LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers' best hope of digging their way out of this mess is to re-establish their pitching depth and let it churn its way through the schedule for a while.
Tuesday night felt like one of those days when you could feel the plan turning to action. No. 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu dominated the Los Angeles Angels, allowing just two hits over nine innings, in a 3-0 Dodgers win.
Ryu had everything working. He had good pop on his pitches, striking out Mike Trout on a 93-mph fastball that grazed the outside edge of the strike zone, and good deception, striking out Howie Kendrick on a 79-mph changeup.
The question you always ask in the Dodgers’ situation is: Are things just bad or are they hopeless? With Ryu pitching this consistently, Clayton Kershaw doing his thing and Zack Greinke just beginning to get his feet under him after a month-long injury, it seems unlikely this season falls in the latter category yet.
Ryu has been better than most scouts would have guessed. He has been better, frankly, than the Dodgers probably would have guessed. Ryu has gotten through at least six innings in 10 of his 11 starts.
The Dodgers didn’t scrounge up much offense against former teammate Joe Blanton, but they saw some promising signs from two badly slumping hitters. Luis Cruz came into the game batting .105 and in imminent danger of losing his roster spot when Hanley Ramirez comes off the disabled list next week.
Cruz said he felt something click in the batting cage recently, and Tuesday we finally saw a result. Cruz had his first extra-base hit of the season, a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Matt Kemp, struggling so badly he slid to the No. 5 spot for the first time in three years, doubled and scored to add a run in the sixth.