Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Like they've done all season, the Dodgers find a way to win

For 12 innings, the highlight of the Dodgers' offensive night was a two-run single by Randy Wolf. As for the regular players, they did pretty much next to nothing.

That all changed in the 13th inning, when Andre Ethier continued his power surge by stepping up and cranking a walk-off two-run homer to give the Dodgers a big win over the resurgent Rockies, 4-2.

Every member of the starting lineup should go thank Randy Wolf and the long list of relievers that kept the game even for a long time. Trust me, this was not an easy game to watch from an offensive standpoint. There were a lot of bad at-bats that made a loss seem inevitable. Thankfully that didn't happen.

The game was cruising along scoreless until the fifth inning. Brad Hawpe singled to center to lead off. One out later, Ryan Spilborghs hit one out to left center, and it was 2-0. Before this inning, the Rockies only had one hit.

The Dodgers fought back in the bottom half, but with a little help. Matt Kemp singled and Russell Martin was given the intentional walk with two down. With Randy Wolf up, Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez was called for a balk that advanced both runners. It looked like Wolf tried to call time, which caused Jimenez to stop in the middle of his delivery. But, time was never called, so it was a balk.

That same at-bat, Wolf took a breaking ball into left field to a two-run single that tied it at two. Not the most likely way of scoring, but the Dodgers took it.

From there, it was a combination of good pitching and missed opportunities for both sides. Wolf and Jimenez did their parts. Wolf went six innings, giving up two runs, four hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Jimenez lasted seven innings, giving up two runs, five hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Good effort by both men.

As for the Dodgers' bullpen, they were simply brilliant. Seven guys pitched seven innings without giving up a run on only two hits. Even more impressive were the 13 strikeouts they gathered. That's just awesome.

The most interesting inning was the 10th when Jeff Weaver found himself in trouble. Spilborghs started with a double that skipped past Kemp in center. Chris Iannetta singled to put two runners on. When things looked bleak, Weaver then struck out the side. Talk about dramatics.

The bottom of the 10th was also a great opportunity for the Dodgers to end the game. Juan Pierre singled, was sacrificed over to second, then stole third. But, Orlando Hudson and Ethier could not come through, and on we went.

With the Rockies unable to get anything going, the Dodgers finally put the game to bed in the 13th. All it took was a leadoff single by Casey Blake before Ethier's homer ended it. As the Rockies continue to play very well, this turned out to be a good win.

Ethier's shot marked the ninth walk-off hit for the Dodgers this season. They still haven't lost three games in a row, the only team in the majors to have done that. Like my headline says, they yet again found a way to win when all looked lost.

Chad Billingsley will take on Jason Marquis in a battle of pitchers with nine wins. Billingsley hasn't been able to hold a lead his last two starts, so he'll look to bounce back. Marquis has had some really good games - and some really horrible ones. Both men will look to get to double-digit wins tonight.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bats go quiet in weekend struggle

I think the Dodgers were still suffering the effects of facing King Felix.

A day after Felix Hernandez completely handcuffed the Dodgers, Garrett Olsen pitched five strong innings, and the bullpen was practically hitless as the Mariners won, 4-2. The Dodgers could only gather three runs and 10 hits in both losses this weekend.

Hiroki Kuroda was the starter for L.A., and he never really seemed to find his groove. The Mariners were only able to score in the second and third, but it was enough to hold up.

In the second, Jose Lopez singled with one down, then stole second. The aggressive baserunning turned out to be a good thing for them, and Franklin Gutierrez singled to center to make it 1-0.

The third is when the Mariners made their mark, much like the night before. Ichiro singled with one down, followed by another one from Russell Branyan. The former Dodger Adrien Beltre, who's due for shoulder surgery which will sideline him for two months on Tuesday, singled home a run for the 2-0 lead.

Kuroda got Ken Griffey Jr. to pop up for two outs. Then he tried to pick off Branyan at second, and ended up launching it into center, advancing Branyan to third. It really didn't matter, as Lopez double over the outstretched arms of Matt Kemp to score two and make it 4-0.

The Dodgers made a run in the fifth by cutting the lead in half. Kemp lead off with a solo home run, his 10th of the season. Juan Castro, starting for Rafael Furcal, singled next. Kuroda sacrificed him over to second with a good bunt. Juan Pierre then hit a single as well, and runners were on the corners with one down.

Andre Ether was able to plate a run with a sac-fly RBI to make it 4-2. Orlando Hudson then grounded out, and the threat was over.

The sixth inning and on were obsolete, as both bullpens did a fine job. Unfortunately, the Mariners were the ones with the lead, so they got the win. Their 'pen of Miguel Batista, Mark Lowe, and David Aardsma went four innings and gave up only one measly hit.

The loss was a rare one for the Dodgers at home, who still have a fantastic 26-12 mark at Chavez Ravine. But, they've now dropped four of their last five overall, something we're not used to seeing. A baseball season is full of peaks and valleys, and the Dodgers are going through a small valley right now. It happens. The key is to make sure it doesn't happen a lot.

The Dodgers now welcome the Rockies into town, and they've been absolutely sensational in the month of June, going 20-6. To put in perspective just how great they've played, they started June with three straight losses. Then they ran off 17 of 18. Wow. Give old Dodger manager Jim Tracy plenty of credit - he's pushed all the right buttons.

Thankfully, the Dodgers avoid Aaron Cook, who's won five in a row. I'm sure they don't feel bad about that. Randy Wolf goes Monday night in the first game against Ubaldo Jimenez.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ethier's 3 homers breaks power slump

Andre Ethier hasn't hit much of anything lately. Coming into Friday night's game, his last home run was on June 9 against the Padres, in which he hit two. Since then, he only has two extra-base hits.

