Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kuo and Loaiza tag team for win

Hong-Chih Kuo started off the game as a lost man that could not find the strike zone to save his life. With 2 outs and 1 runner on 1st, he walked the next 3 hitters to force in a run. After the fiasco the night before, it was not the best way to start the game. Fortunately, he K'd Jose Bautista to end the inning.

From there, it was all Dodgers. Down 1-0 in the 4th, they finally struck for 3 runs thanks to an Andre Ethier 2-run double and a single by James Loney. The 5th inning saw more big offense: run scoring single by Rafael Furcal, an RBI triple by Matt Kemp, and a 3-run shot launched by Jeff Kent. Russell Martin chipped in with his 1st homer of the season in the 8th to take the game, 11-2. Loney's hitting streak is now at 14 games, or every game to start the season.

The Dodgers certainly like to score in bunches - either it's a lot, or very little. The first 4 hitters in the order of Furcal, Kemp, Ethier, and Kent went 8-16, 8 R, HR, 2 2B, 3B, 7 RBI, 2 SB. Yes, I'd say that would qualify as a productive night. It took them 4 innings to get going, but once Matt Morris got through the order once, the onslaught began.

Andruw Jones went 2-3 with 2 runs, a walk, and a double. His average has now soured to... .149. Hey, it was .100 going into the Pittsburgh series. Is he finally breaking out of his slump? Well, he needs to show more of the power he's shown the last 2 games (triple and double) and possibly sprinkle in a home run to show that he's legit.

After Kuo's rough start, he was great. He ended at 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. He did not get the win, however. That went to Esteban Loaiza, who relieved and ended up pitching the rest of the game: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Maybe Torre was throwing Loaiza a bone since he wasn't too happy about being demoted to the bullpen. The funny thing is that he ended up getting the win anyway. This was more likely a case of building up Kuo's arm strength more than anything else. It's not like he'll only pitch 4 innings the rest of the year. It was an encouraging game all around.

Brad Penny takes the ball in the final game of the series against Paul Maholm. Penny's ERA is a respectable 3.86, but he really has not been sharp at all this season. His 1.61 WHIP would suggest that he's lucky to not have a sky-high ERA. He'll look to right the ship tonight.

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