Clinch Watch 2021 – Braves’ Rosario Hits For Cycle in Giants Loss – 9/19/2021
Nothing Lost, Nothing Gained…Kinda
The Dodgers leave the weekend series as they entered it – one game behind the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw went five innings with one earned run, eight strikeouts, and no walks. He threw 74 pitches. 52 of them were for strikes and sharp ones at that. His breaking balls fell off with movement, his fastballs hit in all the right locations. Any lingering doubts that Kershaw needs Austin Barnes behind the plate should be put to rest, as together he and Will Smith built an excellent game.
Not so great for the day? Reds starter Wade Miley, who gave up six earned runs against a hot Dodgers lineup in three innings on 64 pitches. Ouch.
Tony Gonsolin also had a little stumble out of the gate today. He came in for 2.1 innings and gave up three earned runs. The Catman still has good stuff, he just wasn’t locating it today.
One of those runs he gave up was a first pitch dinger to rookie call-up TJ Friedl, who in his three Major League at-bats is 2 for 3 with an OPS of 2.333. Not too shabby, TJ.
The story told round the baseball world, of course, is that of Mookie Betts and his quick and generous thinking to get Friedl his home run ball. Being a Tennessee-born gal myself, I can’t tell you how happy and proud I am to have Betts as a Dodger. And as a Dodger for life? Amazing.
As a side note, HP umpire Brian O’Nora, who left the field yesterday after feeling light-headed, remained out of the game today. Call-up John Bacon came in and called 2B. Without getting too hyperbolic, it takes a whole hell of a lot to keep an umpire off of the field. There’s a much longer conversation to have here about umpires and the pressures they have on them to go out for games even while hurting or sick because of a lack of easily accessible replacements, but that’s for another time and place. Glad O’Nora was able to get a day off today.
Dodgers improve to 96-54 and come within one game of the Giants yet again.
Giants Shutout by Braves
Yeah, yeah, the Giants lost, but even more amazing is that Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hit for a cycle ON FIVE PITCHES. FIVE. PITCHES. Unbelievable.
His double came first on an 0-1 count in the second inning. Then a first pitch triple later in the fifth – the hardest of the sequence to pick up for most players. He then turned around another first pitch in the seventh for a home run, leaving only the single left. And he got that single in the ninth, once more on the first pitch.
Here’s my amateur scouting report on Eddie Rosario: Bounce the first two pitches in the dirt about a foot in front of home plate then see how it goes.
Rosario is the second Brave to hit for the cycle this season behind 2020 NL MVP and all around good-guy Freddie Freeman. Padre Jake Cronenworth and Dodger Trae Turner have also hit for the cycle this year, though Trea was with the Nationals when he earned that feat.
The Braves scored three runs, all in the seventh inning. Two came against Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani to chase him from the game. The third came off of reliever Zack Littell. And yes, that would be Eddie Rosarios’s cycle homer.
Braves pitching was especially good, with starter Max Fried going seven scoreless with five strikeouts, three hits, and only one walk. Luke Jackson and Will Smith (the not-Dodger one) combined in relief for the shutout.
Giants move to 97-53, and as mentioned are only one game ahead of the Dodgers. The Braves improve to 77-70 and hold onto their NL East lead by the skin of their teeth.
Padres Swept by Cardinals
The Friars lost a three game series hard to the Cardinals this weekend – the very team that unseated them for the final NL wildcard slot. Riding on the same wave of frustration that came out of last night’s game (along with some Very Good Memes), Tatís Jr. absolutely botched an easy catch and tossed home when he should have gone for an out on a base.
Much digital ink has been spilled on the downfall of the Padres, but we Dodger fans should hope that they their junk drawer sorted. San Diego plays San Francisco six more times this season and we need them to be as big of a roadblock as possible. Not sure if that’s going to happen.
This game was particularly demoralizing. The Cardinal bats absolutely ran starter Jake Arrieta out of town. Though the first run was scored on that awful play by Tatís Jr. and therefore unearned, the other four were honestly accrued. Arrieta only completed a third of an inning before getting the hook and turning over the game to a beleaguered bullpen.
The Padres mounted an eighth inning three run rally. A throwing error from shortstop Edmundo Sosa allowed Tommy Pham to advance to third on his 2-RBI double. He was then able to score on a Hosmer groundout. The rally ended on an Adam Frazier flyout to center.
Between you, me, and the bees, Frazier has not exactly flourished in brown, but he has heated up over the past pair of weeks, hitting .407 in his last seven games. His rather lukewarm (for him) July/August seems to be over and none too soon for San Diego.
Padres fall to 76-73 and are tied with the Phillies at 3.5 games back from the wildcard spot. And while they might have the same record at the moment, their trajectories are going in very different directions.
Rockies Fail To Sweep, Head Back to Colorado
After taking the first two games of the series, the Rockies were shutout by the Nationals 3-0 in Washington D.C. It wasn’t exactly the routing that the Rockies handed out the previous night, but the Nats slowly chipped away at starter Jon Gray, tagging him for two runs in four innings. Reliever Ashton Goudeau also gave up a run in the sixth. Rockies offense couldn’t answer.
The Rockies head home to face the Dodger in Coors Field. And as I mentioned before, the Rockies are not going to be the easy marks that some folks believe them to be. If they were facing off at Dodger Stadium, maybe, but at home the Rockies have been significantly better than on the road.
The Dodgers have won eleven out of sixteen so far this year for a winning season record, true, but that also means they have lost five. With the Giants still just out of reach, every single win counts. The Dodgers have to take the Rockies as seriously as anybody else right now.
Let’s hope the Dodger bats are in feast mode going into the thin air.
Rockies move to 70-79 going into the off day tomorrow.
Diamondback Still A Team
Arizona lost a tight game to the Astros on two back-to-back Huston homers, one from Jose Siri and one from Chas McCormick. Both Siri and McCormick are rookie call ups this year and I gotta say, the more players from 2017 that disappear from the roster, the better. Yeah, quite a few of them have found refuge on other teams, but I’m ready to never hear some of their names ever again.
I’ll never forgive, but I’d gladly forget the whole lot of them if I could.
This was a rubber match between the teams and I gotta say I was hoping the D-backs would take the series. Not just because it feels right when certain orange teams lose, but because I wanted something good for the die-hard D-back fans.
Diamondbacks fall to 48-101. Still ahead of the Orange Birds, at least.