Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has always tinkered with his lineups, though mostly out of necessity. During his tenure, he has endured his fair share of player injuries requiring him to move players in and out of the lineup on a seemingly daily basis. His most recent shuffle, however, had less to do with injuries and more to do with production, as the manager moved Hanley Ramirez to the two-spot in the lineup, returned Adrian Gonzalez to fourth, and left the hot-hitting Yasiel Puig third.
Perhaps it was the shakeup, or perhaps it was the comments Mattingly made on Wednesday. It may have been facing a pitcher in Eddie Butler making his MLB debut, or it may have been facing a team in the Colorado Rockies that has been nothing short of hapless in recent weeks. Regardless of the reason, the Dodgers offense showed life, and it was the top of the order that finally delivered with seven runs.
The first and second batters, Dee Gordon and Ramirez, were responsible for five of the Dodgers hits and drove in a total of five runs between them. The production out of Gordon and Ramirez is important, as each player has been mired in a lengthy slump that has had a significant impact on the ballclub.
Gordon was 3-for-4 with two triples, three RBI, two runs, one walk and one steal. Ramirez, who has underperformed all year long, showed signs of breaking out of his slump by going 2-for-4 with two RBI, two steals and a walk.
While the Dodgers appeared listless throughout their homestand, they appeared motivated and hungry in this first game of the series against the Rockies. They were aggressive on the basepaths and delivered with runners in scoring position, giving the team a modicum of hope as they look to turn their season around after several months of mediocrity.
The shakeup even seemed to benefit Matt Kemp, who has looked nothing like the Matt Kemp of old in the 2014 season. Kemp hit a long single (which would have been a double had it not been for the replay system) and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was predictably good while earning the win, giving up only two runs over six innings of work, striking out two and walking two. Brandon League and Brian Wilson each delivered scoreless innings of work before turning the ball over to Chris Perez, who also held the Rockies scoreless in closing out the game.
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