NEW YORK – Every Los Angeles commuter can tell you that three inflated tires are not enough to get the car from the front door to the office.
And so it is with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have much of the offense clicking, but one aspect still needs proper inflation.
So even though the Dodgers’ offense is far better than it was during the first two months of the season, there remains an issue with producing against left-handed pitching. New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia is just the latest lefty to make life miserable for the Dodgers. He led the Yankees to a 3-0 victory Tuesday in the Bronx.
The Dodgers know the flaw and are trying to fix it. Talking about it hasn’t improved the situation.
As it has been for the Cubs all season, as Lester builds his case for an individual award, it is done in service to a burgeoning team success. Chicago earned its 96th win of the season, improved to 54-23 at Wrigley Field, and trimmed its magic number for clinching the top seed in the National League playoffs to three.
With two starts remaining, Lester is one shy of his career-high in victories of 19, achieved in 2010 for Boston. He’s probably the only remaining National League pitcher with a shot at winning 20 games this season.
The veteran Sabathia might be in the midst of an up-and-down season, but he looked to be in control while holding the Dodgers to three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Dodgers’ left-hander issue is far from an unknown. And the problem is not just with starting pitchers.
The Yankees got a glimpse of it Monday in their 8-2 loss to L.A.. While Yanks right-hander Bryan Mitchell started the game, giving up six runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings, left-handed relievers Chasen Shreve, Richard Bleier and James Pazos gave up a combined one run on one hit over 5 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers are stacked with left-handed hitting options such as Joc Pederson, Chase Utley, Corey Seager, Josh Reddick and Adrian Gonzalez. Yasmani Grandal is a switch hitter, but most of his damage has come from the left side.
The whole at-bat had a playoff feel to it, right down to three separate conferences on the mound to make sure Rodriguez and catcher Sandy Leon were on the same page. And Rodriguez’s emphatic fist pump after Trumbo swung through strike three was an indication that he understood the significance of the moment.