Dodger Bats (Led By Matt Kemp) Pound Pirates in Series Opener

Matt Kemp

I never thought I would see the day when the Dodgers would play an entire game void of anything to complain about. I didn’t think it was possible in this season, but gosh darnit the Dodgers certainly did that in Monday evening’s 17-1 whitewashing of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are pretty bad sure, but the Dodgers pounded out 21 hits and scored 17 runs. It was a great night for the Dodger bats. To make the night even more complete, nobody got hurt and the Dodgers picked up a game on the Dbacks and Giants. It was a great night for Los Angeles sports with Lebron James signing a massive contract with the Lakers and the Dodgers beating the crap out of the Pirates. I would say that’s a good night.

The star of the game was Matt Kemp. Bison rapped five hits in a 5 for 5 performance. He homered, doubled and drove in four of the seventeen runs. He now has eight hits in his last eight at-bats. Everyone else contributed too. Cody Bellinger had two hits, two runs batted in and scored three times. Yasmani Grandal had two hits and three walks. Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig both had three hits with Puig driving in four as well. Max Muncy, Joc  Pederson, Bellinger and Kemp hit home runs. The Dodgers were 9 for 21 with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers hammered opposing starter rookie Nick Kingham. The youngster had a really bad night. Kingham allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits over three innings. The Pittsburgh defense did them no favors as the Bucs committed three errors in the game.

The Dodgers scored two runs in the first and third, six runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and four in the sixth. The Pirates had two missed catch errors and a balk in the bottom of the first. One of them was quite comical on an errant throw back to the mound. Muncy reached on the first missed catch error. The balk call moved Muncy to third and scores him on a Bellinger infield single. Kemp singles Bellinger to third. Then a throw back to the mound from Diaz between pitches is dropped by Kingham. The ball rolls off and Bellinger comes into score.

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Dodgers 17 21 1

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The flood gates opened in the third. Bellinger homered, Kemp doubled of the wall and Grandal and Taylor walk. A puig force out grounder scores another run. In the bottom of the fourth the Dodgers got home runs from Muncy and Pederson to start the inning. Justin Turner doubled to left and then the Pirates make a pitching change. Tanner Anderson was making his MLB debut. Things did not go well or get any better for the Bucs. Kemp singled, Grandal doubled and Taylor’s broken bat single to center plated another run. Puig’s double scored two thanks to a misplay in center by Austin Meadows. Kemp’s three-run homer in the sixth gave him five hits on the night. Give him the game ball.

On the pitching side Alex Wood won his fourth consecutive game after turning in another quality outing. Entering the game he had posted a 2.58 ERA over his previous three starts. His only mistake was a home run to Elias Diaz in the second inning. Otherwise he was in control the entire night. Wood pitched six innings and allowed one run on six hits while striking out three. He walked none and made 92 pitches.

The game had Caleb Ferguson written all over it with a 16 run lead. Ferguson pitched the final three innings to earn a bizarre save. The record night gives the Dodgers a 45-39 record. The boys in blue are now just 1.5 games behind Arizona in the NL West. The Dodgers look to pick up more ground in the second game of the series. Ivan Nova will take the mound for the Bucs as the Dodgers counter with Clayton Kershaw.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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56 thoughts on “Dodger Bats (Led By Matt Kemp) Pound Pirates in Series Opener

  1. Nova is a very good pitcher. I’ve coveted him for a few seasons, now. However, if the bats can raise a little of the hell they raised in the first game, we could be in 1st place by the weekend. I was hoping we’d be on top last week, but we seemed to have been bogged down for some reason. This was a necessary explosion reminding me of the one that happened earlier in the season and the kind of tear the Dodgers went on last season. With a rebel yell I cry more, more, more!

    1. Jeff

      Right now Nova has an era that is 4 but I do know what you mean with him, because he doesn’t try to over throw, and that gets more moment on his pitches.

  2. Yep. It was a good night.

    21 hits and win by 16 won’t happen again but it’s fun when it does. Squirrels went nuts. Yeah, I said it.

