A successful season can depend on good chemistry in the clubhouse, or even a disruptive one. And maybe a little bit of the weird and wacky stuff that the Los Angeles Dodgers have experienced lately.
First it was the lights going out at Wrigley Field in a game last week. Then it was a walk-off balk in Monday night’s win over Arizona.
The Dodgers will take wins any way they can get them.
In last Wednesday’s game in Chicago, a bank of lights behind home plate went out in the top of the fourth inning, just as the Dodgers Blake DeWitt was facing a 3-1 pitch from Tom Gorzelanny. The pitch was called a ball for a walk.
But as DeWitt ran down the line, the rest of the lights went dark. An electrical fire in the neighborhood caused the power outage. The game was delayed for 18 minutes before power was restored.
“I had never seen that before,” DeWitt said. “It was about mid-pitch. It’s not a real good feeling either, because I completely took my eye off the ball and the pitcher. I saw that flash and the lights flickered. I didn’t know what it was at the time. It was pretty odd.”
Dodgers manager Joe Torre experienced something similar during his playing career.
“I got in the batter’s box one time in Montreal and as the pitcher was winding up the lights went out,” Torre said. “I was diving for cover. I had a hotel room on the 13th floor on that trip too, so it was a little frightening.”
Whether the delay helped our not, the Dodgers went on to win 8-5, with starter Chad Billingsley picking up his fourth straight victory. Casey Blake homered and had two RBIs, while James Loney missed hitting for the cylcle by a homer.
Los Angeles lost the series finale at Chicago 1-0, but won two of three at Colorado before Monday night’s 1-0 win over Arizona at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers finished the month of May with a 20-8 record, improving to 29-22, two games behind San Diego in the NL West. It was the Dodgers best May since going 21-7 in 1962.
Monday’s game provided another strange situation.
Diamondbacks reliever Esmerling Vasquez balked, allowing Blake to score the winning run.
“I just took a couple of steps to see if I could startle him a little bit,” Blake said. “Most of the time, it doesn’t work. But sometimes it does.”
Blake threw Vasquez’s motion off by faking a run home.
“I saw what he did,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. “He flinched, both his legs buckled, and he balked. It was pretty plain and simple to see, so I didn’t talk to anybody.”
Billingsley got the start in Monday’s game, which was won by Jonathan Broxton. After giving up a career-high 10 hits in last week’s win over the Cubs, Billingsley struck out a season-high 11 Arizona batters on Monday.
Billingsley had a shaky start, allowing a double and three home runs as the Dodgers fell behind 4-0. But he retired 19 of the last 21 hitters that he faced.
Ely has strong start in hometown: Dodgers right-hander John Ely, who went to high school in the Chicago area, had an effective outing in last Thursday’s 1-0 loss at Chicago.
Ely (3-2 before Tuesday’s start) threw a season-high 7.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
A large group of supporters cheered Ely and gave him an ovation after he left the game.
“It was a good deal of them out there, and I appreciate all those guys showing up,” said Ely, who graduated in 2004 from Homewood-Flossmoor high school and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2007. “I tried to give them a good show. That was nice. It’s always good to feel appreciated. It’s great to have the home crowd behind you. There were a lot more people than even I expected here.”
Ely said his father did not show up at the game because he is a White Sox fan and has vowed never to step inside Wrigley Field.
Ramirez in the outfield: Manny Ramirez has never had a good reputation as an outfielder, and two games last week at Chicago didn’t help him. Ramirez let a ball hit off the wall by Derek Lee in the first game of the series, and loafed after two balls hit to the outfield in last Wednesday’s contest, including another that hit off the wall.
“He’s had these leg issues,” Torre said. “He’s not moving as he had before. He said it was his fault on that ball that hit the wall. He thought it was going out of the ballpark and he stopped running after it.”
Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.