Apparently seeing the Mariners in town was all it took to put an emphatic end to the power outage.

Ethier cranked three homers, all of them no-doubters, to help lift the Dodgers to an 8-2 win. With the win, the Dodgers have still not had a three-game losing streak this season.

It all started in the second. Casey Blake doubled to lead off, and James Loney followed with a single. After an out, Ethier hit a three-run shot to right field, and it was 3-0.

Jose Lopez did his best to keep the Mariners in the game, as he hit a couple of RBI singles, one in the fourth and the other in the sixth. Too bad it little to dent the Dodgers' lead.

Up 3-1 now, Casey Blake hit a solo home run to lead off the fourth. That's his 11th of the year, and first since June 14. Like Ethier, he too has suffered a power slump. The difference is that he's been getting hits anyway, as his average starting the month was .300, and is now .301.

Ethier's night would only get bigger in the sixth. He absolutely crushed one into the stands in right, a two-run shot that made it 7-2. To top it off, he hit another one out in the eighth, this one a solo shot to close the scoring.

As I was watching the Dodgers-White Sox game the other day, I believe it was Steve Lyons who pointed out that Ethier has way too good a swing to be in such a slump. Last night, he showed how good he can be when he's on. He'll never be a huge home run threat, but he certainly can pack a punch. With Manny Ramirez's impending return, getting a guy like Ethier back on track will only make the offense a much bigger threat.

Lost in all of the Ethier hype was the great night by Clayton Kershaw. He lasted six innings, giving up two runs, five hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. His stuff was electric, as the Mariners never looked comfortable. Oh, and he also hit an RBI single. I'd say it was a pretty good night.

Eric Milton has been activated off the DL and will start for the first time since June 5. He's gotten the job done with an ERA of 2.89, but his 1.55 WHIP means that he's playing with fire way too much. We'll see if he can figure that out today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Billingsley can't hold lead as Dodgers fall in 13

A 3-0 mark in the month of June would suggest that Chad Billingsley is doing just fine. But, a deeper look into his numbers tells a different story.

Spotted a 4-0 lead in the fifth, Billingsley let it slip away over the next two innings. A combination of giving up huge hits (two homers and a triple) along with a lack of control cost him. The White Sox would eventually go on to take this one in 13 innings, 5-4.

With the loss, the Dodgers dropped their first series in a month, with their last one losing two of three from the Angels May 22-24. Any way you slice it, those are some pretty impressive stats.

A three-run homer by A.J. Pierzynski on a full count put the Sox up in the sixth, 5-4. The funny part to all of this is that Billingsley was actually cruising through the opening four innings without allowing a hit. It sure looked like it would be a good day for the Dodgers, but that quickly changed.

The Dodgers bounced back in the seventh to tie the game at five, where it would stay for awhile. Russell Martin reached on a throwing error by Alexei Ramirez with one out. Orlando Hudson singled to move Martin to third. Casey Blake hit an RBI groundout to tie it.

As for the rest of the game, there's really not a whole lot to say for the Dodgers, as their offense went into the toilet. After Hudson's single in the seventh, they went the rest of the game without getting another hit. That would be six innings worth of flailing away. So they pretty much didn't deserve this one anyway.

The end came in the 13th with Jeff Weaver on the mound. Two singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases with nobody out. But, Weaver got the next two on flyouts to Matt Kemp in center. Scott Podsednik then lined a single just out of the reach of Kemp that ended the game.

Back to Billingsley, and it appears that he's hit a June swoon. As I said before, he may be 3-0, but the numbers aren't that good for him. The 3.82 ERA is high for him, and a 1.40 WHIP is just way too high.

His strikeouts have also gone down, as he only has three each his last three games. It seems to me that batters are being more patient with him and letting him lose control, rather than chasing out of the strike zone.

The next start for Bills comes next Tuesday home against Colorado, who are scorching hot right now. A big game by him would be a step in the right direction, and it all starts with maintaining control of his stuff as the game wears on.

After playing in a long, extra inning game the day before, the Dodgers quickly turn around and start a three-game set with the Mariners to wrap up Interleague play for 2009. The confusing thing to all of this is that I've read both Clayton Kershaw and Eric Milton will start. More seem to be saying Kershaw, so I'll go with him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A strong effort by Kuroda in win

Hiroki Kuroda nearly pitched a complete game, James Loney hit a two-run homer, and the Dodgers continued their winning ways in Interleague by beating the White Sox, 5-2.

The Dodgers wasted no time in setting the tone in this game. As they've done so frequently already this year, they got on the board in the first. With one down, Rafael Furcal hit a ground rule double. Orlando Hudson followed with a double of his own, and just like that, it was 1-0.

The lead was stretched out to 3-0 in the second. Matt Kemp walked to lead off. Loney then blasted one out to right, his fifth of the year. That's two games in a row with a two-run homer, and he now has three home runs in his last four. The Dodgers will pretty much take any power they can get, so it's good to see.

Paul Konerko connected on a solo shot with one out in the second to make it 3-1. Konerko was once a Dodger, if you recall. He was part of the horrible Jeff Shaw deal. I have no clue how many saves Shaw ended up getting, but he was awful. So ya, I'm still not a big fan of that deal, even if it was 11 years ago.