    There was actually a Save in that game. That’s another thing that won’t happen again. A save in a 16 run victory? Don’t know I’ve ever seen that.

    There will be a few contenders looking for relief help this month, Arizona being one. And I sure hope them getting Machado is not true.

    It’s one game. We are still in second place. There are 5 teams in the NL with a better record than us.

    1. Badger

      I figured either the Pirates pitchers would get our bats well again, or we wouldn’t hit their starter at all, you just never know, if we haven’t seen a pitcher before.

      I hope the Dbacks don’t get Machado either, but the Orioles are not going to be as easy to deal with, as the Tigers were.

      I still wish we would have got JD Martinez, because the Dbacks didn’t give up that much for him.

      And he was the Dbacks best hitter in the second half of the season, and by a lot, as you already know.

      I thought last year, they didn’t have enough in their minor league system to get JD, but they did.

      Teams like the Pirates are the reason I don’t take some of the National’s player’s numbers that seriously, because they have had so many teams rebuilding in their division, although I know the Phillies and the Braves are better this year, but we didn’t have must trouble with either of those teams.

      And the Mets starters haven’t been healthy enough in the last few years either.

      We blew that Cubs series are we would have not had many teams ahead of us, for the wild card.

      This weekend is even going to be hot in Anaheim when we play the Angels.

      It is suppose to be 102, 105, on Friday and Saturday, and it will probably be hot on Sunday too.

      And that is not only the temp where I live, it is going to be that hot in Orange County.

      It looks like the last two months of the season, we have a harder schedule, but the rest of July before the Allstar Break, the schedule doesn’t look that bad, we play the Angels at Anaheim and later at Dodger Stadium, and play the Padres in between those two series with the Angels.

      1. Other teams are more willing to take the risks we just don’t take. We have won the Division 5 years running. A certain level of “we just don’t have to” exists in LA. I know from living down here that the dbacks are willing to do whatever it takes to get past the Dodgers. They don’t have near the money nor the fan support the Dodgers have – but they have the want to. I give them an A for effort. The Dodgers? Meh. C+. They do something every year but it hasn’t impressed since Manny. They will probably do something but it won’t be headline worthy. The snakes? I would not be be surprised to see them do it again and land Machado. Would it be enough? I doubt it.

        1. Badger

          That is my biggest issue with this front office.

          After this year, there is no excuse because of that luxury tax.

          I think JD Martinez is a better hitter then Machado, but I haven’t watched Machado play that much lately.

          The thing about Martinez is the fact he goes the other way with his power really well, as you probably know, so it makes it harder for pitchers to pitch to him.

          Not a lot of right hand hitters, do that well.

          If Puig could ever start taking his power the other way, like he used to do, he would really benefit from doing that.

          Because he tends to pull a lot of grounders right to the defense, to much.

  3. Fun game to watch if you were a Dodger fan. If I were a Pirate fan, I would have taken off my jersey if I wore one to Dodger Stadium last night. That was embarrassing. I was kind of hoping the Dodgers would get to the 20 run mark. It has been a while since they have done that. Everyone of Kemp’s at bats were things of beauty. Lost in the offensive explosion was the great catch Puig made against the wall in RF. Outstanding defensive play. And that throw he made to home to hold the runner at 3rd on a double was awesome. Only a couple of players have that kind of arm and accuracy. We all know the way this front office operates. Over the last 3 1/2 years they have not changed their MO much. Scour the waiver wire, keep the prospects, avoid the high priced free agents, sign low risk high reward free agents, take chances on retread injury prone pitchers. Avoid trading for impact players. Never admit you acquired a player who has been a total failure in a Dodger uniform…..hello Logan Forsythe…. Me, I would have made some kind of move the moment I knew I was losing Corey Seager for the year. But they continue to run Forsythe’s weak assed bat out there. There are a lot of differences between last years world series team and this bunch. Offensive inconsistency, a weaker defense, overworked bullpen and it just turned to July, a bench that was pretty solid. The power numbers are up, but most of those HR’s have come with empty bases. I would rather see them string together some singles and doubles in there. Last night they did. 21 hits and 6 walks. That was nice to see. But I do not expect FAZ to make a major trade at the deadline and I certainly do not expect Machado to be in Dodger blue. He will get traded, but I do not think that FAZ will pay what it would take to get Machado as a rental because he is not going to come cheap.

