Dodgers tak­ing it one rout at a time

Turner and others pre­fer not to look be­hind or ahead on this su­perb sea­son.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Andy McCul­lough

NEW YORK — Justin Turner could not iden­tify the cul­prit. It might have been a mem­ber of the team. It might have been a Citi Field sup­port staffer. Turner was un­sure who asked what the Dodgers’ record was af­ter Sun­day’s 8-0 vic­tory over the New York Mets, but he was pos­i­tive about the re­sponse.

“Who cares?” came the cho­rus in­side the food room of the vis­i­tors’ club­house.

To be clear: The record is 79-32. It is the best in base­ball. The team is on pace for 115 wins, one shy of the mod­ern record set by the 2001 Seat­tle Mariners. Since 1954, only two teams have won 110 games or more. Each day, the Dodgers march to­ward his­tory.

Yet, in­side the day-to­day op­er­a­tions of this jug­ger­naut, there is only calm. The play­ers do not fixate on the con­se­quences of their ac­tions. They do not worry about any ex­ces­sive pres­sure for Oc­to­ber. They show up a few hours be­fore each game, stage a three-hour de­mo­li­tion of that night’s op­po­nent and head out, ready to re­peat the process the next day.

“No one is re­ally look­ing back at what we’ve al­ready done,” Turner said. “No one is look­ing ahead. It’s not about try­ing to fig­ure out who we’re go­ing to match up with in the play­offs. It’s about show­ing up, try­ing to win a ball­game that day. That’s all that mat­ters.”

In this series, which the Dodgers swept with a cu­mu­la­tive 21-4 score, the team dis­played the depth of its tal­ent. They re­ceived con-

tri­b­u­tions from ev­ery spot in the lineup, from the top of the start­ing ro­ta­tion to the back end, from the un­seen ac­tors of­fer­ing data and in­sight to the play­ers.

On Fri­day, new ar­rival Yu Darvish ben­e­fited from se­quenc­ing ad­vice given by gen­eral man­ager Farhan Zaidi. Two days later, the lineup seized on in­for­ma­tion from the ad­vance scout­ing depart­ment and first base coach Ge­orge Lom­bard to ter­ror­ize Mets starter Steven Matz for three stolen bases in the first in­ning.

“It’s a re­ally good feel­ing to show up ev­ery sin­gle day — re­gard­less of the cir­cum­stances, the op­po­nent, the lo­ca­tion — and ex­pect to win,” man­ager Dave Roberts said. “And we’re do­ing that.”

The Dodgers hung three runs on Matz in the first in­ning and Turner sup­plied a two-run shot in the third. Cody Bellinger capped the scor­ing with a two-run blast in the eighth. Amid the flurry of run sup­port, HyunJin Ryu (4-6) gave up one hit, a third-in­ning sin­gle by Travis d’Ar­naud, in seven in­nings. No other Met reached base against him.

“Our team ex­pects noth­ing but win­ning,” Ryu said. “As a start­ing pitcher, I try to put my team­mates in a po­si­tion where they can win.”

Like Kenta Maeda ear­lier in the week, Ryu ap­peared un­fazed by Darvish’s ar­rival. With Darvish on the ros­ter, it ap­pears un­likely that Maeda or Ryu will start for the Dodgers in the play­offs. Maeda re­sponded with seven score­less in­nings the day af­ter Darvish was ac­quired last week. Ryu matched that out­ing Sun­day.

The play­ers looked at ease be­fore the game. On Sat­ur­day, the Mets dis­trib­uted 15,000 neck­laces bear­ing out­fielder Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes’ No. 52 in faux di­a­monds. En­rique Her­nan­dez pro­cured one and wore it around the club­house Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Across the room, Ken­ley Jansen pestered Alex Wood, a na­tive of Char­lotte, N.C., about ask­ing Hor­nets owner Michael Jor­dan to sign his sneak­ers. In the dugout, Roberts fielded ques­tions about Darvish pitch­ing left-handed and Yasiel Puig plant­ing kisses on hit­ting coach Turner Ward.

Amid the laugh­ter, Lom­bard briefed the hit­ters on Matz’s trou­bles hold­ing run­ners. The in­for­ma­tion proved vi­tal in the first. Turner swiped sec­ond base, avoid­ing a tag in the process. Af­ter a walk by Bellinger, the duo ex­e­cuted a dou­ble steal.

“We had a lot of in­for­ma­tion on that guy, that he’s re­ally slow, es­pe­cially on guys who don’t run a whole lot, like my­self,” Turner said.

The brio proved vi­tal. Lo­gan Forsythe threaded a two-run sin­gle up the mid­dle. Austin Barnes banged a run-scor­ing dou­ble into the left-field cor­ner. The lead would never be in dan­ger; the Mets would not ad­vance a run­ner to sec­ond base un­til the ninth in­ning.

In the third, Turner re­turned to tor­ment his former em­ploy­ers. Be­fore Sat­ur­day, he had gone 13 games be­tween homers. He launched a solo shot dur­ing Sat­ur­day’s late-game fusil­lade. On Sun­day, he ham­mered a 91-mph fast­ball for a two-run shot.

The lead ex­panded to five runs, and Ryu was rolling. He struck out the side in the first and six in the first three in­nings. He fin­ished with eight strike­outs.

The Dodgers of­fense went quiet un­til the eighth. On the mound was Josh Smoker. Turner ripped a two-out dou­ble. Bellinger crushed a waist-high fast­ball for his 32nd homer.

“It’s been un­real,” Bellinger said. “Our bullpen, our pitch­ing staff, our lineup — it’s the real deal. We’re just try­ing to ride it out as long as we can.”

The ride goes to Phoenix on Tues­day. The Dodgers end this three-city trip fac­ing the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs, a team they might see in a Na­tional League di­vi­sion series.

For now, the play­ers in­sist, they will not al­low them­selves to fore­cast Oc­to­ber.

“When guys even start to bring it up,” Turner said, “it gets pushed to the side right away.”

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