Anyway, Kuroda was just brilliant after that. After Jermaine Dye's one out single in the fourth, Kuroda didn't give up a hit until the ninth. On the night, he pitched 8 and 2/3 innings, giving up two runs, four hits, nine strikeouts, and most importantly, no walks.

He had a great shot at a complete game after getting the first two hitters to open the ninth, but gave up back-to-back hits for a run. That allowed Jonathan Broxton to get the easy save, K'ing Jim Thome to finish the deal.

The game was still close at 3-1 entering the eighth, but Casey Blake made sure it was stretched out. Mitch Jones doubled and Hudson walked off of reliever Matt Thorton, bringing Octavio Dotel in. Blake greeted him with a two-run single.

By the way, the bases were loaded again in the eighth. Kemp struck out. But the Dodgers won anyway, so I'll let that one go.

The White Sox are only 33-37, including 16-19 at home. So it's not like this was a huge win. But the Dodgers haven't won their in 50 years... literally. It was the 1959 World Series when it last happened. Hence, the long wait is over.

Randy Wolf has given up only one run in his last 11 innings, both Interleague starts (Rangers and A's). Of course, he received no-decisions in both, something he's become very good at. So maybe tonight it will be win #4.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kobe likes watching the Dodgers take the Freeway Series

Before the game even started, the Dodgers got a bit of luck on their side - Kobe Bryant showed up behind their dugout. His good vibes must have rubbed off, as the Dodgers got a big win to claim the Freeway Series, 5-3.

The win was especially big for young Clayton Kershaw, who showed the kind of dominance that can become a staple of his for years to come. He pitched seven shutout innings, giving up four hits, four walks, and five strikeouts. It seems like he's either brilliant or lousy, and the last two starts have been the former with 12 and 2/3 scoreless innings.

Both Kershaw and John Lackey held the offenses in check over the beginning four innings. Of course, the Dodgers loaded the bases in the fourth, and in following with their tradition of taking a walk or not getting a hit, they didn't get a hit. At least James Loney lined out to third rather than striking out.

Juan Pierre had a big night, and it all started in the fifth. Matt Kemp lead off with a single and advanced on Brad Ausmus' bunt. Pierre then laced a double to right to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

The bottom of the fifth was the Angels' biggest chance to score, but they came up empty. Kershaw loaded the bases with nobody down on two walks and a fielder's choice that was botched. Bobby Abreu could've really made his mark on this game...

...and he did, by grounding into a double play, pitcher to home to first. Torii Hunter then popped out, and it was a huge bullet dodged. Kershaw cruised after that.

More runs were tacked on, starting with another RBI double by Pierre in the seventh to go up 2-0. Loney just hit a two-run homer that was held up by video replay to make it 4-0 in the eighth. Casey Blake's RBI single in the ninth was another insurance run.

Jonathan Broxton was asked to get a four-out save, and it wasn't an easy ride. Hunter's RBI double and Juan Rivera's run-scoring single slashed it to 5-3. Blake made a nice stop of a hot grounder from Matt Napoli to end the game.

After dropping Friday's game, one in which they had every chance to win, it's once again to the Dodgers' credit to fight back and win. To say they've had very little success in Anaheim would be an understatement. Watching them get two of three was fantastic.

A day off comes Monday, followed by more Interleague play in Chicago against the White Sox. Hiroki Kuroda looked for his second win of the year on Tuesday. He also looks to get back on track after two bad starts.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jeff is the better Weaver on this night

The Battle of the Weavers wasn't quite the pitching duel that people thought it could be, but that was okay for Jeff. The older Weaver gave up two runs in five innings, and a two-run triple by Andre Ethier was the big blow as the Dodgers won, 6-4.

The Angels tacked on a couple of runs in the first two innings. A single by Chone Figgins and a throwing error by Jeff put him at third to start the game. Bobby Abreu, kind of an unusual choice for a #2 hitter, singled him home for the quick lead.

Kendry Morales lead off the second with a solo shot to make it 2-0. The younger Weaver cruised through the first six batters in the order.

The third is when something monumental happened: Russell Martin hit a home run. Yes, I did just say that. It wasn't a cheap one either, as he launched one to left to make it 2-1. Kudos to the Dodgers' dugout for giving him the silent treatment at first. I love seeing that!

That homer ignited the Dodgers, as they took over the game after that. Still in the third, the bases got loaded with one down on walks to Matt Kemp and Rafael Furcal, and a single by Juan Pierre. A sac-fly RBI by Orlando Hudson, something he couldn't do the previous night, made it tied at two.

The fifth is when the Dodgers broke it open, all with two outs. With James Loney on first and Hudson on second, Casey Blake hit an RBI single to make it 3-2. The big blow was Ethier's triple that scored both, and it was 5-2.

A wild pitch scored Martin to tack on another run in the sixth. Gary Matthews Jr. took Jonathan Broxton deep for a two-run homer in the ninth, and that was it for scoring.

Give Jeff plenty of credit here, as it sure looked like Jared would get the better of him after two innings. Jeff didn't walk anybody over five innings, striking out four. The no walks is something Chad Billingsley could learn from. He let his defense do their job, and it worked.

Once again, Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso were great. How good was Belisario? All five of his outs were strikeouts. Wow.

About the only bad spot was Broxton's ninth, but he's still battling a sore right big toe. And when I say big, I mean really, really BIG. Seriously, just imagine that thing. Yikes.

I'm glad Martin has finally gotten on the board with a longball. A 3-for-4 night raised his average to .249. He's 5-for-9 his last three games, so maybe things are starting to click for him. His average is still only .173 in June, so it's not like it can get much worse.