    1. What is different from Kemp and these other hitters, is the fact he changes his approach dependent on the different situations in a game.

      Turner does that too, but he is not back to his healthy self yet.

      I don’t know why more hitters, don’t choke up on their bats with two strikes, especially when runners are in scoring position.

      We are seeing a lot of solo HRs, because pitchers wouldn’t give hitters those pitches they are getting, when they are hitting solo HRs, when there are runners on base.

      1. MJ
        I sure hope the offense gives Kersh a little love tonight. He has had a tough go for sure. Matty is the man. You knew it all the time, didn’t you?

        1. Matt Kemp has been one thing his entire career, and that is a professional hitter. He has always been able to hit. His average suffered over the last few years because he was out of shape and still not fully recovered from his injury’s. Had Kemp not crashed into the wall and injured his shoulder in 2012, who knows how good he would have been. He was crushing the ball and hitting close to .350 when that happened. Well on his way to a 40-40 season. All his defensive woes started after that injury. He has reinvented himself. And the one thing I notice is the joy he has playing the game now. He is happy, he is a great team mate and influence on the bench. Give the man kudos. He recognized his short comings and did something about it.

        2. Package

          Where have you been?

          I think almost everyone here knew what Kemp could do.

          I was never worried when he went through that little slump, at all.

          I think Kershaw will pitch well tonight, but I don’t think Nova will be as easy to hit.

          I did remember that Ethier held the record for the most straight hits, which was ten.

          1. MJ
            I know everyone knew how good Kemp has been but you and I knew he could do it again and never once backed up from that thought. Well, he did it and I am very happy for his success and hope he is back next year. Badger says he earned his money and I believe him.

      2. It is that all or nothing philosophy that this generation has adopted. When I saw Joc slap a ball to left field to beat the shift a few games ago I thought maybe he is finally getting it. I would love to see Cody, Joc and Grandal do that more often, then the shift would go away. But as long as these guys continue to try to beat the unbeatable by pulling the ball, these exaggerated shifts will be with us.

  4. Interesting write up about Toles and Verdugo on the Think Blue Committee site. It is a dilemma for the front office no doubt. Either would be an upgrade to a very mediocre bench. Which at this point has one lefty hitter, Utley, and 2 non productive RH hitters, Barnes and Forsythe. Kike’s power numbers are good, and he has raised his average into the .230’s. There is a consensus that if either is traded it would most likely be Verdugo since he has more value and is more sought after than Toles. Each has their strengths. I would like to see the Dodgers add Toles speed to the roster. But at the sacrifice of what? That is the question facing the powers that be.

    1. I sure hope no one basing anything on that game last night.

      The Pirates is a team that is rebuilding, and they have a lot of young pitchers, that have not pitched that much, in the majors.

      Tonight of course Nova is different, but the Pirates are one of the worse teams in baseball, so what we did last night, should be expected.

      We didn’t do the same against the Cubs, or the Rockies, except in the last game against the Rockies, and we won that game against the Rockies bullpen.

      And there was a reason why Bud Black, stayed away from his bullpen, as long as he could.

      The only reason Verdugo is more sought after, is because he is two years younger, and still considered a prospect.

      But the season is far from over, we were doing fine last year, around the trade deadline, but that didn’t last.

      And that isn’t the first time that has happened.

