Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Early lead can't hold up in Houston

The Dodgers looked like they were well on their way to their 9th straight win by posting 3 runs in the 1st. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound, things were looking good.

Unfortunately, Kershaw got pounded by the top of the Astros' order as the Astros took this one, 8-5. The loss is the first one since April 10 in Arizona. Can't complain about that.

Russ Ortiz was on the mound for the Astros, and it sure looked like a long night would be in store for him right away. Consecutive walks to Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson paved the way for Manny Ramirez, who singled home Raffy. After Andre Ethier advanced both runners on a groundout, James Loney scored Hudson on an RBI groundout. Russell Martin singled home Manny, and it was 3-0.

Kershaw never really could get going, as the top of the order consisting of Kaz Matsui, Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee gave him all sorts of fits. Berkman's RBI single in the 1st cut it to 3-1, but Kershaw got through the 2nd unscathed.

That would all change in the 3rd on an RBI double by Tejada, and a 2-run homer by Lee to make it 4-3. Tejada added an 2-run single in the 4th for a 6-3 lead. Kershaw would finish at 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. I think it's safe to say that at his young age, he's not as good as he showed in his last start against the Rockies, but not nearly as bad as this start would indicate. He'll have his peaks and valleys along the way, as we saw last night.

After the Astros pushed it to 7-3 in the 6th, the Dodgers made it a game again when Manny jacked out his 3rd of the year, which was a 2-run shot to make it 7-5. Kaz Matsui's single made it 8-5, but the Dodgers were not done yet.

In the 9th, Raffy reached on an error from closer Jose Valverde and O-Dog singled. That set the stage for Manny as the tying run, but he just missed hitting another one out, reaching the warning track in right. James Loney and Martin K'd to end the game.

While the Dodgers did blow a 3 run lead, it was good to see them battle back late in the game. It seems like anything can happen in that ballpark, so no lead is considered safe. Ramon Troncoso pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless ball, so that's good to see him maybe becoming more reliable.

Randy Wolf takes the mound against his old team from last season. He's opposed by Roy Oswalt, who's off to a slow start after a very shaky stint in the World Baseball Classic. Let's hope he doesn't figure it all out by tonight because when he does, he's hard to handle.

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