The final game of the Freeway Series for 2009 is on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Clayton Kershaw will take on John Lackey. Kershaw was great in a no-decision against the A's last start. Lackey has pitched 21 straight scoreless innings against the Dodgers at home.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blown chances doom Dodgers

A 4-1 lead heading into the sixth inning was not big enough for the Dodgers, as the Angels surged ahead to claim the 5-4 win. It was a game marked by many great defensive plays for the Dodgers, as well as missed opportunities at the plate.

The first run came in the second when Russell Martin singled, Mitch Jones was hit by a pitch, and Rafael Furcal walked to load the bases. It seems like this happens to the Dodgers quite often, which is obviously a good thing. But, as my friend pointed out to me during the the game, "They'd have 10 less wins if it wasn't for the bases loaded walk." Probably true.

So naturally, that's the only way they scored. Orlando Hudson popped up to second for two down, but Casey Blake drew a close walk. Still loaded, Andre Ethier grounded out.

"Bad" Vlad Guerrero tied it up in the third with an RBI single to right, scoring Chone Figgins. I've had Vlad in my keeper fantasy league since 2002, and it's nice to know he's still alive. With one homer and 10 RBIs, it's safe to say I'm leaning towards letting him go for next year. Just a thought.

The Dodgers reclaimed the lead via the long ball, something I don't get to say too much. James Loney took a hanging breaking ball and crushed it over the right field fence to go up 2-1. In the fifth, Raffy hit a two-run shot for the 4-1 lead. It was his first homer since June 6, which happened to tie the game in the ninth against the Phillies.

With Chad Billingsley on the mound, it sure looked like it would be a good night for L.A. And it was... for the posers that claim they play in that city, when they actually really don't.

Billingsley went back to some old habits, as he gave up two walks and a single to load the bases with one down. His control was never really there, and he paid for it. A single by Maicer Izturis scored a couple, and a sac-fly RBI by Matt Napoli tied the game at four. Just like that, we were back to even.

In the eighth, the Dodgers again had the bases loaded, and again couldn't get that big hit. Juan Pierre fouled out to third to end the threat. In the bottom half, Juan Rivera worked a long at-bat to eventually hit the game-winning homer to left off of Guillermo Mota, putting the Angels up for good.

Up eight games in the NL West, the Dodgers obviously can afford to drop some games like this. Still, this is one they should've had, with their top pitcher on the mound and a three run lead. The defense did its part, highlighted by a third to first to shortstop double play to end the second, and an incredible diving catch by Blake with the bases loaded the next inning.

But Billingsley ended up walking five in six innings, which is way too many. The bats left 11 on base, with seven in scoring position and two outs. You have to think that with just one more big hit, the Dodgers could've claimed this one.

Today's game will be the battle of the Weaver brothers, Jeff and Jared. Jeff gets the spot start with Eric Milton and Eric Stults still on the DL. Hopefully older bro will help the Dodgers get only their fifth win in their last 22 games at Angel Stadium.

Torre now 5th all-time in wins

The Dodgers used solid pitching from Randy Wolf and a pinch-hit go-ahead single from Mark Loretta in the seventh to get the win over the A's, 3-2. The win now places the great Joe Torre on fifth in the all-time wins list with 2,195, passing Sparky Anderson.

It was a typical Dodger-like win: good starting pitching, solid bullpen work, and big hits when needed. That's the formula that was carried the Dodgers to a Major League-best 44-23.

Kurt Suzuki grounded into a double play in the first, but got some revenge in the third. With two down and two on, he doubled to left to score Bobby Crosby and take the 1-0 lead.

There were plenty of chances to score in the second for the Dodgers, as Casey Blake and Andre Ethier began with singles each. With one down, James Loney was given the intentional pass to load the bases. Russell Martin got good wood on one, but lined right to Orlando Cabrera at short. Wolf then struck out, and that was that.

Orlando Hudson took matters into his own hands the next inning, launching a solo shot to center to knot the game at one. It was his fifth of the year.

Martin mustered an infield hit to start the fifth, as he'll take just about anything these days with an average hovering in the .230s. Wolf sacrificed him over to second, and Juan Pierre's RBI single pushed the Dodgers in the lead, 2-1.

An old friend came back to haunt the Dodgers in the seventh, as Nomar Garciaparra pinch-hit for starter Vin Mazzaro and hit an RBI single to tie the game at two. Brent Leach relieved Cory Wade and got a big double play ball off Adam Kennedy's bat to keep the game even.

It didn't take long for the Dodgers to claim the lead for good, as Loney hit a ground rule double with one out in the seventh. After Martin walked, Loretta came on and scored Loney on a single to make it 3-2. That was all the Dodgers would need on this night.

Jonathan Broxton was unavailable with a sore toe (that must be one huge toe), so it was up to the rest of the 'pen to get the win. Ronald Belisario came on in the eighth and got the side in order. He started the ninth and got Jason Giambi to fly out, but then surrendered a single.

No sweat, said Ramon Troncoso, as he got Ryan Sweeney got ground into the game-ending double play. That's hit fourth save of the year.

The Dodgers aren't exactly known for their stellar Interleague play, but they just took two of three from the A's, to along with a series win in Texas a week ago. So hopefully the days of being slapped around by the American League are over.

Next up is another Freeway Series, won last time by the Angels. Chad Billingsley had a great start last Sunday in Texas, and he'll look to get his 10th win of the season.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Manny's Minors stint could come next week

Manny Ramirez is closer to returning to the field, as he may make a rehab assignment sometime next week. The destination talked about would be Single-A San Bernardino.

