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July 31, 2008

Billingsley Gets Complete Game Shutout

by @ 2:33 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Chad Billingsley scattered five Giants’ hits with no walks in his complete game shutout while the Dodgers put up four runs of their own to win the rubber match of the series.

The Dodgers took an early lead in the first to make it 1-0, and that would be the only run needed for the win. Russell Martin chipped in with two RBI-singles while Jeff Kent hit an RBI-double and James Loney a sacfly. Matt Kemp also went 1 for 2 with two runs scored to extend his hit streak to 17 games. Casey Blake also had two hits and is now batting .412 since putting on the Dodger blue.

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Billingsley pitched the Dodgers to their tenth shutout of the season, and their fourth in the last five games. This is Billingsley’s first career shutout and just second complete game. He had eight K’s on the night and the complete shutout was complete when Andre Ethier gunned down Jose Castillo at the plate for the last out of the game. Billingsley is now 7-2 in his last nine starts.

The Dodgers now head into their crucial four-game series with the Diamondbacks at home. They are still one game back but they could take the lead and then some after this series. Derek Lowe will face Brandon Webb in tonight’s opener. Lowe is in search of his ninth win after holding the Nationals to one hit in eight innings in his last start. Webb sports a 9-3 record against the Dodgers in his career and held the Dodgers to one run in eight innings in his last start against them.

Dodgers Land Manny in Last-Minute Deal

by @ 2:20 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers nailed power slugger Manny Ramirez from the World Champion Red Sox in a three-team deal at the trade deadline.

The Dodgers gave up Andy LaRoche and first-round Draft pick pitcher Brian Morris, who went to Pittsburgh along with Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss from the Red Sox while the Red Sox got Jason Bay from the Pirates.

Ramirez, an 11-time All-Star, will be leaving his home in front of the Green Monster at Fenway to join the Dodgers in their late-season run for the playoffs. Manny is batting .299 with 20 HRs and 68 RBI this season. So 5′s a crowd for the Dodgers outfield…Manny will be the everyday leftfielder while Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier will vie for two spots. My guess is Kemp will stay in right for most of the games while getting Ethier in there and at center with Juan Pierre, so Jones and his sinking slump may have lost his chance.

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July 30, 2008

Jason Johnson Shuts Out Giants in Starting Debut

by @ 2:05 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Jason Johnson made his Dodger debut as a starter and shut out the Giants through six innings while the Dodgers went on to beat the Giants 2-0 to even up the series.

The Dodgers tallied nine hits and scored two in the sixth for the only runs needed for the win. Matt Kemp led things off in the sixth with a single to send his hit streak to a career-high 16 games. Two outs later, James Loney drove an RBI-single to score Kemp for the first run of the game; Loney was 2 for 4 in his team-leading 31st multi-hit game this year. Loney then came around to score when Casey Blake doubled and moved to third when Giants’ leftfielder Fred Lewis allowed the ball to bobble a little over the wall before throwing it in. Juan Pierre was also 1 for 4 with a stolen base, his 100th in a Dodgers uniform.

Jason Johnson started for the first time since August 2006 and won for the first time since May 2006. Johnson scattered five hits across six innings while striking out three and walking none. Chan Ho Park then pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings while striking out two before Jonathan Broxton finished the game with no hits and three K’s in 1 1/3 innings. Broxton is for 5 for 5 in saves.

The Dodgers move to .500 and are still one game back in the division as they head into Wednesday’s rubber match. Chad Billingsley will take the mound against lefty Jonathan Sanchez. Billingsley, now with a double-digits win total, is coming off a quality outing against the Nationals, giving up just two runs in 7 2/3. Sanchez is 8-6. Russell Martin will also be back in the lineup as Billingsley’s battery mate; Torre wanted to give him a day off before the big four-game series with the Dbacks this weekend. 

July 29, 2008

Dodgers Fall Short in Comeback

by @ 12:51 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers dropped their first game to the Giants, 7-6, despite coming back from a 7-0 deficit to make it a one-run game by the sixth.

