Saturday, May 17, 2008

Angels win opener of Freeway Series

Joe Saunders pitched into the 8th inning, and the Dodgers were unable to muster much offense as the Angels took the first game of the 3-game set, 4-2. The win ups the all-time record for the Angels in this series at 36-27.

It was another makeshift lineup for the Dodgers, who did not have the services of Rafael Furcal (15-day DL) or Blake DeWitt (back spasms, day-to-day). With the DH in effect, Andruw Jones was placed there while Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp also got starts. Russell Martin got his 4th start at 3rd, Luis Maza filled in at SS, and Garry Bennett was at catcher. Not exactly the lineup envisioned by Joe Torre before the year started, but injuries will happen to every team.

Despite scoring 13 runs in the last 2 games, the bats were in sleep mode most of the game. The only noise was Ethier's 2-run shot in the 7th to cut the Angel lead to 3-2. The Angels answered right back when leadoff hitter Maicer Izturis walked, then went to 2nd and 3rd on wild pitchers. Vlad Guerrero hit a grounded to Martin, who tried to gun Izturis out at home, but the throw was one-hopped and could not be handled.

The 4 hitters of Pierre-Jones-Kemp-Kent went a combined 0-15. Kind of hard to belief that they were still in the game with those kind of lousy numbers. Not too surprising, though. Pierre was hitting as high as .324 on May 5, but has plummeted to .287 since. Jones hit a homer yesterday to raise his power numbers to a dramatic 2 HR and 7 RBI. Kemp was NL Player of the Week for April 27-May 4 and was hitting .324, now he's down to .302. And for the first time, Kent is definitely showing his age by hitting a putrid .236. Man do they miss Furcal now more than ever.

Hiroki Kuroda tried his best, but plagued by a lack of run support yet again, he was practically in a no win situation. He finished at 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. He also had those 2 wild pitches to Izturis that lead to another run. The first run he gave up was unearned because he struck out Eric Aybar in the dirt, but Bennett threw the ball into right field on the throw to 1st, allowing Casey Kotchman to walk home. Weird play.

Now here's a number that's absolutely staggering - and not in a good way, unfortunately. In their last 28 road interleague games, the Dodgers have won a grand total of 4 GAMES. 4!!! Wow, that's really, really pathetic. I had no idea it was that bad. They are 3-15 in Anaheim in the last 18 meetings. Their next road interleague series isn't until June 13-15 in Detroit, and while the Tigers haven't been playing well, they still have loads of talent. The Dodgers simply cannot afford to roll over and play dead like that if they want to be considered a serious threat in the playoffs.

It's a Fox game this afternoon, and Chan Ho Park will receive his first start of the season against Ervin Santana, who's pitched outstanding this season. It's a well-deserved start for Park, as he has played a big role in getting key outs from the bullpen. Hopefully he can keep the game close because runs will be at a premium against Santana.

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