The trick in all of this is that he may not actually be in San Bernardino. The California League All-Star break is from Monday-Wednesday. Then, they hit the road to nearby Lake Elsinore until Saturday, then return home. So who knows when and if that'll happen.

For those of you who don't know, he's allowed to play in up to 10 games in the Minors if he chooses, as are the rules of Major League Baseball. I'm not sure I totally agree with that, but that's what it is.

Now, there's plenty of jokes that can be made about Manny making a "rehab" assignment, but I won't go there...

Early hole too much for Dodgers

Down 4-0 after three innings, the Dodgers found themselves doing what they've done so well this year already: staging a comeback. Despite making a late run, there just wasn't enough gas in the tank, as the A's held on to win, 5-4.

Of course, the Dodgers may not have been in this game at all had it not been for three Oakland errors. All four runs scored were unearned, something that you don't see very often when looking at a box score.

Hiroki Kuroda was making his fifth start of the season, and he never got going. His stuff looked flat all night, and the A's took advantage. Overall, he finished with five innings pitched, seven hits, five runs, and two strikeouts. After putting together two strong performances coming back from the DL, he's been roughed up his last two. Still, I'm not worried. He's a good pitcher, so just give him some time.

Matt Holliday got the scoring going in the first with an RBI groundout. In the third, Rajai Davis hit a towering solo shot to go up two, and Jack Cust hit a two-run bomb to go up 4-0.

Much like the night before, the Dodgers couldn't score early. They had their chances, though. In the first, starter Trevor Cahill got the first two outs, then proceeded to walk the bases loaded on 12 straight balls.

Andre Ethier worked a 3-0 count, then Cahill finally threw a strike. The next pitch, Ethier popped up in front of the plate, and that was it. Opportunity lost, big time.

Matt Kemp made some noise of his own in the second with a single, a steal of second, and a steal of third. But... it didn't matter. He was stranded.

It took until the fifth for the Dodgers to get on the board, and that was thanks to an error with two down by Adam Kennedy off the bat of Rafael Furcal. Orlando Hudson singled to center, and it was 4-1.

The A's added a big insurance run in the sixth, which turned out to be the winning run. With two outs, Orlando Cabrera, the guy who almost signed with the Dodgers before Hudson did, singled home Holliday to make it 5-1.

I would say the Dodgers' bats got them back into the game, but that would only be a half-truth. Cabrera's error to open the bottom of the sixth put Casey Blake on first, who then went to third on Ethier's double. A sac-fly RBI by Kemp made it 5-2, but that was all the Dodgers could muster.

So we move ahead to the seventh, where Raffy walked to lead off. O-Dog then reached base on... you guessed it, an error, this time by Cust. Blake singled one out later to load 'em up. Ethier delivered this time, unlike the first, with a two-run single, and it suddenly 5-4.

With new life, Kemp came up, who was the hero from the night before. Maybe the Baseball Gods knew the Dodgers really had no business winning this game, because Kemp grounded into a double play to end the inning. Pierre grounded into another DP to end the game.

Errors or not, the Dodgers still got key hits late in the game with men on, but also blew plenty of other chances throughout. In all, there were 10 men left on base. But, closing out the last two innings with double plays were just killer. It's hard to win when that happens.

The rubber match is tonight, and it'll be Randy Wolf on the mound. He's been up and down lately, but did pitch five shutout innings in Texas last start.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More roster shuffling

In: A.J. Ellis and Mitch Jones

Out: Blake DeWitt (again) and Jamie Hoffmann

The reason? The Dodgers want DeWitt and Hoffmann to play everyday as they continue their development in Triple-A Albuquerque.

Ellis is supposed to be there until the eventual return of Eric Stults, who might be back from the DL this Sunday. That's already happened to Ellis once this year, as he was up temporarily before Hiroki Kuroda was back from the injured list.

The story for Jones is a good one, as he's a 31-year-old journeyman with no big league experience. He was promoted by the Yankees under Joe Torre in 2006, but never entered the game. In fact, he didn't even get to take batting practice, as it was rained out that day. With plenty of doubt whether he'd ever make it back or not, it finally happened.

He entered Tuesday night's game against the A's as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, but struck out. Oh well. With 21 home runs for Albuquerque this season, maybe he'll get a long ball soon.

Another one-run game? No sweat for L.A.

Matt Kemp did it all on Tuesday night. He got the Dodgers' first hit of the game in the fifth with a double, he kept a rally alive with a single in the eighth that lead to a tie game, and he hit a two-out RBI single in the 10th to get the win over the A's, 5-4.

With the win, the Dodgers improved to a ridiculous 12-1 in one-run games at home, including 6-1 in extra innings. I'd say the ball is totally bouncing their way this season.

Kemp's double in the fifth was the first baserunner of any kind for the Dodgers, as A's starter Dallas Braden was mowing them down with ease. Clayton Kershaw matched him pitch-for-pitch, as the game was scoreless entering the sixth.

The Dodgers were the ones to get on the board first, as a two-out rally lead the way. Orlando Hudson singled, and consecutive RBI doubles by Casey Blake and James Loney made it 2-0.

Still at 2-0 in the eighth, Ramon Troncoso finally came back down to Earth, as the A's tagged him for four. The major blow was a three-run bomb by Jason Giambi, and Bobby Crosby added a solo shot.

As they've done all season long, the Dodgers just refused to quit. Rafael Furcal lead off with a double in the bottom of the eighth, and he scored on Blake's RBI single. Andre Ethier's RBI fielder's choice tied the game at four, and there was new life for L.A.