The Dodgers took the bats in the fifth inning being down seven runs, but they rallied for 5 in that inning to make it a game again. Mark Sweeney pitched in with a two-RBI pinch-hit single. Casey Blake was also 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored before he (and Torre) were ejected in the eighth after arguing his called check swing. Andre Ethier started over Andruw Jones and went 1 for 3 with an RBI. Jones did come in late in the game though and actually hit an RBI-single to make it a one-run game in the sixth, but that was all for the Dodgers, as they had no more hits or baserunners after the sixth. Nomar was also scratched from the lineup for a sprained knee that he suffered while tagging a Nationals’ baserunner at third in Sunday’s game. Angel Berroa went 1 for 4 with a run and an RBI in place of Nomar, and Berroa may have to continue to be Nomar’s replacement.

Kuroda was again ineffective, giving up seven runs on nine hits, both career-high numbers, while failing to escape the fourth inning. He gave up two in the third and allowed the Giants to rally for five runs in the fourth after having men on the corners with one out. Ramon Troncoso came in to escape the inning,  and him, Falkenborg, Wade, and Kuo all combined to finish the game and keep the Giants scoreless with a combined 7 K’s. Kuroda falls to 5-8 and is now 0-2 with a 13.11 ERA since the All-Star break.

Jason Johnson will make his Dodger debut as a starter. Johnson has not made a start since August 2006 with the Red Sox after spending last season in Japan. Johnson is a right-handed veteran with a  55-98 record in 214 career starts. He will face Matt Cain, who is 6-8 with a 3.82 ERA. Cain is 0-4 lifetime against the Dodgers, but is coming off a four-hit shutout of the Nationals in his last start.

July 27, 2008

Kershaw Gets First Big-League Win as Dodgers Sweep Nats

by @ 3:07 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

It took Clayton Kershaw 10 starts, but he finally got his first Major-League win as him and the bullpen combined to keep the Nats scoreless in a 2-0 victory for the sweep.

Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp, and Russell Martin each had two hits for the day, totaling six of the seven Dodger hits. James Loney added one in the second with a solo homerun to give the Dodgers an early lead. Martin added an insurance run in the fifth with an RBI-single to score Juan Pierre.

Kershaw threw 86 pitches in his six innings, and allowed just four hits to send him to his first win. Chan-Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo each threw an inning for holds, with Park having a 1-2-3 seventh inning with two strikeouts. Jonathan Broxton seems to be at ease in his new, temporary closer role: he threw a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout for his fourth save.

The win brings the Dodgers back to .500, the first time at that mark in almost two months. The Dbacks won today, so the Dodgers stay 1/2 game behind them in the division. That division lead could change as early as tomorrow, though, with the Dodgers continuing their homestand with a three-game series with the Giants. Hiroki Kuroda will make the start and face Kevin Correia. Correia is 1-5 with an ERA near 6.

A Few Small Updates

by @ 2:59 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Brad Penny threw a simulated game yesterday, and is expected to make a minor league rehab start, likely with Class A, sometime this coming week. If all goes well, his timetable for return would then likely be next week as the Dodgers head out on a roadtrip beginning in St. Louis.

Mark Sweeney was activated from the DL, and Andy LaRoche was optioned to Triple-A to make room for the move. LaRoche was the pick to go down as new Dodger Casey Blake will be the everyday starting third baseman for the team.

Lowe One-Hits Nationals for Dodgers Win

by @ 2:55 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Derek Lowe completely dominated the Nationals in Saturday nights game, allowing just one-hit in his eight innings as the Dodgers put up ten hits of their own and beat the Nats 6-0.

The Dodgers scored three in the first and that was all they need for the win as Lowe kept the Nats scoreless, but they added three more runs in the fourth to end up with a 6-0 win. Against former Dodger Odalis Perez, Matt Kemp drove a two-run homer in the first for the early lead, which sends his hit streak to a career-high 13 games. Russell Martin doubled and then scored on a sacfly by Nomar, who made the start at first base, with Angel Berroa at short. In the fourth, Nomar drove a solo homerun before Casey Blake, making his Dodger blue debut, doubled. He was then driven home by Berroa’s double. Lowe even chipped in on the action with an RBI-single to score Berroa.

Lowe actually was 2 for 3 on the night, which is one more hit than he allowed the Nats to get in his eight innings of work. Lowe’s last one-hitter was with the Dodgers in 2005 and his only career no-hitter was in 2002 with Boston. Lowe went one inning short of a complete game after throwin 107 pitches, Joe Beimel and Cory Wade split the ninth.

July 26, 2008

Dodgers Win Weekend Opener

by @ 7:03 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers escaped with a one-run, 3-2 win over the Nationals on Friday and saw the return of leadoff man Juan Pierre.

Pierre went 1 for 4 with a run scored in his first game back after a stint on the DL while Delwyn Young was put on the 15-day DL to make room on the roster. Andre Ethier drew the short straw and sat on Friday to allow Pierre to play, which still left the slumping (even that word is too nice) Andruw Jones in the lineup. Jones did have a rare double, but went 0 for 2 with RISP, which drops his average to .075 in RISP opportunities. The Dodgers were down a run after the Nats scored one in the third, but they rallied for a three-run sixth inning to take the lead. Nomar came up with the bases loaded and smacked a two-RBI single to left-center before James Loney added an RBI-groundout.

Chad Billingsley earned his 10th win, which is good enough for the team high, while also lowering his ERA to 3.26, which is also a staff best. Billingsley gave up just two runs on five hits before leaving with two outs in the eighth. Jonathan Broxton relieved Billingsley with two runs on and two outs in the eighth. Broxton struck out Flores to end the inning and threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save, and did so by hitting 100 MPH twice on the gun in the ninth.

The Dodgers send Derek Lowe to the mound, who is a perfect 4-0 in four starts against the Nationals. The Dodgers will face a former teammate, veteran Odalis Perez, who is 3-7 this season.

Dodgers Get Casey Blake from Indians

by @ 6:43 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers acquired third baseman Casey Blake from the Indians today, and optioned Blake DeWitt to Las Vegas to make room on the roster.

The Dodgers sent pitcher Jon Meloan and Class A catcher prospect Carlos Santana to Cleveland for the trade. Blake will now be the everyday third baseman until the rest of the season before he is a free agent. Blake led the Indians in batting average at .298 and had 58 RBI at time of the trade.

The trade deadline is just over a week away, and the Dodgers now have a surplus of outfielders and third basemen. Andy LaRoche would likely be the next trade bait to deal for the Dodgers.

July 25, 2008

Dodgers Begin 10-Game Homestand

by @ 10:06 am. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers are .500 since the All-Star break, and begin a 10-game homestand beginning with the Washington Nationals, followed by the Giants and finally a crucial four-game series with the Dbacks.

Chad Billingsley will get the start against lefty John Lannan. Billingsley is making his 21st start of the season, a new career-high. He is 2-0 lifetime against the Nationals and looks to send his win total to double digits. Lannan is 6-9 and is facing the Dodgers for the first time in his career.

This weekend’s series against the Nationals should spark the return of Juan Pierre. He has played a rehab assignment game at Las Vegas but could be in the Dodgers lineup as early as this weekend.

July 23, 2008

Pierre to Return This Weekend

by @ 7:34 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Juan Pierre made a rehab start in Las Vegas today and is scheduled to return with the Dodgers for this weekend’s homestand. Pierre’s return will again give Torre a surplus of outfielders, so he will be faced with the choice of who to bench. Andruw Jones’ horrible numbers should jump out at Torre and prompt him to keep Jones out of the lineup. He is batting just .156 since return from the DL earlier this month and is just 4 for 50 with RISP this season.

Eric Stults was sent back down to Las Vegas after a rough outing on Monday.

Also, Brad Penny threw 55 pitches in his bullpen session and is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start sometime this weekend.

Dodgers Drop Two to Take Series Loss

by @ 7:28 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

After a 16-run attack for a win on Monday, the Dodgers lost Tuesday 1-10 and Wednesday 3-5 to lose their series to the Rockies.

Maybe the offense was tired after Monday’s powerhouse of runs, because the Dodgers could only muster four hits and a lone run in the ninth to take the loss. Rockies’ starter Ubaldo Jimenez threw a complete game and gave the Dodgers just four hits, including a ninth inning Matt Kemp solo shot to extend his hit streak to 10 games and for an attempt at a come-from-behind win.

Clayton Kershaw was just plain off for the night, lasting only three innings and giving up five runs on ten hits. He gave the Rockies their first run in the second off a solo homerun to Brad Hawpe before allowing the Rockies to rally for four in the third. Kershaw again fails to get his first big-league win and was pulled after loading the bases with no outs in the fourth. Original starter Jason Johnson came out of the pen to and got out of the mess that Kershaw left him and went on to pitch four innings, giving up just one run (a solo homerun) on two hits. Ramon Troncoso wasn’t as effective, though, giving the Rockies four more runs in the eighth.

The Dodgers had a chance to gain some ground in the division in Wednesday’s rubber match, but ineffective starting pitching a lack of offense handed the Dodgers the series loss.

The Dodgers matched the Rockies with 11 hits, but could only score three runs off Rockies’ starter Glendon Rusch. James Loney was 3 for 4 and Andruw Jones, Andy LaRoche, and Ardoin all had an RBI. The team left eight on base though, including the tying runs on second and third with one out in the eighth before Jones and LaRoche struck out to end the inning and leave the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

The Dodgers again failed to get a quality outing from a starter. Hiroki Kuroda allowed the Rockies five runs on nine hits through six innings. In between Kuroda’s two-run first and three-run third was a scoreless inning followed by two more before Chan Ho Park finished with two scoreless innings.

The Dodgers are now 3 games under .500 and 1 1/2 back in the division. A off day should re-charge the offense and, more importantly, the starting rotation, with Chad Billingsley making the start Friday at home against the Nationals.

July 22, 2008

Loney Powers Dodgers to 16-10 Win Over Rockies

by @ 11:22 am. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers scored eight in the first and went on to double that for the night as they beat the Rockies at Coors Field for their fourth win in the last five.

The Dodgers sent 12 men to the plate in the first to score 8 runs, and had an 11-0 lead by the third. They totaled a season-high 18 hits on the night, with 3 each from Russell Martin, Jeff Kent, and James Loney, and 2 each by Andre Ethier, Angel Berroa, and Matt Kemp, who had two doubles in the first inning to extend his hit streak to nine. The powered offense was led by Loney, who was 3 for 6 with a triple and 5 RBI. Loney now has 11 RBI in four games at Coors this season, and has 24 career RBI in 14 games there, including nine in one game as a rookie back in September 2006.

Amazingly enough, the Dodgers were outhit by the Rockies. Starter Eric Stults gave them six hits while the bullpen allowed them to total 20. Stults took the mound in the third with a 11-0 lead, gave up a run, and was pulled with two outs in the fourth, unable to earn himself a victory. Stults was charged with three runs, and Falkenborg, Cory Wade, Joe Beimel, and Hong-Chih Kuo all combined to be tagged for ten earned runs on 14 hits. They all worked to keep 16 Rockies stranded on base, and Falkenborg was given the win.

Clayton Kershaw will be activated to start in Tuesday’s game. Kershaw was 0-2 in his eight starts this season with the Dodgers, but Torre is expected to keep him with the team and in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Tuesday’s original starter was Jason Johnson, but he is still expected to stay with the team and pitch in relief while another roster move, likely a pitcher, will be made to make room for Kershaw. The Rockies send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. Jimenez is 5-9 with a 4.20 ERA. Kershaw will still be in search of his first big league victory, and a win with an Arizona loss could again give the Dodgers sole possession of first place.

July 21, 2008

Five-Run Ninth Rallies Dodgers to a Share of First Place

by @ 3:13 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers were down 4-1 and incredibly close to staying in second place heading into the ninth inning on Sunday, but a five-run rally gave them a come from behind win to take the series and even them up with the Dbacks in the division.

The Dodgers only managed one run off Dbacks’ starter Brandon Webb, and it came in the seventh after being down 4-0. Then the ninth inning came…the offense attacked for five runs on six hits against Brandon Lyon, which equals the number of hits the offense had for the previous eight innings combined. Nomar led off the rally with a double and moved to third on James Loney’s single, one of three Loney hits for the night for his 26th multi-hit game of the season. Andruw Jones hit a potential double-play grounder, but a misplay spared the Dodgers and out while allowing Nomar to score. Andy LaRoche then pinch-hit with two outs and singled Loney home. Pinch runner Pablo Ozuna, recently signed from the White Sox, scored the tying run when Matt Kemp hit a two-out double to left after a tough eight-pitch at-bat which started off with a 1-2 count. Andre Ethier then tripled Kemp home for the go-ahead run before Ethier scored off Russell Martin’s RBI-single, an insurance run that would be needed come the bottom half.

