SAN DIEGO -- Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 42-8 run and they were at the place where it all began, Petco Park.
So far, they haven't staged anything all that spectacular this June, but there are certainly signs of forward progress. After Sunday’s 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres, the Dodgers have gone 11-5 since the night manager Don Mattingly said he was tired of answering questions about his team and said it was “basically s-----.”
How it happened: Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-3) was solid again, but it was another tense win for the Dodgers as they had to get some key outs from their often-shaky bullpen. The Dodgers’ hitters couldn’t do much against Eric Stults, a pitcher who has allowed more earned runs than all but three National League pitchers. But this time the bullpen held on, with J.P. Howell, their most reliable reliever, getting four outs. Kenley Jansen pitched in a third straight game for the first time all year and struck out the side in just 13 pitches.
Hits: Ryu hasn’t been the Dodgers’ best starting pitcher this season. He has been their fourth-best starting pitcher. But on this staff, that’s actually a compliment. Ryu has been as consistent as virtually any pitcher around since an up-and-down first month. He cruised through three perfect innings, then navigated some trouble in the middle innings to give the Dodgers six strong innings again, allowing only a run on four hits. Ryu is 6-1 since the beginning of May.
Misses: When the Dodgers got on a roll last year, it was due in large part to hot hitting from Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, but it became contagious for nearly two months. While the Dodgers have seen signs of offensive depth -- Ramirez and Matt Kemp have been the most consistent run producers lately -- they haven’t had great offensive continuity night after night. Their pitchers still walk a tightrope most games. The Dodgers have scored four runs or fewer in seven of their past 11 games. After taking a called third strike in the eighth inning, Ramirez slammed his bat to the ground in disgust and shattered it.
Stat of the game: Right before Chris Denorfia scored the Padres’ first run in the sixth inning, Ryu’s ERA slipped below 3.00. For that one inning, four of the Dodgers’ five starting pitchers had ERA’s under 3.00. The National League could take four Dodgers starters for the All-Star game and nobody would raise too big a fuss.
Up next: The Dodgers are off to Kansas City for their second interleague road series, having swept the Minnesota Twins in their first. On Monday night, Zack Greinke (9-3, 2.57 ERA) will take on the team that drafted him, while the Dodgers face Jeremy Guthrie (4-6, 3.86) in a game that begins at 5:10 p.m. PT.