Jonathan Broxton came on in the ninth and got three groundouts with a single mixed in the middle. But, the Dodgers got nothing going themselves, and it was off to extras we go.

Guillermo Mota, who hasn't given up a run in his last 10 appearances (LOWERING his ERA to 5.06 from 9.00), threw a perfect 10th. Brad Ziegler came on for the A's, someone I thought was a closer but only has five saves. Maybe he was hurt or something along the way, I don't know. Anyway, he didn't get the job done.

O-Dog singled and Blake reached on an error. Loney had a chance to make something happen by either getting a big hit or bunting the runner over. Unfortunately, he didn't do either one, as following two straight foul balls bunted, he grounded into another double play.

No need to worry, as Kemp was the hero with a single to score Hudson and win the game. Once again, the Dodger fans go home happy after another dramatic win.

Kershaw shouldn't be forgotten in all of this, as he rebounded nicely from a very shaky outing against the Padres. He finished with 5 and 2/3 innings, four hits, no runs, three walks, and eight strikeouts. Good for him.

Two more games are left with the A's before the Dodgers head to Anaheim for the Freeway Series. Hiroki Kuroda is coming off a bad start in Texas, so he'll look to get things going tonight.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blake and Ausmus carry Dodgers in Arlington

Casey Blake had a home run and four RBIs, and Brad Ausmus reached base in all three plate appearances as the Dodgers defeated the Rangers, 6-3. The win gave them two of three in Texas in a battle of the NL and AL's best teams in the West.

Chad Billingsley got the start, and he had to battle back from a throwing error by Rafael Furcal that allowed two runs to score. With one out, Michael Young walked, and Hank Blalock and Andruw Jones singled. Raffy then threw away a double-play ball from Nelson Cruz that scored both runs.

Down 2-1 entering the third, Blake had a great at-bat that put the Dodgers in the lead for good. With a 3-2 count, he launched a Derek Holland pitch over the left field fence for a three-run shot, putting the Dodgers up 4-2.

That was more than enough for Bills, as his only other blemish of the day was a solo shot to Jones, who's still fat and a terrible player. Anyway, he ended up throwing seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned), five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. The strikeouts are low, but that's because we're so used to seeing him K plenty more.

Bottom line - he got the job done.

Blake carried the offense on this day, going 2-for-4 with a homer, double, and four RBIs. Ausmus got the start at catcher and reached base all three times, picking up and RBI single. He's hitting .317 this year, and with Russell Martin still trying to figure things out at the plate, should be getting more starts in the near future.

This was a good series win for the Dodgers, as they battled back from losing pretty easily on Friday to get both weekend games. Saturday they had to break a late tie with Matt Kemp's big two-run homer, and Sunday they battled back from the early deficit. They just continue to play solid ball and find ways to win.

Monday is an off day, and Tuesday will be the start of a three-game series home against the Oakland A's. Clayton Kershaw is up first, and he looks to bounce back from a horrific start against the Padres last week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dodgers bounce back on Kemp's 8th inning blast

Saturday night's game saw an unusual sight in Arlington - a nearly two hour delay because of a light failure. At the time, the game was scoreless, as Randy Wolf and Scott Feldman were throwing blanks.

When play resumed, it was the Dodgers that were able to win a battle of the bullpens, as Matt Kemp's two-run homer in the eighth inning broke up a one-all tie, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 win. The win avoids the Dodgers from getting their first three-game losing streak of the season.

I'm sure the hitters on each team were glad the lights went out, because both starters were really good. Wolf allowed no runs on two hits in five innings, striking out four. Feldman matched him, giving up no runs on only three hits in five innings. After the delay, the bullpen had to settle this one.

"Everyday" Eddie Guardado came in to start the sixth. Actually, I'm not even sure if he's called that anymore. He was once a dominant closer, but now he's a forgotten middle reliever. Anyway, Juan Pierre singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a bad throw. A groundout by Rafael Furcal scored Pierre for the 1-0 lead.

Cory Wade was called upon for the Dodgers, and gave up a homer with two outs. Who hit it? Why of course, Andruw Jones. The same guy who was recently whining that the Dodgers never really wanted him last year. So THAT explains the big contract he was given. Yup, it definitely had nothing to do with the fact that he was fat and had a horrible swing. What a complete idiot.

Thankfully, Jones' blast wouldn't be a big deal, as in the seventh, Mark Loretta drew a walk with one down. Following a strikeout by Russell Martin (still with no home runs this year... ugh), Kemp hit a towering fly ball over the left field fence to break the game open.

Kemp was hitting in the #9 spot, but after a 2-3 night, he's up to a .309 average with eight homers and 35 RBIs. So maybe he's just getting it all together to move back up in the order.

Ronald Belisario was a little shaky in the seventh, giving up a couple of singles. With two outs, Ramon Troncoso relieved and got Hank Blalock to fly out and end the inning. Troncoso would then go on to pitch a scoreless eighth.

The Rangers had no rally in them, as Jonathan Broxton easily shut the door in the ninth, gathering his 15th save.

As the games without Manny are slowly winding down, this game was all about the Dodgers finding another person to step up and lead the team to a win. Kemp, Wolf, and the bullpen were the leaders in this one. Different people stepping up is exactly why the Dodgers have an MLB-best 41 wins.

Today is the finale of the three-game series, as Chad Billingsley will look to give the Dodgers a series win. He'll look to become the first pitcher in the National League with nine wins.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Not the best start to Interleague Play

Interleague Play has started once again, and the Dodgers found themselves visiting the Rangers for the first time in eight years.