  5. Think I’ll give commenting another try. That’s probably good news to a couple of people I have been pounding with emails… If I’m too chickensythe to take the heat here, I probably should keep my mouth shut anyway. Yes, I was kicked off here (but it was rescinded, I think) but before that if you look up my last post, I quit because a certain poster here who has a reputation for being nasty to people kept making me so angry I responded in a manner that embarrassed me to myself. I decided if I couldn’t control my temper with him, that I should quit posting. So I did. I’m sorry, I can’t ignore it when he insults a fellow poster here. We should always disagree in good taste, and in the future I will try to deal with him with humor and wit (He doesn’t have any of that) instead of profanity.

    1. Hey Jonah
      Glad to see y ou back. I have missed you and your comments here. We are in a tough season and i have had issues with a couple of people on the team. I will be curious to hear your thoughts. Again Welcome Back!!

  6. Let me state my position on FAZ. While I have never met him, my dislike for him is purely personal. My impression is that he thinks himself one heck of a lot smarter than events have clearly shown him to be. I agree with his intent to lower the payroll, every team in baseball should be with that program, get the salaries back into smaller numbers that the average fan can at least read… History, baseball history as well, shows us that no matter how good Player X is today, his performance is certainly going to degrade as he gets older, and someone better will be along. I would hope the lower salaries would translate into lower ticket and concession prices as well. Back to FAZ; As a GM (no matter what the title is) he is middle average, plus on Imagination, minus on talent evaluation. You want to see GMs that are in way over their heads, look at San Diego and Detroit. The Forsythe deal, the stinking Forsythe deal… I can’t criticize him on that trade, on past performance it should have worked out OK. But whoever picked up the option last year should be fired. Period. I suspect that was his Arab buddy, most definitely the weak link in a weak chain. They let the brains, Alex Anthopolous get away. They should have made him the GM. By the way, you know he was under a Dodger contract and Atlanta couldn’t even talk to him without FAZ’s permission; I wonder if they had to agree to the Kemp trade to get that permission? Of course it works out well for both teams anyway, so no matter….

    1. Jonah
      I don’t know how they got Kemp back but he is far and away a better player than AGon who I was very happy to see leave. Now if they would just dump dummy (Roberts)

      1. Package, I am in agreement with you about “Dummy”, although I call him “Toady”. He is a very poor manager who has cost us probably 10 games so far this year. I also think his wildly varying lineups and batting orders are a big factor in most players’ performance this year. Some would have us believe that most of those decisions originate with FAZ. I believe that too which is why I call him “Toady”. We don’t need a manager, just hire a secretary to post the necessary data on the team bulletin boards…

        1. Jonah
          Most here think Dummy or Toady is doing at least an OK job buy I think he is on a ego trip and just wants to make changes to make them. Either way he makes a bunch of bonehead moves and I wish he would be replaced at the end of the season or better yet NOW.

          1. First off, they are not going to replace a manager mid season coming off of a World Series run and two consecutive division championships no matter how much you might dislike him. I know you really hate the guy and that is understandable, but your position is moot. They do not look at Roberts that way. To them, he is the man they picked to run the team, and he runs it and designs his lineup pretty much the way they want him too. You and I can dislike it all we want, but the fact is that FAZ loves the guy and he will no doubt get a contract extension sometime after the season. You may as well learn to live with it because it is something that is not likely to happen.

          2. That is true and that is the main point from the beginning of the debate to the punctuation at the end of it. Roberts is the choice of “the keepers of the light” and until they decide otherwise we will keep getting more of the same. Hey, we came in 2nd out of 30 teams, which is our best finish in 30 years. That’s pretty good, right?How do we improve on that? I think we get better by getting just a few better players between now and the end of the year. We all have our favorites. Fullmer isn’t one of mine. deGrom could be. Barraclough could be. Machado is. But Hechavarria still works for me. We’ll do something, then the puppet in FAZikstan will make out the lineup and who knows, we finish higher than the 6 or 7 clubs that currently better than us.

          3. First Package, most everywhere think Roberts is an excellent manager. Here? I’d say some think he’s poor, some resort to insulting his mental acumen, and some enjoy him.

            To Badger’s fine point, Roberts over the last two years has been well, well above average. Borderline exceptional.

