Dodgers inch a little closer to Giants

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Dodgers still have an opportunity to catch the San Francisco Giants and win out the National League West pennant. With a nine-game road trip, beginning with the Cincinnati Reds on the way and one more homestand slated for six more games, the Dodgers could possibly sneak past the Giants for that first place mantle.

And with the way they have been playing of late, the Dodgers could actually pull that scenario off. The Dodgers are on a six-game win streak and have won eight of their last 10 games. The problem is that the Giants won’t lose, although San Francisco did just drop a recent contest against the San Diego Padres.

Maybe that’s what the Dodgers need to get past the Giants. Up until their defeat to the Padres, San Francisco had won nine of its last 10 games as of Sept. 15. Nothing is impossible and everything is possible when it comes to deciding which teams make the Major League Baseball playoff tournament.

The scrambling for a first-place record may not make a difference in individual postseason matchups. And it’s not going to matter one iota where the Dodgers or Giants meet up in the playoffs, should they eventually play each other.

Because of the historic nature of their rivalry, it will be a tooth and nail barnburner one way or another. Going into the postseason, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he feels good about his roster.

Sept. 15, 2021. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias pitched five innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated Arizona, 5-3. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“I think that we have a lot of good options, and it’s fun to talk about, I guess,” Roberts remarked. “So, It always comes down to the extra bench player, the relief, and just how you’re going to do that. But as far as where we’re kind of at right now, and we’ll get AJ back on line and CT (Chris Taylor) is getting better. Just like the ballclub in its entirety.”

Roberts and the Dodgers certainly must be giddy with what they’re getting from pitcher Julio Urias this season. The left-handed thrower has been on point all season long. Against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Urias backed up his season-long consistency of excellence by another sterling performance.

On Fernando Valenzuela Bobblehead Night at Dodger Stadium, Urias made the best of his start, striking out five batters in five innings to record his 18th victory (18-3) on the season. The Dodgers defeated Arizona, 5-3. A solo home run blasted in the fifth inning by first baseman Max Muncy proved to be the game-winner.

Trea Turner added a run with a single in the sixth inning to give the Dodgers the two-run cushion. After the game, Urias talked about what it meant to him to get his 18th win on a night where the Dodgers paid homage to Valenzuela.

“It was a really beautiful night,” Urias said. “Even when I started to get warmed up, starting getting hot for the game, you can hear the mariachi playing in the background and you can hear the excitement around the crowd, and obviously, it was a very emotional night for Fernando and his family. It was very nice for me to pitch tonight.”

Sept. 15, 2021. Will Smith (16) turns on the jest as he rounds the bases against the Arizona Diamondbacks. at Dodger Stadium. Smith and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated Arizona, 5-3. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonlike

On such an emotional night for the Dodger faithful, Urias didn’t feel like he was at his best, especially in the top half of the fourth inning when he got tagged for two runs.

“It was just one tough inning,” Urias said. “It was one inning where [I] feel behind in counts, a couple of hits here and there, and just didn’t have…wasn’t really as sharp as I wanted to be in that inning, and obviously, I wasn’t as sharp as I was in my last few starts, but [it was] just one inning where [I] just needed to clean some things up.”

The Dodgers now sit a game and a half behind the Giants after their series closeout win against Arizona. But relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, who came on for one inning to finish off the Diamondbacks with three strikeouts, said the Dodgers just need to focus on themselves and not be concerned about what their longtime rivals are doing.

“Listen, at the end of the day, we just got to take care of us,” Jansen said. “Can’t worry about the Giants…If we worry about us and take care of the business while we play Dodger baseball, if we do that, like I say, I don’t think there’s nobody better than us in this league. We just got to take care of our own business, stay healthy and keep continue to grind. Keep continue to grind. Take one game at a time.”

Featured Image Caption: Sept. 15, 2021. Los Angeles Dodgers’ first baseman Max Muncy make a connection for a solo home run. Muncy’s home run helped give the Dodgers a 5-3 win at Dodger Stadium. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline