The Dodger bullpen was in desperate need of rest on Sunday afternoon and that’s exactly what Ross Stripling gave them when he pitched 8 innings of one-run ball in the Dodgers’ 7-1 win over the Brewers. In addition to Stripling pitching well, the Dodgers were able to come up with clutch hits and put up 7 runs.
The bullpen has been taxed badly during this stretch of 17-straight games so Stripling’s job was to be effective deep into the game. I’d say he was pretty effective at doing that. In order to keep his pitch count down, Stripling didn’t go for the strikeout, recording only 3. Instead, he made Brewers hitters hit the ball right to his defenders.
Of course, Stripling’s performance would have been useless if the Dodgers’ offense hadn’t turned things around. Not only did they need to change the results, they needed to change their mentality at the plate and on the bases. Instead of swinging for the longball, they needed quality at bats and situational hitting. If they did this right, home runs would follow.
The Dodgers had an opportunity for this situational hitting in the first inning. The bases were loaded with two outs for Alex Verdugo. The Brewers had the shift on against Verdugo with 3 infielders on the right side. Verdugo, seeing this, was content to hit a ground ball past the shortstop position. With nobody there, the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers’ clutch hitting continued throughout the game. After Joc Pederson homered in the second inning, the Dodgers had another opportunity to score in the third.
With runners on the corners, Max Muncy hit a hard RBI single to left field, giving the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. Verdugo then made a productive out, hitting a ground ball in a place that the only play was to first, advancing the runners to second and third. This allowed Chris Taylor to knock a two-run single to the opposite field and the Dodgers took a 6-0 lead.
Clutch Is Key
Hopefully, I’ve already made my point that clutch hitting is the key to winning. Whenever the Dodgers looked for an opportunity to hit the other way, take an extra base, or advance runners, good things happened. When they don’t look to play unselfish baseball, they lose 6 games in a row. It’s just the way this sport works. Hopefully, they can keep up this mentality through the rest of the year.
The Cincinnati Reds will come to town on Monday night for a three-game series. Due to an off-season trade, the Reds are basically just former Dodgers with Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Kyle Farmer, and Alex Wood all coming from the Dodgers. José Peraza and Scott Schebler are former Dodgers as well.
The series will begin on Jackie Robinson day, where every player across baseball will wear #42 in honor of the legend. In addition to all the ceremonies to celebrate Robinson, Dodger fans will also be treated to seeing the return of our ace, Clayton Kershaw, as he faces off against Luis Castillo. The game will begin at 7:10 pm.