Saturday, April 18, 2009

7th inning rally gives the Dodgers 6 straight

The night did not start off so well for the Dodgers, who found themselves in a quick 3-0 hole. An RBI double by Garrett Atkins, and a 2-run homer by Brad Hawpe with a full count and 2 down signified a possible long night. And it was, for a while anyway.

It took until the 7th inning before the Dodgers could finally cash in with runners on base. The 2 table setters, Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson, once again reached base with nobody down. Manny Ramirez was up, and we all know he hasn't jacked one out yet. He still didn't this at-bat, but he did drive in Raffy with a single. Matt Kemp hit a slow grounder to short to plate Hudson to make it 3-2.

With 1 on and 1 down, Andre Ethier was given another chance to get a big hit. Earlier in the game, he struck out with 2 on, popped up with 1 on, and again stuck out with 2 on. Uh, not exactly a memorable night. He came through this time, though, with a long double to center to tie the game at 3. After Russell Martin K'd, Mark Loretta, getting the start at 1st for James Loney with the lefty Jorge De La Rosa on the mound, delivered an RBI single to left and grab the 4-3 lead.

The Dodgers certainly didn't just cruise to the victory after that. Hong-Chih Kuo came on and proceeded to load the bases with 1 down on a double and 2 walks. I'm not sure what the heck is going on with him, but it's a concern because that's his 2nd lousy appearance in a row after normally being lights-out. With his history of arm problems, I've got to wonder if he's healthy. I sure hope I'm just overreacting, but I can't help it.

With 1 down and the bases juiced, Joe Torre channeled his Yankee days, giving the ball to Jonathan Broxton, ala Mariano Rivera back in the day. How did the new closer respond in a tight situation? Strikeouts of Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta to end the threat.

Broxton got 2 more K's in the 9th to completely overwhelm the Rockies and get the 5-out save. For those of you doubting whether he could handle the transition from setup man to closer, I think that's an emphatic "YES." That was just plain awesome.

Randy Wolf struggled in the 1st, then threw 5 great innings after that to finish at 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. I made fun of De La Rosa yesterday, but despite allowing 9 runners in 5.1 IP, he found ways to get out of trouble. With a lack of power, the Dodgers showed how hot and cold they can be.

With 12 men left of base, it wasn't pretty to watch for awhile. I talked about Ethier already, but he redeemed himself with a big double late. Poor James Loney. He didn't start, but did pinch-hit and looked completely lost. Still down 3 in the 6th, he came on with 2 runners on and grounded into a DP. Then with 2 on in the 7th after getting the lead, he still grounded out to end the inning. I know he doesn't have much power, but he grounds into way too many double plays. He's a good player, don't get me wrong, but I can't exactly say I'd want him up in a situation where there could be a DP.

The Dodgers will look for 7 in-a-row by giving the ball to Chad Billingsley, exactly the kind of a guy you'd want to extend this thing. It's a Fox game today, so enjoy it to those of you that can. I'll be watching the Yankees-Indians in the new ballpark.

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