Braves' Grand Slam Too Much for Dodgers to Overcome

Van Slyke hits two home runs in Dodgers’ losing effort Friday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 17: Justin Upton #8 of the Atlanta Braves rounds the bases after hitting a sixth-inning grand slam against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field on May 17, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

    Justin Upton’s sixth-inning grand slam is burned into the minds of Dodgers fans.

    An absolute, no-doubt jack that displays just how much power the league’s home-run leader is packing. It has been on replay in my mind since yesterday, when the Atlanta Braves beat the Dodgers 8-5.

    It was amazing as much as it was horrific.

    Things started off in the Dodgers’ favor on Friday. But with Hyun-jin Ryu’s command issues, Gonzalez and Kemp combining to go 0-9, and questionable defense the Dodgers could not get the win.

    Just as I praised Hyun-jin Ryu for his pitch command during his last start, he comes into Atlanta and gives up five walks. He threw 100 pitches on Friday, with a whopping 44 of them missing the plate.

    Ryu did manage to get out of some sticky situations, but he left the game in the fifth inning, leaving the Dodgers bullpen with four innings of relief.

    The loss will mostly be pinned on the bullpen, but in the sixth inning some questionable fielding gave the Braves too many opportunities to score.

    Matt Guerrier struck out B.J. Upton, before giving up a bloop, fly ball to shallow, left-center that fell in for a hit to Jordan Schafer. Kemp and Crawford both took a poor path to the ball, but it should have been caught.

    Andrelton Simmons then hit a line drive straight at third baseman Luis Cruz. The ball hit Cruz in the glove but he could not hold on to it, leaving runners on first and second when both could have been outs.

    Paco Rodriguez replaced Guerrier and he walked Jason Heyward to load the bases before giving up a monster grand slam to Justin Upton, his major-league-leading 14th homer this year.

    The mind of a young pitcher can easily get messed with after a home run of this magnitude, but hopefully Paco Rodriguez has the resolve to brush it off and maintain the great relief pitching he has shown this year.

    If it weren’t for Scott Van Slyke, the Dodgers would have been blown out on Friday.

    His two solo home runs kept the Dodgers in the game and proved why he was a valuable call-up.

    Van Slyke usually does not start, so it will be exciting to see him pinch-hit rather than Skip Schumaker or Luis Cruz for a while.

    Matt Kemp went 0-5, breaking his 14-game hitting streak. The streak raised his batting average 22 points but he only had three extra base hits and struck out 16 times during it.

    On Saturday, Chris Capuano takes the mound looking for his second win of the season.
     

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