When Don Mattingly made all those now-famous comments about mental toughness and what it takes to compete in the major leagues, he was probably envisioning a Los Angeles Dodgers team a lot like this one.
Remember that day, May 22, when Mattingly said things like, "some guys are willing to go another level for that prize. They'll do whatever it takes to beat you"?
The Dodgers went to multiple levels to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-9 Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. They overcame a five-run deficit, rallying furiously throughout the game, and won for the fifth straight time and 22nd time in their past 27 games.
Just as they played like a last-place team for all those weeks, the Dodgers looked every bit a first-place squad Tuesday, cementing their position at the top of the NL West.
Adrian Gonzalez, the forgotten man in this Dodgers resurgence -- as well as the only consistent and healthy hitter all season -- hit a three-run home run off Darren Oliver in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers the lead for good. It wasn't just timely, it was impressive. ESPN Stats & Information calculated the distance of Gonzalez's home run at 430 feet.
If there's one final piece the Dodgers would like to add before the July 31 trade deadline, it's another reliever. Their newest bullpen arm, Carlos Marmol -- the ex-Chicago Cubs closer summoned Tuesday from Double-A Chattanooga -- didn't give them any reason to change their mindset after he gave up three runs and four hits, including a home run to Jose Reyes.
Chris Capuano continues to make a pretty decent argument that the Dodgers could use another starter, too, lasting only 4⅓ innings and giving up five runs. Capuano has started 12 times this season and given up five runs or more in five of them.
No matter what flaws are cropping up, the Dodgers are burying them in a flurry of runs. They have scored 33 runs in their past three games. It's coming from all over the place now. Mark Ellis drove in three runs Tuesday and Jerry Hairston Jr. homered.