It took a little longer that normal, but the Dodgers won their eighth straight game on Saturday night, defeating the Nationals 5-3.
With the game tied at three a piece, it entered a rain delay right after the start of the fifth inning. We had to wait about two hours, but the game finally resumed at about 7:20 p.m. PT. Mind you, it resumed about 12 hours prior to the NEXT game set to begin. Hope these guys get their sleep!
With the score tied at three, the Dodgers took the lead in the sixth inning. Will Smith got the rally started after getting hit by a pitch. Albert Pujols then reached base thanks to a fielders choice, putting runners at the corners. Gavin Lux struck out, bringing up AJ Pollock with two outs.
Pollock has been hot as of late, especially in this series. He hit a home run in the first two games of the series. He couldn’t deliver a homer in his third straight game, but he did deliver in the clutch for LA. Pollock used his legs to beat out an infield single, giving the Dodgers the 4-3 lead.
LA scored an insurance run in the ninth inning as Chris Taylor singled in Gavin Lux to give the Dodgers the 5-3 lead.
Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly, Phil Bickford, Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen all combined to throw five scoreless innings of relief. Things got a little interesting with Kelly in the sixth inning, as the bases were loaded with two outs. He struck out Gerardo Parra to end the frame.
Things got interesting for Jansen in the ninth. He allowed the first two runners to reach base, bringing the game-winning run to the plate with no outs. Jansen settled in and got back-to-back strikeouts, needing only one more out to win. He got Josh Bell to line out, securing the save and the victory.
“He slowed down a little bit as far as the delivery, I thought it was too quick the first couple of hitters,” manager Dave Roberts said following the game. “Ball was coming out really good. He came up big once again.
“At times, it gets quick on him. Even a guy that’s a perennial All-Star. For him to reset and recalibrate, he’s shown that numerous times this year.”
Meanwhile, way, way, waaaaaaaay back in the first portion of the game, Clayton Kershaw was on the mound. He worked quickly through the first three innings and had a very low pitch count. He ran into trouble in the fourth inning and was one strike away from escaping the inning with a scoreless frame. With two strikes, he threw one right down the middle to Yan Gomes, who made Kershaw pay with a three-run homer to tie the game at three.
Due to the rain delay, that would be it for Kershaw. In his four innings of work, he struck out three and issued one walk. He threw 54 pitches and could have gone deeper into the game had it not been for the delay. The rain delay kind of screwed the Dodgers big-time, considering Sunday is going to be a bullpen game. It looks like Edwin Uceta and David Price will see a bulk of the load, so hopefully they’re able to give the Dodgers some length.
Roberts said that it’s going to be an “all-hands on deck” kind of situation. Luckily though, it appears nobody that threw tonight will be unavailable on Sunday.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” he said. “We’ll make a move to bring Uceta tomorrow. He’ll be fresh and can go 75-80 pitches if need be. We have enough pitching.”
As of right now, the Dodgers are tied with the Giants for first place in the NL West. If San Francisco loses tonight, LA owns sole possession of first place.
WP: Brusdar Graterol (1-0) 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 SO
LP: Wander Suero (0-2) 1 1⁄3 IP, 1 R
SV: Kenley Jansen (21) 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 SO
HR: Yan Gomes (8)
The Dodgers will look to win their ninth consecutive game as they look for the four-game sweep against the Nationals. First pitch is at.... wait for it.... 8:05 a.m. PT. Set those alarms, Dodgers fans!