"It's all about knowing how to prepare yourself. They've been told, but they still have to see it, and they still have to understand it. When you're a hitter you basically look in an area to hit. That's something they really haven't done. Ethier has, when he's been locked in," Torre said, "There's a lot more coming out of these guys that they're capable of giving."
Torre also mentioned he would likely visit Don Mattingly in Arizona this offseason when he is managing in the Arizona Fall League. Torre said he wouldn't be in the dugout, but would visit his friend and watch the games from the stands.
I have some postgame notes and quotes over on SB Nation Los Angeles.
Clayton Kershaw tries to avoid a sweep tomorrow, facing Jason Hammel.
WP - Jhoulys Chacin (9-9): 8 IP, 9 hits, 2 strikeouts
LP - John Ely (4-8): 4 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 6 runs, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts