Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kent rescues Dodgers from blown lead

It was a fast start for LA as they scored the first 5 runs of the game. By the end of the night, they had to do everything they could just to squeak out the victory.

Thankfully for the Dodgers, they had the right man up at the right time in Jeff Kent. With 2 down in the 9th and Andre Ethier on 2nd, Kent singled to center to score Ethier and take the lead, 7-6. Takashi Saito nailed the Marlins in order with 2 K's to seal the deal.

The night started off great against Andrew Martin, who looked completely lost. Russell Martin hit an RBI-single in the 1st to score Ethier for a quick 1-0 lead. The 2nd would bring 5 straight men reaching base starting with Derek Lowe hitting a single, all with 2 outs. Matt Kemp and Kent found good spots to place singles and a big 5-0 lead.

With Lowe on the mound, the hope was that this would be a cruise control victory. Instead, Bad Lowe took over. He was constantly struggling with his command, and when he did hit the zone, he was hammered. The middle of the order for the Fish of Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida, Jorge Cantu, and Luis Gonzalez (remember him?) all did the damage. About the only thing that went right during Florida's rally was that Hanley Ramirez got caught stealing twice. If he advances, who knows what the outcome would be.

Of course, it's hard to put all of the blame on Lowe, especially when he should've gotten through the 5th with no problems. But, with 2 down, James Loney botched the easiest ground ball ever, and the Marlins would tack on 3 unearned runs. Lowe still wasn't very good, but it's not all his fault.

As I said before, Kent was the perfect man to be at the plate in a big-game situation like he had in the 9th inning. He didn't try to kill the ball - he just made contact and let his team do the running. Very encouraging. I have to admit, I had plenty of feelings during the later innings that the Dodgers would somehow blow this one. They would have in the past. Winning this game against a pesky Marlins team is a great sign that the better ball they have been playing will keep up.

While I'm on this whole positivity thing, I hope Saito's save will at least quiet the idiotic critics who claim that Jonathan Broxton should now be the closer. Please. A couple of bad nights does not change the fact that Saito's still one of the top closers in the game. He had his stuff flowing tonight. Now shut up!

Chad Billingsley will look to make it 5 straight when he starts tomorrow against Scott Olsen. It'll be a good young guy matchup.

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