I wish that was still an ongoing count, because the Rangers slapped them silly tonight, 6-0. The vaunted trio of Vicente Padilla, Jason Jennings, and Jason Grilli were just way too much to handle. I mean those are some pretty intimidating names right there...

Battling through lightning in the distance and swirling winds, Hiroki Kuroda didn't exactly get the best support from his offense or defense. In the third, some guy name Taylor Teagarden doubled to start things off. Omar Vizquel hit a grounder to James Loney, but he pulled a Buckner, allowing the run to score. It would only get worse from there.

Michael Young's RBI single made it 2-0, and the Rangers would never look back. On the night, Kuroda would last 5 and 1/3 innings, but give up five runs on eight hits. He did have six strikeouts and no walks, so those are good signs. In only his fourth start of the season, he's just working his way back into form. He'll be fine.

As for the offense, I think now is the time we can start talking about missing Manny Ramirez's bat. Well, they've missed it all along, but they were still scoring runs and winning. But after watching the last handful of games, it's obvious that the lack of pop in this lineup is starting to catch up to them. When your leader in home runs is Andre Ethier with 11, that pretty much tells you they just don't have much power. Heck, he's the only one in double figures right now!

The Dodgers did have their chances, however. Padilla would only last five innings while piling up 105 pitches. They'd foul off pitch after pitch, then get out anyway. Their only extra-base hit was a meaningless one from Rafael Furcal in the ninth.

Poor Loney will have better nights than this, but he was really awful. To go with the error, he left five men on base, including four in scoring position and two outs. In the first he had Orlando Hudson on third and Ethier on second, but he flied out. He then flew out with the bases juiced in the third.

The game could've been kept manageable in the sixth, but that Teagarden guy hit a big two-out, two-run double to make it 5-0 off of Guillermo Mota. Way to make a big pitch there, Mota. I guess that's why he's the last guy out of the bullpen.

Hopefully the weekend will be better than this, and they've got their top two pitchers going, Randy Wolf and Chad Billingsley. Wolf has slipped recently, with three bad starts in his last four. The one good one was a one run, seven inning effort against the Cubs. So let's pray that's the Wolf that shows up Saturday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No control for Kershaw in loss

Yesterday I talked about how Clayton Kershaw had started to turn a corner with four good starts in a row. The problem was that he was still walking three-four guys a game, and he really needed to address that.

Well, he didn't address it. He got worse.

Kershaw looked like he had no clue where the plate was, as he lasted only 2 and 2/3 innings, giving up five hits, walking four, and allowing three runs. The early hole was enough to easily put the Dodgers away, 3-1. The loss ended their nine-game homestand at 5-4.

Much like the night before, the top of the Padres order did some damage, as they did to Chad Billingsley as well. Tony Gwynn and David Eckstein singled, followed by a walk to the dangerous Adrian Gonzalez. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit an infield single to make it 1-0.

Still with the bases loaded and none down, Kershaw was actually able to only give up one more run on a fielder's choice. As bad as the game started, only being down by two wasn't that bad.

The Dodgers immediately battled back, as Juan Pierre singled and stole second. Orlando Hudson's grounder got him over. Andre Ethier has been swinging a red-hot bat lately, and he came through again with an RBI single to make it 2-1.

That's the end of the Dodgers' offensive highlights, as after Rafael Furcal's single to start the second, Kevin Correia retired the next 15 men in order. He finished the night with six innings, four hits, one run, no walks, and four strikeouts. Those are some impressive numbers.

About the only other threat the Dodgers had was when Casey Blake doubled to lead off the seventh. Russell Martin walked to put a couple of men on. But, Raffy struck out, followed by a strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out double play from Matt Kemp and Blake.

The silver lining to this game was that if the Dodgers did get that big hit, the bullpen would've given them a win. Jeff Weaver, Cory Wade, Ronald Belisario, and Ramon Troncoso combined for 6 and 1/3 innings, no runs, one hit, one walk, and five strikeouts. They did their part, but the bats just couldn't pick them up.

As I've said in the past about Kershaw, he's still only 21, so starts like this are going to happen. There will be nights when he's fantastic and strike out everyone and their mother, and then there's nights when his stuff is crazy. We all just have to be patient with him.

After and off day Thursday, the Dodgers travel to Texas for Interleague Play against the Rangers. Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball on Friday night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Manny visits... and MLB doesn't like it

Manny Ramirez broke his silence by finally speaking to the media on Tuesday afternoon. He managed to sneak in the clubhouse before the game against the Padres.

To summarize his thoughts, he didn't kill nobody (his words) and he didn't rape nobody (his words again). So hey, that's pretty cool. I'd say with that revelation, he's a squeaky clean now. All is right with the world!

But seriously, folks, leave it to Manny to make an unscheduled appearance and come up with comments like that. It gave me a good laugh at work that he pointed those obvious things out, but somehow failed to mention why he was taking a damn women's fertility drug. Oh ya, he wants to move on from that. No kidding.

The real kicker in all of this is that Major League Baseball gave the Dodgers a friendly reminder today that once the media enters the clubhouse, Manny has to take a hike. Or more specifically, he should have already taken a hike. There was no punishment handed down, but more like a reminder that there will be one if it happens again.

Oh, the joys of being a Manny fan!

Four solo shots carries Dodgers past Padres

The Dodgers found a new way to put runs on the board Tuesday night - the long ball. In a pretty shocking sight, they let loose on four home runs, which was enough to carry them past the Padres, 6-4.