Derek Lowe gave up four runs on seven hits through 5 1/3, but was lucky enough to have the offense rally in the ninth to save him from the loss. He gave Arizona three runs in the first and another in the sixth before being pulled for Brian Falkenborg to finish off the inning. Ramon Troncoso pitched two nearly perfect innings for his first MLB victory. Troncoso struck out five of the seven batters he faced. Temporary closer Jonathan Broxton got the save, but barely, as he gave up a run to make it a one-run game.

The Dodgers have a chance to steal sole possession of first place tonight, especially with Arizona playing the first-place Cubs. Eric Stults makes the start with his 2.67 ERA, and faces the Rockies, the team with whom he struck out a career-high nine batters last August. He will face Kip Wells, making his first start since April 28 after a long trip to the DL.

July 20, 2008

One-Run Loss Sends Dodgers Back to Second Place

by @ 12:31 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers took the field on Saturday being tied with the Dbacks for first, but a 3-2 loss drops them to second before they head into Sunday’s rubber match.

Dan Haren silenced the Dodger bats for seven innings, giving them no runs with 7 K’s and just four hits. Jeff Kent gave the Dodgers hope with a leadoff solo homerun in the ninth before James Loney singled and was driven home by Delwyn Young. Young was moved to third on Blake DeWitt’s groundout and Andruw Jones walked to represent the go-ahead run at first, but Matt Kemp flied out to end the rally.

Chad Billingsley was tagged for two runs in the first and one more in the fourth to take his ninth loss. He gave up a one-out solo homerun in the first followed by another run that scored after Young misplayed a ball in center. That one run seemed insignificant early on but it proved to be the game-winner. Billingsley then got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by inducing a double play and left being down 0-3 in the sixth. Joe Beimel and Cory Wade kept the Dbacks scoreless to give the offense a chance to come from behind, but their ninth inning rally fell short.

A win in Sunday’s rubber match will give the Dodgers the series win as well as a share of first place. Derek Lowe will take on Brandon Webb. Lowe, pitching on 10 days’ rest, has lowered his ERA to 3.85 while Webb sports a 13-4 record and is 2-0 in his last four starts.

July 19, 2008

Extra Innings Win Ties Dodgers for First

by @ 3:45 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers blasted a season-high four homeruns, including James Loney’s game winner in the 11th, to get the win and bring them to a dead tie with the Dbacks in the division.

The Dodgers took a lead in the first with three runs before the Dbacks came back to take the lead in the bottom half. Nomar hit a two-run shot in the third to make it 6-5 before adding another homerun, a solo shot in the sixth. Matt Kemp added a solo shot, his 10th of the year, in the seventh to tie it up and send it to extras. James Loney hit a leadoff solo homerun in the 11th for the go-ahead and winning run. Nomar’s two-homer performance was the first time he’s done that since 2002. Andre Ethier also had two doubles, and Kemp and Russell Martin each totaled two hits. Andruw Jones was 0 for 2 with 2 K’s before being lifted in the fifth for flu-like symptoms.

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It took eight Dodger pitchers in 11 innings, but they got the job done. Kuroda was given three runs of support in the first but allowed the Dbacks to score four in the bottom half and two more in the second before being pulled. Jason Johnson, just called up from Las Vegas and making his debut as a Dodger, then came in out of the pen for three innings, holding the Dbacks to just one run off a groundout. The bullpen then held the Dbacks scoreless after the third to allow the offense to come back for the win. Hong-Chih Kuo pitched an impressive two innings with 4 K’s. Chan Ho Park also came in as relief for an inning. Cory Wade earned the win and Jonathan Broxton took the closer role for the night for his first save of the season with a 1-2-3 11th inning, striking out the final two batters to end the game.

The Dodgers and Dbacks are now both two games under .500, but a win tonight would put the Dodgers alone atop the NL West. Chad Billingsley will get the nod and face Dan Haren. Billingsley is 5-1 in his last 6 decisions, but has lost twice in both starts against Arizona this season. Haren is 8-5 and 2-1 lifetime against the Dodgers.

