Between the compulsive crotch grabbing of one player, the extracurricular near-the-head hit-by-pitch antics of another, and the tripping-over-his-own-two-feet-falling-down-on-the-warning-track-for-no-apparent-reason boner of a play by a third, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves a wee bit dirty and in need of a bath. And the men from Southern California have seen fit to oblige.
With back-to-back 6-1 victories in Phoenix Monday and Tuesday, the Dodgers have humbled a Dbacks team much in need of such things, especially after the crap pulled by Ian Kennedy the last time the two teams met. And with the wins, Los Angeles has won six straight series, five of them at the expense of National League West rivals. They've won 14 of their last 17 games, and with a win tonight can reach the .500 level for the first time since being 13-13 on April 30.
L.A. banged out 17 hits in the opener -- including three courtesy of starting pitcher Zack Greinke, who's hitting a whopping .370 on the season -- winning comfortably behind Greinke's seven-inning, two-hit, shutout-ball performance.
Equally as impressive was the make-good debut of Ricky Nolasco, who also went seven strong while contributing with the bat, stroking a two-out RBI double to give his team a 1-0 lead in the second inning last night. Nolasco, acquired in a weekend trade with the Marlins, is from the San Bernardino County city of Rialto (see below), was supported by family and friends who made the trip to Arizona, and grew up a Dodger fan.
Other highlights from the first two games of the series include three hits and four RBIs from Adrian Gonzalez, three more base knocks by Yasiel Puig, and five hits in nine at bats from Andre Ethier. Ethier, by the way, has raised his average from .229 to .272 by hitting .368 in exactly one month's time.
While the series will be considered a success regardless of the outcome tonight, L.A. wants the sweep and the "take-that, Dbacks!" that comes along with it. Plus, of course, a win tonight puts them at 45-45 and a game and a half back of Arizona in the standings, with a chance to reach first place by the All-Star break, which begins Sunday night. It's a battle of left-handers, Hyun-Jin Ryu versus Ricky Skaggs at Chase Field at 6:40 p.m.
Dodger fans enjoy a good Giants-related laugh every so often, and I imagine this'll work for you. Here is "Did Brandon Belt have worst game ever?" by David Schoenfield at ESPN.com.
Also worth a chuckle is San Francisco's dredging up the recently-unemployed-for-good-reason Jeff Francouer, to play a bit of outfield at AT&T Park. Or attempt to. That's just so Giants.
An under-the-radar bullpen note from Ken Gunick: "Pitcher Shawn Tolleson, recovered from back surgery, threw a bullpen session Tuesday for manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. He hopes to return late this month." The team wasn't really expecting him to contribute in 2013, but this is good news, as Tolleson could be quite helpful down the stretch.
With Hanley Ramirez's hitting streak ending at 19 games last night, it was nice to hear Vin Scully mention the Los Angeles record holder, Willie Davis, who hit in 31 straight in 1969. Here's the piece I wrote at the old publication after his 2010 passing.
The 3-Dog is also the subject of the picture I chose for the Baseball Reliquary's Another Trip in Baseball's Time Machine: Photography at the Field of Dreams exhibit, on display now through August 31 at the Pasadena Central Library.
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And finally, below is a cool tribute to Rialto, posted on Nolasco's Twitter page.