PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson might be on the disabled list because of the Dodgers’ shortened spring training before they opened the season in Australia, but the team’s hitters appear to be completely unaffected.
The Dodgers are alone in first place in the National League West, in large part because of their offense, which had another spectacular day Sunday in an 8-6, sweep-sealing victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Adrian Gonzalez homered for the fourth consecutive game, Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe also belted home runs, and Dee Gordon swiped a career-high four bases.
The Dodgers (9-4) scored a total of 22 runs in the three-game series.
“We have recovered pretty well, it seems, from Australia,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
So far, they look as if they will avoid the kind of slow offensive start they had last season, which was the main reason they were in last place at the end of June. By this stage last year, there were already signs of trouble, as they were shut out three times in their first 13 games. This year, they are yet to be blanked.
“This is kind of what you envisioned, a team that can go up and down the order, where a lot of guys are dangerous,” Mattingly said. “I think that’s what you’re seeing.”
The Dodgers have scored four or more runs in seven of their last nine games and six or more in five of their last six.
Chase Field was a factor, according to Gonzalez.
“When you come to a park like this that’s a good place to hit, you’re more aggressive, you feel better as a hitter, overall,” Gonzalez said.
Their most consistent source of runs continues to be Gonzalez, who leads them with 14 runs batted in. Gonzalez hit a three-run home run Sunday against Trevor Cahill in the Dodgers’ four-run third inning and added a double in the fifth inning.
“He’s smoking the ball,” Kemp said. “He’s probably the best hitter in the league right now, at the moment.”
Last season, Gonzalez didn’t hit his fifth home run until May 25.
Like Gonzalez, Kemp is also experiencing a resurgence in power. Now more than a full year removed from a major shoulder operation, Kemp hit his third home run when he launched a ball into the Diamondbacks’ bullpen down the left-field line.
The home run came exactly a week after he hit two in Dodger Stadium against the San Francisco Giants. He was hitless since that game until Sunday, but Mattingly wasn’t concerned, pointing to how many balls Kemp hit hard the previous night.
Uribe’s home run was his first, but not entirely unexpected. Uribe entered the game batting .367.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise in the lineup has been Gordon, who is batting .400 with a major-league-leading nine steals.
“His game offensively has kind of grown,” Mattingly said. “He’s shown strides offensively the way he’s swinging the bat.”
Or not swinging.
Gordon drew walks in his first two plate appearances Sunday, which led to three of his four steals. He stole second and third base in the third inning, and scored on an infield single by Hanley Ramirez.
Gordon stole his fourth base in the sixth inning, when he reached base on a single to center. While reliever Randall Delgado kicked the dirt on the mound as he prepared to face Yasiel Puig, Gordon bolted for second base. Delgado didn’t react in time to throw him out.
“I saw they weren’t paying attention,” Gordon said.
The last Dodger to steal four bases in a game was Rafael Furcal, who did it on Sept. 15, 2007.
Gordon has been caught stealing only once this season.