July 17, 2008

Dodgers Open Second Half with First-Place Division Rival

by @ 6:47 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers are just one game behind the Diamondbacks in first, but that lead could change this weekend as the Dodgers head to Phoenix to take on the Dbacks in a three game series. The Dodgers have dropped four of their last six, but a win on Friday could tie them for the NL West lead. 

The injury woes continue to haunt the Dodgers even into the second half, as closer Takashi Saito is out for at least six weeks. A sprained right ligament will sideline him for at least that long; Saito is also talking of shoulder surgery which would put a giant question mark on his return. Johnathan Broxton can easily fill Saito’s shoes as the closer, but that leaves uncertainly at who will be and who will successfully be the 8th inning man. Hong Chih Kuo is available for the spot, or Joe Beimel, but also Chan Ho Park, who could potentially be taken out of the rotation and brought to the bullpen.

A potential lead-tying win is in the hands of Hiroki Kuroda, who takes the mound in the first game of the second half, and looks to give the Dodgers a win after losing four of five to the Dbacks so far this season. Kuroda is 2-0 in his three starts since coming off the DL, including a near-perfect one-hitter on July 7. Kuroda will face lefty Doug Davis, who is 3-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Davis is 4-2 lifetime with a 1.33 ERA against the Dodgers.

July 16, 2008

Dodgers Need to Keep It Up In Second Half

by @ 6:05 pm. Filed under Dodgers Tickets

Only in the NL West can a .500 record mean playoff contention but the Dodgers are right there with the Diamondbacks.  With the All Star Game in the rear view mirror, the Dodgers hit the road for almost a week before coming home to take on the Nationals.  I’m hoping to get down to Chavez Ravine for the game but the Dodgers are always a tough ticket.  I wasn’t impressed with the selection at the Dodgers box office but after checking out some baseball ticket brokers, I was able to find some seats that I wanted.

July 7, 2008

Dodgers-Braves Preview

by @ 12:24 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers return home and open a series with the Braves tonight.

The Dodgers have won five of their last six and are just 1/2 game behind Arizona for the division lead. Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound and face rookie Jorge Compillo. Kuroda’s last outing after coming off the DL was near perfect, going seven shutout innings with only five hits. Compillo is 3-3 but is 1-3 in his last four starts and has never faced the Dodgers.

All-Star Updates

by @ 12:20 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Russell Martin is the Dodger’s only All-Star voted in this year.

This is Martin’s second straight NL All-Star appearance, though he will be backup to Cubs catcher Geovany Soto. Martin is the team leader of average, runs, walks, and on base percentage, and leads the NL in all of those categories for catchers. It will be Martin’s first time visiting or playing at Yankee Stadium, and likely his last before the Yankees move to their new stadium next year.

After the All-Star Game, the Dodgers will welcome back Brad Penny, who is expected to miss his starts before the All-Star break. Chan Ho Park will remain his replacement starter until Penny returns to the rotation later next week.

July 6, 2008

Dodgers Take Series, Move 1/2 Game Behind Dbacks

by @ 4:02 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers took a 5-2 loss on Saturday but came back for a win on Sunday to take the series against the Giants. The series win and Dbacks slump now puts the Dodgers just 1/2 game behind Arizona for the division lead.

The Dodgers put up an early lead Saturday, and if it stood they could’ve been atop the division by the day’s end. The Giants ended up coming back with five runs of their own, and Barry Zito kept the Dodgers scoreless after the first, retiring 13 straight at one point, and fanned the Dodgers 10 times out of their 11 total for the game. The two lone runs in the first came off Andre Ethier’s RBI-double.

Chan Ho Park put up a great effort filling in for Brad Penny. He gave up just one run on three hits through six innings. He left with a 1-1 tie but the Dodger bullpen blew it and gave Park the no-decision. Joe Beimel gave up the go-ahead run before Falkenborg gave up three more to get the blown save and the loss.

The Dodgers came back to take the series on Sunday with the help of the bullpen and Brian Falkenborg, who evened his record by getting the win for the game.