  7. I read Think Blue Planning Committee too Bear. Good writers there. Posting is sketchy. I agree that Verdugo would likely be the prospect of choice.

    I really don’t think over 162 games Roberts choices of who plays makes all that much difference. These players do what these players gonna do. He wrote the lineup last night. Will I give him credit for 17 runs of offense? Nope. Roberts is a better manager when Bellinger, Taylor and Turner are hitting, starting AND relief pitchers aren’t on the DL, Seager is actually on the field….. you get the point. FAZ? My position hasn’t changed – don’t like the model, but wish it well.

    I’ve always been a Kemp fan, even when his chase rate was insanely high, but I did not expect this. I hope he keeps it up – through October. I do worry about him. He busts his ass ….. and there is something about LA that makes players come apart. You just know somebody is next. I hope it isn’t him.

    Hey Jonah. You already know it so I don’t have to say it …. but I will anyway …. welcome back.

    1. I agree. Roberts pretty much manages the way the FO wants him too. He does not have a whole lot of imagination to my way of thinking and he is a much better manager when his players are healthy. Does not take a genius to pencil those guys names into the lineup every day. But when he is juggling the lineup due to injury’s and such, he is much less effective.

      1. Bear
        In your last post you said I would probably have to accept the fact that Roberts will be the manager and you are correct. There is nothing I can do about it but I do not have to like it. I can wish him gone just like I can wish for a WS win. It is just a little harder with him as manager.

        1. Well, that’s debatable. He did not lose the World Series for the Dodgers. That falls on the failure of their ace to protect a lead and lose a game they should have won easily and their # 1 deadline acquisition flaming out in both of his starts. You put your team in a 5-0 hole in game 7, you are going to lose. His worse decision and the one that draws the most ire was pulling Hill when he had the lead in game 2 early. The BP could not hold the lead and they lost. Instead of heading to Houston up 2-0, they went there tied, fell behind 2-1, and came home 2-3. Who lost those 2 games in Houston? Kershaw gave up 4 and 3 run leads and was gone very early. Darvish was bad from the beginning. in his start in game 3. Not liking it is your prerogative, but you need a better reason than thinking he is the reason they did not win the Series.

          1. Joe Maddon and Bruce Bochy for starters, as well as Mike Scoscia. Of course you won’t get these three on the cheap like FAZ has been. I am sure there are many more

    2. Badger

      Were you asking me if Verdugo was the one that will probably be traded, if you were, I didn’t get that.

      I wouldn’t mind if he was the one traded, but only if it is worth it.

      I think we need pitchers for our pen, more then anything else, and I don’t see us getting anything beyond that.

  8. Tonight’s lineup…Pederson, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger, Kemp, Grandal , Taylor, Hernandez, Kershaw…….Nightingale reporting that not only are the Dodgers actively pursuing Machado, they are also targeting Tiger starter Michael Fulmer. Main target of the O’s is Dustin May…..he would have to be included in a trade.

      1. As part of the Machado deal. Britton is so far supposedly healthy but not really pitching all that well.

        1. They can have him in a Machado deal. BR says the dbacks can get him for Pavin Smith and Taylor Widener. Smith hitting .230 in High A, Widener 4-4, 2.72 in AA. BR also says we should pick up Iglesias from Detroit. Wouldn’t cost much and though his offense ain’t all that his defense would anchor the up the point middle. He is similar to Hechavarria who maybe isn’t available.

    1. Bear
      These players are probably just more players that FAZ will let you think they are persuing when in reality they would never get them. We shall see.

  9. From https://www.mlb.com/news/trade-deadline-predictions-for-machado-hamels/c-283816686?tid=282421090 :
    5. Brian Dozier, Twins: Dozier has struggled with the bat early this season, mirroring the woes endured by his Twins teammates. Such underperformance has been a surprise for the second baseman, who posted a 122 OPS+ with 104 homers across the 2015-17 campaigns. Clubs will nonetheless be interested in the slugger, given that Dozier hasn’t lost much off his average exit velocity and has the skills to boost his .239 BABIP.

