Sunday, May 18, 2008

Park and Kuo team up for win

Chan Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo pitched 8 huge innings, and Blake DeWitt homered to help the Dodgers beat the Angels, 6-3. The loss for the Halos gives Ervin Santana his first blemish of the season.

Let's start off with Park. When Esteban Loaiza went down with right shoulder tightness, the 5th starter spot was again up for grabs. I'm sure many people were hoping that young Clayton Kershaw would be given the call-up. Instead, the Dodgers chose to reward Park for his good pitching out of the 'pen. I said it was a good move at the time since he deserved a shot.

Thankfully, he made me look pretty good. He threw 82 pitches over 4 innings, gave up 2 runs (1 earned), and K'd 3. Long relief specialist Kuo came in and was absolutely lights out yet again. He also pitched 4 innings, gave up 3 hits, no runs, and K'd 4. His work out of the bullpen has been nothing short of fantastic. With these strong performances, Park's ERA is 2.17, and Kuo's 2.40.

Of course, as is the case quite often with the Dodgers, getting enough offense would be the issue. For yesterday, it wasn't. Andruw Jones walked with 2 down in the 2nd (he can't hit, but at least he has 20 walks, 2nd on the team). DeWitt then hit one out to right, and it was a 2-0 advantage.

The 4th inning saw 2 more runs on RBI-singles by Andre Ethier and Russell Martin. The Angels began to battle back in the bottom half of the frame thanks in large part to a James Loney throwing error and a Maicer Izturis fielder's choice RBI, cutting the lead to 4-2.

The Dodgers were able to add another run in the 7th when Russell Martin got caught in a rundown trying to steal 2nd, and Juan Pierre hustled home. With 2 down in the 8th, DeWitt doubled and scored on a single by Luis Maza.

What's satisfying about a win like this is that the bottom of the order contributed in a big way. DeWitt homered and doubled, driving in 2 and scoring 2; Maza had 2 hits and 1 RBI; Chin-lung Hu walked and scored a run. At the top of the order, Pierre was 0-4, but was hit by a pitch and reached on an error, and scored both times.

The rubber game is today with Derek Lowe taking the mound instead of Brad Penny. Penny was scratched with arm stiffness, but could just be pushed back a day. Neither one of these 2 have done jack squat lately, so they need to get it going.

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