LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers have spent a lot of the 12 months profiling as one of many biggest groups within the sport, with a powerful run differential, unmatched depth and a wealth of star expertise. Nevertheless it by no means actually got here collectively for them — till, maybe, proper now, in a very powerful juncture of their season.
The Dodgers beat the division-rival Colorado Rockies for the second straight evening on Tuesday, driving the walk-off residence run of utility infielder Chris Taylor to seize a Three-2 victory in 10 innings.
It pushed the Dodgers 1½ video games forward of the Rockies for first place within the Nationwide League West and gave L.A. six wins over the previous seven video games, with three of them coming in opposition to a St. Louis Cardinals workforce that is also within the thick of playoff competition.
Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts believes his workforce is taking part in “our greatest baseball” because the common season reaches its penultimate week.
“It is probably not going out on a limb,” Roberts stated. “We have been type of inconsistent all 12 months lengthy, however issues are coming collectively on the proper time.”
The center recreation of a three-game sequence offered an encouraging snapshot. Taylor, a catalyst for final season’s World Sequence workforce, has shortened his swing and produced 11 hits in his previous 29 at-bats. Two innings earlier than Taylor’s first profession walk-off homer, Kenta Maeda struck out the aspect on solely 10 pitches, a sign that he is perhaps rounding again into the person who dominated out of the bullpen final October.
“We’re betting on it,” Roberts stated.
Maeda, Kenley Jansen, Scott Alexander and Dylan Floro — 4 members of a bullpen that represents the Dodgers’ biggest weak point — mixed to retire 9 of the 10 Rockies batters they confronted, six of them through strikeout.
Jansen allowed a bloop single to start out the ninth, however he struck out Chris Iannetta, retired David Dahl on an infield popup and bought Ryan McMahon to hit a broken-bat floor out to second base. Jansen later stated that he feels “very shut” to resembling the dominant nearer who turned a reputable Cy Younger candidate final season.
“I really feel actually good, and it is on the proper time,” Jansen stated. “I simply should hold going.”
In some ways, Jansen’s season has mirrored that of the Dodgers as an entire. He struggled mightily by April, throughout which period his workforce completed with a 12-16 report. When he bought proper, the Dodgers adopted. When he missed time due to an irregular heartbeat, the Dodgers pale. The Dodgers are taking part in good baseball once more, and Jansen seems like he is proper there with them.
“The factor I like about this 12 months is that nothing is simple for us,” stated Jansen, alluding to a 2017 Dodgers workforce that principally had the division wrapped up by the tip of July. “We will actually should earn it to get there this 12 months. I like our possibilities if we get to the playoffs, as a result of all the things we bought, we have needed to earn.”
Clayton Kershaw famous the other ways his Dodgers have gained video games these days. On Friday, they rode a dominant begin by Walker Buehler, the 24-year-old right-hander who has seemingly advanced right into a reputable co-ace. On Saturday and Monday, their offense carried them, amassing 25 runs on 27 hits, eight of which went over the fence. On Tuesday, it was, of all issues, the bullpen.
“It is a good signal when all issues begin clicking like that,” stated Kershaw, who labored round 5 walks to permit just one earned run in seven innings.
The primary seven instances the Dodgers entered a recreation with sole possession of the division lead this season, they misplaced.
On Tuesday, the eighth time, they lastly gained.
“We’re taking part in good baseball,” stated third baseman Justin Turner, who saved a run with a diving cease to finish the seventh inning. “I feel all of us like the best way we’re going about it proper now.”