But none of it would have been possible were it not for the continued success of Dodger starter John Ely(notes), who battled against Arizona's Dan Haren(notes) for seven innings of no-run, two-hit baseball.
I wonder if the Dodgers can modify any of those Manny wigs into an Ely mullet, because that makes six of seven big league starts that Ely has surrendered two or less runs. The righty is 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.
Ely was a third-round pick for Chicago in the 2007 draft, so it's not as if early triumphs are totally improbable. But the fact that he was called up from the minors and has played a key role in reviving the Dodgers' rotation from an early slump gives his tale a delicious splash of overnight success story. It's no surprise that Los Angeles fans are already telling tall tales about him.
Of course, there's still the problem of small sample size — again, he's only made seven big league starts — but Dodgers manager Joe Torre thinks Ely has already proven enough to be considered a reliable rotation option instead of a serendipitous surprise.
"I think he's been tested about everywhere," Torre said. "Not in postseason, but you go into Wrigley Field and pitch the kind of game he did [seven and one-third innings, one run, four hits], I mean Wrigley Field can be intimidating considering its history. It's certainly unique compared to other ballparks.
"He started his career pitching his first game in New York. Then pitched here. I think he's been tested pretty well. So you're right, I'm not surprised anymore."
It'll be surprising if Ely can keep putting together six-game strings like the one he's currently on — this streak would be great for any pitcher not named Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) — but I think his early command of the strike zone (7.2 K/9 and 4.63 K/BB) shows that he can continue being a key contributor in L.A.'s quest for another NL West title.
Not to mention a thorn in the side of White Sox fans stuck watching Pierre play baseball.