Despite the Dodgers 3-0 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday they end a fantastic month of baseball with a record of 19-6 in July. Here are some highlights from an insanely fun month of baseball.
After breaking into the league as the NL Player of the Month, Yasiel Puig hit a skid in July. It's almost as if he wasn't going to be able to hit .400 in his rookie season or something.
Puig's drop in production was nowhere near as dramatic or disappointing as many would have you believe as he hit .287 with seven RBI, three home runs and 17 runs scored. The biggest issue was him swinging away at balls out of the zone, he struck out in 34 percent of his at bats, thats 31 times in 91 at bats.
Even with his struggles Puig commands your attention at all times, and he reminded us why with a huge walkoff blast in extra innings against the Reds.
Remember how Puig came up and Hanley got hot at the same time in June? Yeah, Hanley still has not cooled off one bit as he went 38-104 with 17 extra base hits, 17 RBI, 11 walks, and 21 strikeouts. Ramirez was hitless in just four starts in July and had multiple hits in 11 games.
The pitching was great this month too, but Clayton Kershaw stands far above the rest pitching 47 innings, giving up seven runs with 43 strikeouts and just two walks as he campaigns for his second Cy Young award.
When asked if he could identify one factor as to why the Dodgers were so successful this month, Don Mattingly said it was because he was able to put out a consistent lineup, "I have been able to put out a core group. With Puig, Hanley, Adrain (Gonzalez), Andre (Ethier), and A.J. (Ellis) too. A core five guys. Mark Ellis pretty much, too."
His core group enabled him to keep players in their position, "I think our defense has been able to get better with everybody in the right spot. You know were not playing Nick (Punto) all over the diamond, were not playing Schu(maker) everywhere all the time."
As important at the Punto-Schumaker-Hairston trio of utility men has been to the Dodgers this season they are the guys you want coming off the bench, not starting every night, and that has been something Mattingly was able to avoid the last month.
To start off August the Dodgers travel to Chicago, and will also be facing tough opponents in the Cardinals, Rays and Red Sox. The Rays were the only team in the MLB with a better record than the Dodgers in July, going 21-5.
Other important stories of note from the month include: the lights-out bullpen, Mark Ellis' clutch hits, Matt Kemp returns from the DL only to injure himself the same day, ex-Giant Brian Wilson will be added to the bullpen soon, and the Dodgers completing the journey from worst-to-first.