What a difference a day makes. Or half a day.
After a rainout Tuesday, the long-anticipated Los Angeles-New York interleague series finally materialized yesterday. And it wasn't long before the Dodgers looked like they hadn't appeared at a place called Yankee Stadium — or even touched a baseball — since their Bronx triumph in the 1981 World Series.
Skip Schumaker booted a routine grounder in the first inning, committed another error in the third, and Ronald Belisario fell all over himself with a game-ruining two-error interpretation of a looper hit right to him in the seventh; a little something aptly tabbed “the most Dodger play ever” by Mike Petriello.
Despite a strong starting performance by Hyun-Jin Ryu, two more hits from Yasiel Puig and a four-for-four day courtesy of Hanley Ramirez, the Yanks took the first game of the day-night doubleheader, 6-4, dropping the Dodgers a season-low 11 games under .500 and eight games out. Fan depression reached new depths on Twitter and all over the Southland, with cries of “fire everyone!” and “somebody please hold me!” common. I used the three-hour break between games to head to the store for a refill on aspirin and to crawl into the fetal position for a nap.
Whatever it was the Dodgers did with their three hours, it worked and worked fast. Los Angeles strung five singles together for two runs off Phil Hughes to open the second game, added another on back-to-back doubles by Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier in the third, and Chris Capuano spun six fine innings, allowing only three singles, with no walks while fanning four.
L.A. made it 5-0 on a Ramirez single and a Jerry Hairston, Jr. sacrifice fly in the fifth, Puig homered in seventh, rookie Chris Withrow looked great in two innings of relief, and Brandon League finished with a scoreless ninth. Split a doubleheader and the result is one up-one down, but it sure feels better when you win the second game, and it must've made the Dodgers' long flight to San Diego much more enjoyable than it would have been the other way around.
The angst on social media during the morning was replaced with a celebratory feeling throughout the one-sided nightcap, made all the more special with Vin Scully taking over the Dodgers' Twitter feed during the game. And it gave everyone a chance to reflect on the whole Dodgers-Yankee-old-World-Series-rivals thing.
Friends were direct messaging and emailing me all night long with their childhood memories, and a couple of them added photos from the stadium. Think Blue L.A. blogger Ron Cervanka, who made the trip east, sends along this picture of a cap being sold at Yankee Stadium souvenir stands during the series. Below Ron's is a right field bleacher seat view sent by lifelong friend David Miller-Engel, of Huntington Station, New York, and below David's is Natalie Firestone posing with “a random Ryu fan who had his jersey from the Korean League.”
Dodgers' photographer Jon SooHoo gets great slice-of-life shots as a matter of course. Here he captures Clayton Kershaw clowning around during the Tuesday rain delay, Andre Ethier with a Dodgers official and Puig with a Yankees' mannequin in succession below.
Puig was the center of attention while in New York and didn't disappoint either on the field or off. He went 4-9 in the doubleheader, with a leg-double, a homer and four runs scored. The Dodgers' phenom also made a stop at the MLB Fan Cave Tuesday. That's him with L.A. cave dweller Aaron Roberts below. A story about Roberts is scheduled for next week, by the way.
Busy with his television duties and unable to attend the festivities, former big league closer Dan Plesac contributes this self-portrait from the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. Evidence the long legs (Plesac's 6' 5″) and athletic calves, with Capuano on the tube beside him.
The Dodgers open a four-game series with the Padres at Petco Park tonight at 7:10 p.m., with Stephen Fife and Jason Marquis the probables. It's Kershaw versus Clayton Richard Friday at 7:10 p.m., Zack Greinke in the fight-club game opposite Edinson Volquez Saturday at 4:15 p.m. and “undecided” against Andrew Cashner Sunday at 1:10 p.m.