Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dodgers have that sweeping feeling

Whether the Dodgers are getting swept or are doing the sweeping, they sure don't seem to like doing things halfway. Unlike the start of the season, they were the aggressors this time around.

An RBI-single by Matt Kemp broke a 3-all tie in the 9th off of closer Kevin Gregg. An error by Gregg put another run on the board, and the Dodgers got another save from Takashi Saito to take the victory and 3-game sweep, 5-3.

Playing in a day game after a night game, it was another strange lineup set forth by Joe Torre. Mark Sweeney started for James Loney at 1st base and hit 4th. Chin-lung Hu played for Jeff Kent at 2nd base and hit 8th. I never, EVER, thought I'd say this before the season, but thank God Juan Pierre started in place on Andruw Jones. Gee, I really missed another fantastic 0-4 performance from Jones. Can't imagine why he'd sit...

After Hanley Ramirez doubled home Matt Treanor in the 3rd to start the scoring, Andre Ethier singled and scored Pierre to start the 4th. In the 5th with 1 out, Pierre laced a single into right-center to score Rafael Furcal and Hu for a 3-1 lead. That was short-lived when Cody Ross (former Dodger) cracked a 2-run shot to left for a 3-3 game.

Just like Tuesday night, the Marlins turned to Gregg to keep the score tied, and again he failed. A leadoff walk to Furcal was the worst thing he could have done. Pierre sacrificed Furcal to 2nd and Kemp hit him home for the lead. Saito K'd Jorge Cantu and Wes Helms in the 9th to get his 4th save.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched very well, save for the homer he gave up to Ross. He went 7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. It's unfortunate he didn't get the win, but he still had a great game. In fact, over these past 6 games, the pitching has held either the Rockies or Marlins to 3 runs or less in 4 of the 6 games. The other 2 games were high scoring, but the bats carried them through. It's great to see them gelling so well.

The Dodgers still don't hit home runs to save their lives, so if they want to win consistently, today's game is the blueprint on how it needs to be done. They could hit more home runs, if Andruw Jones could hit the damn ball... But forget it, that's just not going to happen, so I won't bother ranting. Rather, they will need to continue taking pitches to draw walks, moving runners along, stealing bases, and hitting singles and doubles to score them. That's the way they'll win.

Now, don't get me wrong, they have played great lately and deserve praise, but it's a little scary too. When you rarely hit home runs, you have to do a lot of work each night just to get a win. They've done that lately, but they could just as easily lose some games because of their lack of power. As I've stated in the past, I really hope the hitters give praise to their pitchers on a daily basis for playing so well. Starters and bullpen have all come through.

With that said, the Dodgers will look to make it 7 games straight when they visit Colorado Friday night. Brad Penny, coming off of 3 straight great starts and wins, will take the mound against Jeff Francis, who stymied the Dodgers his last start. Both of these guys are 2 of the tops in the NL, so it will be a fun matchup.

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