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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Dodgers Finally Clinch: Dodgers 5, Rockies 0

After what seemed like a week and a half of failed attempts, listless offense and sagging starting pitching, the Dodgers finally came around and found an opponent they could beat. Oddly, it wasn't Rockies' starter Jorge De La Rosa, who wasn't super sharp the way Clayton Kershaw (mostly) was; De La Rosa got knocked out before the fourth started with a groin strain, but that was likely the best possible scenario for the Dodgers.

Like a magic spell snapping, the Rockies' replacement, the aging and inexplicably uniformed Jose Contreras came into the game. Dodging and weaving his own incompetence like a hack golfer (he gave up four hits and a walk in only three innings of work), he miraculously exited the game without any damage and the game still knotted in a scoreless tie. But the taste of offense seemed to awaken the Dodgers' bats, and demoted starter Franklin Morales proved to be the victim, responsible for all five Dodger runs. In that he was lucky, because Matt Belisle allowed two of his inherited baserunners to score (with two out, no less), and it could easily have been worse.

One oddity that didn't affect the game but is something you almost never see: in the second, Manny Ramirez flied out to center fielder Carlos Gonzalez. At least, that's the way it's written in the books, and the way the umpires ruled it. But as the replay showed us later, Gonzalez didn't have control of the ball immediately after the catch, the ball rolling out of his glove and behind his outstretched arm. He then made an impressive fake, pulling the ball off the grass with a flourish as if to say, "safe catch", and the umpire agreed. Since Casey Blake and James Loney struck out anyway, it's hard to say whether it would have mattered.

Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer was ejected in the third by home plate umpire Doug Eddings for arguing balls and strikes. Huh — Doug Eddings involved in yet another controversy. Imagine. (Outside of that, Clayton Kershaw struck out nine of the first eleven Rockies he saw, and ten overall. An excellent outing for young Clayton.)

The Dodgers also clinch home field advantage all the way through the NL playoffs. So, yay!

Break open the champagne, guys. You deserve it.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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