LOS ANGELES – This rivalry series has a bit of a different feel to it for a variety of reasons. The Dodgers have the division clinched and are the far superior team and the Giants are fighting for their playoff lives.
Thursday night proved why the Dodgers are where they are and the Giants are where they are in the standings. Emmet Sheehan threw 4 ⅔ no-hit innings even though he allowed a single earned run and the bullpen kept the Giants bats at bay to give the offense time to pull away.
The Dodger offense was all about manufacturing runs in this one, with an early Kiké Hernandez sacrifice fly and J.D. Martinez homer to put them out in front 2-0. The Giants got to Sheehan in the fifth and tied the game in the sixth with a Joc Pederson blast to center, but after that, it was all Dodgers. Another sacrifice fly, this time by J.D. Martinez, and two wild pitches put the Dodgers up 5-2 in the seventh.
In the eighth, it was Martinez yet again, who has been absolutely scorching the baseball since coming off of the injured list. He singled home Freddie Freeman and then Chris Taylor put the finishing touches on the game with an RBI single to make it 7-2.
The Dodgers are now 94-58 and have 9 games remaining in the regular season.
Here are my three takeaways:
Emmet Sheehan Had His Best Start Since His First
Sheehan had his arsenal working Thursday night, with a filthy changeup and a wipe out breaking ball to go along with a sneaky fastball that hovered around 95 MPH. In only 4 ⅔ innings, he had nine strikeouts and 18 whiffs. This is the best I have seen Sheehan look since he took a no-hitter deep into his first career start earlier in the season. Whether the Dodgers use him as a “piggyback,” long relief, or starter, his improvement could help this team in October.
J.D. Martinez Hits His 30th Home Run
Martinez was the de facto Justin Turner replacement in some regard, and coming off of a down year, nobody knew what to expect. Well, now in late September, the Dodgers have an All-Star DH that eclipsed the 30 home run mark at age 36.
Not to mention, Martinez has 95 RBI as well and is an excellent bat-to-ball hitter. The Dodgers have revitalized yet another veteran’s career and I can’t wait to see what he does in the postseason, because he is known for some big hits in October.
Home Field Advantage Within Reach?
After the Dodger victory, the Dodgers moved to three games back in the loss column behind the Braves, who hold home field advantage for the entirety of the playoffs including the World Series. I understand that the Dodgers might want that and are still fighting to get to that point, but in my opinion, I would hold off.
If you get the number one overall seed, you would probably have to play the potent Phillies, who are my favorite to win the wild card. I would much rather face a very hot, but weaker Brewers team in the first round than a team like Philadelphia. So, yes you did wrap up the division and the home field advantage is certainly shiny and beneficial in some ways, but in others it is not. There will be some jockeying going on…
Caleb Ferguson takes the mound for the Dodgers in another bullpen day while the Giants will send Sean Manaea out to the rubber. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM PST Friday.