The Dodgers put up one in the first off James Loney’s RBI-double to score Andre Ethier. The Giants tied it in the bottom half but the Dodgers put up two more in the third to take the lead, including a single by starter Eric Stults. They added two more in the fifth off another double by Loney. Ethier ended up 3 for 4 with 2 runs and Loney 2 for 4 with 3 RBI. Andruw Jones, who is 0 for 9 since his return, and Nomar both rested in today’s rubber match.

Eric Stults lasted just four innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits. After the bullpen blew Saturday’s game, they came back to hold the Giants to just one run as Falkenborg went on to take the win, his first of the season. Stults’ throwing error in the first gave up the unearned run before he gave up a solo homerun in the fourth. Falkenborg, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Jonathan Broxton combined for four scoreless innings. Saito gave up two hits and a run in the ninth but still earned the save.

The Dodgers have now won five of their last six, and remain 1/2 game back in the division following Arizona’s win today.

July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July, Happy 4th Straight Win

by @ 6:30 am. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers were down 5-2 by the fourth but came back to beat the Giants 10-7, with the help of five (unearned) runs in the sixth.

The Dodger lineup saw Andruw Jones and Nomar back in it, with Jones going 0 for 5 with 4 K’s while Nomar went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. The Dodgers put up two in the third to tie it at 2-2 but the Giants then took a 5-2 lead in the fourth. Andre Ethier drove a solo shot in the fifth and was, for the second time in three games, a triple away from the cycle. The Dodgers then took the lead in the sixth by putting up five runs and added two more in the eighth and ninth innings, including a solo homerun by Andy LaRoche in the ninth. The Dodgers had seven doubles in the game, which is one away from tying the club record for a single game, including two each from Nomar and Russell Martin.

Derek Lowe finally got the run support he’s lacked all year. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits through five but still got the win, his sixth of the year. Hong-Chih Kuo had another perfect relief outing, striking out three in two innings. Saito went on to get his 15th save.

The Dodgers now have their second-best win streak of the year. Chan Ho Park will take the mound tonight in place of Brad Penny. Park is 4-2 in his appearances this year but holds a 1.20 ERA in his three starts. He will face veteran Barry Zito, who has had a rough year at 3-12 with an ERA that almost touches 6. Zito is 3-3 in seven starts against the Dodgers.

July 3, 2008

Dodgers-Giants Preview, with Nomar and Jones in the Lineup

by @ 5:09 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The Dodgers leave Houston after taking three of four from the Astros and head to San Fran to take on the Giants with two of their regulars back in the lineup.

Nomar wasn’t set to return until next week’s homestand, but after a three-game rehab stint in Las Vegas this week, he will be activated for tomorrow’s game. He will play at short in place of Rafael Furcal, who just underwent back surgery this morning. He is expected to miss at least eight weeks, which would set his return to late August, but it isn’t crazy to say that he may be out for the remainder of the season.

Andruw Jones will also be activated for tomorrow’s game, rejoining the team two weeks earlier than expected. Jones and Nomar’s return will prompt Torre to option two players to make room on the roster. Also, Brad Penny was a maybe for his scheduled start this Saturday, but it has been put off and Chan Ho Park will start on Saturday and Eric Stults on Sunday.

Friday’s matchup is Derek Lowe and Jonathan Sanchez. Lowe’s record of 5-8 doesn’t show many of the strong outings he has, he has lacked run support all season long. Sanchez is 8-4 and has won six of his last seven starts.

Billingsley Gives Dodgers Series Win

by @ 4:59 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Chad Billingsley gave up zero earned runs through eight innings as the Dodgers beat the Astros 5-2 to take the series and give themselves a three-game win streak before heading into San Francisco.

The Dodgers jumped on early with three in the first with an RBI-double by James Loney and a two-RBI-single by Blake DeWitt. Andre Ethier made it 4-0 in the third with his solo shot before Loney added his second hit of the game, a solo homerun in the sixth to cap the Dodgers at five runs.

Billingsley struck out five and gave up just six hits through eight to give him his eighth win. He gave up a pair of unearned runs in the fifth after Luis Maza, filling in for Jeff Kent who was taken out of the game, was charged with a fielding error. Saito had the tying run at the plate in the ninth but recovered to earn his 14th save and give the Dodgers the series win.

The Dbacks have now fallen back to .500 which puts the Dodgers just 1 1/2 games out of first in the division.

