Before the All-Star Break, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters, "It's a fear for all managers to come out of that break and it takes you five games to get going." Looks like the fear of the team cooling off was unwarranted as they swept past the Washington Nationals in a three-game series.
It was not an easy task as the Dodgers won the first two of the series with game-winning runs in the final inning. Sunday's game was a different story, a 9-2 route that was practically put away by the third inning.
Clayton Kershaw was given the most runs of support in a start so far this season, and pitched seven innings giving up two runs on two hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. Jayson Werth, an ex-Dodger, hit two solo home runs, so Kershaw pretty much threw a no-hitter against the rest of the team.
How good Kershaw has been this season is emphasized when his ERA goes up after a two-run performance. He is now 9-6 with the best ERA in baseball, 2.01.
Also notable was that Sunday was the first game this season the Dodgers had Carl Crawford, Ander Ethier and Matt Kemp starting together in the outfield. But of course that is just too great of a thing for the universe to allow to happen.
In the ninth inning Matt Kemp sprained his ankle as he awkwardly landed on home plate in a ridiculous, frustrating play. The extent of the injury has not been announced yet.
Kemp was playing well too, going 3-4 with a home run, double, single, walk and three RBI. Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Mark Ellis all had multiple hits in the game as well.
In the second inning the Dodgers went off for seven runs, starting with Kemp's home run, RBI from Kershaw and Crawford, and punctuated with another monstrous jack from Hanley Ramirez for three runs. Ramirez is now 26-63 in July with 13 RBI and 12 extra-base hits.
The 9-2 win completes the sweep against the Nationals, keeping the Dodgers 0.5 game back of the Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West. With 20 wins in 25 games they now head to Toronto to face the struggling Blue Jays.
Tweets From #Dodgers Nation
Dodger fans aren't used to games that start before noon, that's for sure
— Lia Curiouser (@CuriouserLia) July 21, 2013
Proof playing Fantasy Baseball is never actually fun
— Jeanette (@JeanetteC28) July 21, 2013
Quick, JT! Go back to sleep, you don't want to see what happens to Matt Kemp next!
— J.T. Dutch™ (@JTDutch) July 21, 2013