    Prediction: A second-half move to the Dodgers for a package of right-hander Dennis Santana (MLB.com’s No. 99 prospect) and shortstop/second baseman Gavin Lux (Los Angeles’ No. 12 prospect).

    I sure hope not. They should have done it two years ago. That “money” has been spent.. on Forshyte.

  10. Rosenthal @The Athletic writes:

    *If the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Machado to play shortstop, they almost certainly would need to trade an outfielder — probably center fielder Joc Pederson — to clear a spot for the displaced Chris Taylor.

    The Dodgers are deep in outfielders, … and for good measure, Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo are performing well at Triple A.

    PThe team’s greater need is pitching — one rival executive predicts the Dodgers will acquire controllable relievers and/or bargain relievers right at the deadline. But Machado is too big a potential upgrade to simply ignore.

    1. I like Taylor, but what does everyone think about his hitting?

      Because this is only his second year, and obviously, he isn’t having the same season.

      I am not sure, that is why I am asking.

      Where is Chris getting most of his War numbers from, I would assume his defense, and normally his base running, but he hasn’t been quite the same on the bases this year too.

      1. He’s obviously not hitting as well as last year, but many stats he had last year (BABIP springs to mind) were at levels that were totally not sustainable.

        Even at “reduced” levels he’s still quite, quite good. OPS+ at 114.

        1. Bluto

          Thanks I just wasn’t sure where he got his War, but I do know he has a good War number.

          I do think he is one of the better athletes on the team.

          And although he doesn’t have top numbers on defense for a shortstop, he has played steady defense at shortstop this year.

    2. Bluto,

      Would you give up Joc in a trade to get Machado? Do you think Taylor is a better player than Joc and would start Taylor over Joc when Seager returns? Just curious.

    1. He and Verdugo can’t be kept in the minors much longer. I tend to agree they are candidates to be traded for relief help

      1. I do think Verdugo is the more desirable one, because he is younger, and still considered a prospect.

        But Verdugo also hits lefties.

        And Joc and Puig don’t hit lefties, but Puig once did, but the last couple years, he has not been good at all, against lefties.

        And he has had plenty of chances to hit lefties in the last couple years.

        Joc not so much.

        I think I would play Joc against lefties a few times instead of Puig, to see what he could do, although I know he hasn’t had good numbers against lefties, in his career.

        1. MJ,

          I said earlier in the season that Taylor was one of our best hitters. It still holds true. He’s just behind Kemp in #’s and is climbing once again. He did get off to a slow start but I think he has shown everyone that last year was not a fluke. Goldschmidt got off to an horrendous start, now he’s hotter than my cast iron frying pan making some eggs over easy. Taylor hits well for cycle, too. Look at this stats for all hitting. His BB’s have shot up enormously compared to his SO’s. This guy is a player.

          1. Taylors OBP is almost 20 points lower than last year, his slugging and OPS is lower too. So which numbers is he just behind Kemp with. Kemp is hitting .319, with 15 home runs and 55 RBI’s. His OBP and OPS and Slugging are all significantly higher than Taylor. He has 20 less K’s than Taylor. The only stat that Taylor is better at is walks. His batting average is 30 points lower than last year and he is on pace to strikeout 180 times, far exceeding what he had last year. He has not advanced he has regressed some. Not nearly the same hitter he was last year.

      1. The front office?

        When the Dodgers take the step FAZ was brought here for, winning a championship, then I will join the “All Hail FAZ” club. Until then, it’s just another year of being better than the Padres.

        Unless of course FAZ was brought here to make the organization more valuable for sale – $3 billion and climbing (up 9% from last year, the largest gain of the top 10 teams).

        1. I think the Front Office’s job is to make the team competitive on a championship level for as long of a period as possible.

          Winning the WS is too reliant on randomness, chance and outside factors (lots of redundancy there.)

          1. Redundant can also be defined as 5 Division titles without a championship. Or in Kasten’s case, 19 Division titles with 1 Championship. A record like that isn’t easy to do.

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