Troy Tulowitzki was the story of the day, as he homered twice to give him 14 home runs over his last 15 games, propelling the Rockies to an easy 12-2 win over the Dodgers. “He makes a big difference for that ball club. Not only the ability he has on the field, but his leadership ability sa well,” Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre said, “He is a special young man and he gives them a lot of energy over there.”
John Ely gave up six runs and walked five in his 4 1/3 innings, a stark contrast to his early season success, when he at one point went 89 consecutive batters without issuing a walk. He said he couldn’t get his off-speed pitches, specifically his curve ball over for a strike. “I basically had two pitches, two similar pitches in the zone,” he said, which led to his undoing. Joe Torre agreed:
It was a sign of [Ely] not being as proud of his stuff as he was earlier. He was a lot more in agressive going after people. Last game, he started out trying to overthrow the ball before he settled in, and he pitched fine for the six innings he gave us. Today was a very defensive approach. He pitched to Gonzalez, I hate to say it, like the pitcher was the next hitter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the pitcher, it was Tulowitzki.
A.J. Ellis had a very good day at the plate, collecting three hits and a walk, his second straight game with three hits. He has 10 hits in his last 14 at-bats, and has reached base 14 times in 19 plate appearances. What has been the key to his success? Hard work, says Torre:
He has been working his tail off with these guys. He has been working tirelessly on his approach, shortening his swing. The biggest problem he had with his offense was that his swing was long and it was slow. Now he’s shorter and quicker, and that’s just from flat out hard work. He’s usually the first guy here, he’s in that cage.
Ellis said he has been working with hitting coaches Don Mattingly and Jeff Pentland on shortening his swing because, as he put it, his swing has a tendency to get long and loopy. “We were able to find a repeatable swing, which is key,” Ellis said.
Russ Mitchell put the Dodgers on the scoreboard with a two-run home run in the ninth inning. It was his second hit of the season, both of which are home runs. Torre praised Mitchell’s versatility, noting that he can play first base, third base, and the outfield, and he has started at all three spots for the Dodgers this month. Mitchell also has catching experience, a plus when it comes to making a roster. “I see [in Mitchell] a player that every manager looks for,” Torre said, “the fact that the guy can be a swingman for you is valuable.”
The Dodgers try to avoid a sweep tomorrow, and even though the club has lost four straight games, hope is tomorrow’s starting pitcher, as Torre noted, “Hopefully [Clayton] Kershaw can keep them more in control tomorrow.”