As recently as June 22, the Dodgers were 31-42, 9.5 games out of first place in the NL West. Among other problems, they were dealing with a slew of injuries and were considering dealing Andre Ethier in what looked like a lost season. With a 3-0 victory over the Cubs this afternoon, the Dodgers improved to 60-49, 4.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks in first place.
Chris Capuano tossed six and one-third shutout innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out five. Kenley Jansen tossed a scoreless ninth for the save, his 16th of the year. Jerry Hairston put the Dodgers on the board with an RBI single in the third inning. Carl Crawford added two more runs on a single in the sixth.
The Dodgers have won seven of their last eight games, but more impressively, it was their 13th consecutive victory on the road:
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.