December 18, 2014

Dodgers Bench Comes Through in Victory

So who says the Dodgers have no bench?  The veterans who normally sit on the pine came through for Joe Torre and helped LA avoid the sweep by the Pirates today.  Ronnie Belliard was the hero, going three for five with four RBI, including a double, a triple and a home run…a nice birthday present for Belliard, who turned 35 yesterday.  Not to be out done, Garret Anderson was one for three with two RBI and Reed Johnson was three for four in place of Manny Ramirez.  Overall, the Dodgers bench players of Johnson, Belliard, Anderson, Carroll and Ausmus hit .428 today (nine for 21).  Pretty amazing stuff.

The Dodgers also managed to hit in the clutch today, going seven for 12 with runners in scoring position (RISP).  Bench players (Belliard, Carroll and Anderson) were four for four with RISP.  Great stuff, and a great spark for the Dodgers as they head down to Miami to take on the Florida Marlins tomorrow night.

As for the pitching, Chad Billingsley looked a little shaky despite recording seven strikeouts in five and 1/3 innings and needed some great defense to extricate himself out of a few jams.  The guy is so intense, it makes you wonder if he’s overthinking each situation.  It’s also worth noting that Bills hasn’t recorded an out in the seventh inning since July 5, 2009.  He probably could have gotten there today, but Torre did the right thing by pulling the pitcher for Weaver.  Better to keep his confidence high and get him out of there with a win, especially after what happened during the first two games of the series.

The bullpen of Weaver, Troncoso, Monasterios and Broxton locked it down, giving up just three hits and one earned run over three and 2/3 innings.  Great to see Ramon Troncoso back in action after the birth of his daughter, pitching a perfect seventh inning, using only 10 pitches, with six of them being strikes.

One last note: Andre Ethier rolled his ankle in last night’s game while getting back to first on a pick-off throw.  Dylan Hernandez noted that Ethier had x-rays later that night, which were negative.  His status is uncertain for Friday’s game against the Marlins, but I’d expect Torre to hold him out given how well GA played today.

Oh, and I loved this photo by Jon SooHoo of James Loney diving back to first base, so had to include it for everyone to see.  So cool. 

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010