July 2, 2008

Kuroda Tosses Gem in His Return from DL

by @ 8:00 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

Hiroki Kuroda was activated just before Wednesday’s game for his first start in three weeks. To make room on the roster, Clayton Kershaw was optioned to Las Vegas after going 0-2 in eight starts for the Dodgers. Kershaw wasn’t happy about being sent down, but the attention soon shifted to Kuroda as he pitched seven shuout innings to lead the Dodgers to a 4-1 win over the Astros.

The Dodgers spanned all four of their runs in the first five innings. Jeff Kent had two RBI-doubles for the first two runs. In the fourth, Blake DeWitt singled, moved to third and scored on a squeeze by Luis Maza. Andre Ethier capped off the runs in the fifth with a leadoff solo homerun, his eighth of the year.

Kuroda proved that missing three weeks is no biggie, he allowed just five hits in his seven shutout innings. The lone Astro run was off Cory Wade in the ninth, a solo shot to Carlos Lee. Wade then closed out the inning to give the Dodgers the win and put them just 2 games behind the Dbacks.

The Dodgers have avoided a series loss, they can tie the series with a loss or take it with a win in tomorrow’s afternoon game. Chad Billingsley will face Brandon Backe. Billingsley has won his last three decisions and is looking to set his record over .500. Backe 5-8 with an ERA over 5.

Good News for Nomar, Jones, Penny; Bad for Furcal

by @ 1:39 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers

The injured plenty will see one making progress tonight as Hiroki Kuroda will make his first start in nearly three weeks.

Brad Penny also threw a simulated game of 50 pitches, and if all goes well he will be activated and ready to start Saturday’s game at San Francisco.

Andruw Jones and Nomar both made rehab starts for Las Vegas beginning on Monday. Jones homered in his first game at DH, and played center in Tuesday’s game. He should be ready to return after the All-Star Break.

Nomar played third on Monday and short on Tuesday in his rehab starts. He will likely be placed at short when he returns with the team, as word of Furcal’s return grows more bleak. Nomar should rejoin the team this weekend at San Francisco and be activated to play beginning for Monday’s homestand with the Braves.

The Dodgers and Dodger fans will love to see Nomar back at short, but that comes with a price: the continuing absence of Furcal. He played short on Monday and went 1 for 3 in four innings, but he awoke on Tuesday with pain in his lower back. He will be again sent back to LA for an exam, so word on his condition or date of return is still up in the air.

Kent’s 11th-Inning Shot Gives Dodgers the Win

by @ 1:26 pm. Filed under 2008 Dodgers, Uncategorized

The Dodgers blew a five-run lead to send the game to extras, but Jeff Kent drove a solo shot in the top of the 11th to lead the Dodgers to the win to even the series.

The offense got two in the first off Russell Martin’s two-run shot with Delwyn Young on base. They then scored one run in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th innings to make it 6-1. Martin ended up 3 for 5 with 3 runs and 3 RBI, Jeff Kent 2 for 4 with 2 BB’s and 2 RBI, James Loney 2 for 6, and leadoff man Matt Kemp 1 for 4 with 2 BB’s and an RBI. Kent’s one-out homerun with a 3-2 count put the Dodgers up 7-6 and Saito held the bottom half to give the Dodgers the win.

Clayton Kershaw’s eighth start in the big leagues failed again to give him his first win as he pitched in his home state. He was tagged for three runs on six hits through 5 2/3. Kershaw left in the sixth allowing just one runner to touch home, but he was tagged for two more runs when Brian Falkenborg came in and gave up a three-run shot to Ty Wigginton. Hong-Chih Kuo came in to escape the inning but Jonathan Broxton allowed Carlos Lee to get a 2-RBI double in the seventh to tie the game. Joe Beimel and Chan Ho Park then kept the A’s scoreless until Saito came in for the bottom half of the 11th with a one-run lead courtesy Jeff Kent, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to give the Dodgers the win and put them 2 1/2 above the Dbacks.

Hiroki Kuroda will get his first start tonight after spending three weeks on the DL. The bullpen was used heavily last night so the Dodgers will need some innings from Kuroda at the very least. He will face Runelvys Hernandez, who is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA this season.

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