With Chad Billingsley struggling in the first inning by giving up four hits and two runs, the offense needed to respond. Andre Ethier just came off his two walk-off victories this past weekend against the Phillies, and he continued the hot streak with a solo homer to make it 2-1.

Matt Kemp tied the game up at two in the second with an RBI single. He then hit one out in the fifth to tie the game at three. On the night, he was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk. He was also hitting in the #8 spot.

It's a good sign that he had four good at-bats, because being dropped way down in the order to eighth is something that shouldn't happen. Don't get me wrong - I don't disagree with the move at all. But someone with his makeup should be hitting in the middle of the order, not down low.

Rewind a bit to the third, and Ethier again hit a solo homer. That's his fourth multi-homer game this season, and also was his fifth jack in seven games. He was pretty much lost for many games before that, so that's another good sign for a young player.

Along with Kemp's homer in the fifth was Orlando Hudson's, bringing the total up to four. That made the score 5-3. Another run was tacked on in the eighth on an RBI single by Rafael Furcal.

Jonathan Broxton came on in the ninth and did the unthinkable... he gave up a run at home. Granted, it was pretty meaningless. After a strikeout and a groundout, the other Tony Gwynn walked and went to second on fielder's indifference. That little David Eckstein singled to make it 6-4. Brian Giles struck out looking to end it, and Broxton's now up to 14 saves.

The power surge was fun to see, but the funny part was that they were all solo home runs. So yes, power surge, but with four homers, normally you'd like to see more than four runs. But hey, with the trouble they've had lately pushing runs across, they'll gladly take it.

At 40-20 and an 8 1/2 game lead over the Giants in the NL West, the Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound tonight. By my count, he's had four good starts in a row, or good enough to give the Dodgers a chance to win. Still, he needs to cut down from walking too many guys in order to have more success. Let's hope that happens tonight.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Milton goes on the DL, and his replacement is a shocker...

Ok, so maybe it's not a shocker. It's Blake DeWitt.

Eric Milton was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore back. He pitched on Friday night against the Phillies and was hurt sometime during that time. With the Dodgers not needing a fifth starter until June 20 against the Angels, the injury actually doesn't hurt much at all.

Milton's 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA, numbers that are far above what many thought he could do. Granted, it's not like he's pitched much, but as a replacement fifth starter, the Dodgers will gladly take those numbers. With Eric Stults due off the DL June 15, he may have first crack at pitching in that Angels game.

DeWitt has been recalled for the 27th time this season (or something like that). With three days off in the next eight days, it wasn't a necessity to get another pitcher up. Plus, they've been going with 13 for much of the season anyway, and 12 is what teams normally do. DeWitt will add to the bench depth, before inevitably getting deported again.

Three homers give Phillies a split

The Dodgers ran out of luck on Sunday night, as the Phillies hit three taters to get an easy win, 7-2. The two teams with the best records in baseball earned a split in the four-game series.

The game was close through the first four innings. Pedro Feliz got the Phillies on the board first with a sac-fly RBI in the second. An RBI single by Matt Kemp in the fourth tied it at one. It could have been more, but Casey Blake was stranded on third with only one down.

The fifth is when Randy Wolf started to lose control, as Jimmy Rollins lead off with a single and Pedro Feliz walked. Carlos Ruiz, whose name will pop up later, hit an RBI single to make it 2-1. Following a sacrifice bunt, Shane Victorino, another person whose name will pop up later, lined one hard off of Wolf's glove that scored Feliz for the 3-1 lead.

Another big chance to score for the Dodgers came in the sixth, but they didn't exactly deliver. Blake doubled to start things off. James Loney hit a single for runners in scoring position and nobody down. Kemp had a chance to get a big hit, but instead grounded into a double play. Well, it really wasn't, as replays showed he beat it out, but it still was pretty weak play. The run did cut it to 3-2, however.

Wolf tried to get another inning in, but was crushed in the seventh. Those two guys I talked about before, Ruiz and Victorino, hit long home runs. Ruiz's scored a couple, and Victorino's was a solo shot that was absolutely tattooed. At 6-2 to end the inning, the game was pretty much over.

On the night, the Dodgers had nine hits, but left eight on. They just couldn't get that big hit. In fact, their offense has really cooled down in the last week, they've just found ways to win anyway. But with Wolf giving up six runs in six and 1/3 innings, that just wasn't going to happen this time.

The schedule is a bit odd this week, as they have off days on Monday and Thursday. They'll host a two-game series against the Padres before going to Texas for three games in Interleague Play. Chad Billingsley will go on Tuesday.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The best player for the Dodgers? Brad Lidge!

No need for it to be somebody actually on the team. The Phillies closer will do just fine.

Poor Brad Lidge must be wondering just what the heck he's doing with himself, as for the second straight day, he has blown a save for the Phillies. This time it came on Rafael Furcal's pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie it at two. Andre Ethier's solo shot in the 12th gave the Dodgers the win, 3-2.

The win gives the Dodgers two consecutive days of pretty much stealing victories from the Phillies, who in all likelihood, should probably be up 3-0 right now. But like I've talked about before, the Dodgers know how to finish games.

Both starting pitchers of Hiroki Kuroda and Joe Blanton were fantastic. Kuroda was making his second start since coming back from injury, and he held the Phillies scoreless over six innings, giving up two hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. Blanton gave up one run in six, striking out five as well.

After getting only a Matt Kemp single in the first three innings, Ethier hit his first homer of the day with one down in the fourth. James Loney singled and stole second with two down, but Kemp struck out to end the inning up 1-0.

All was well for L.A. until Ronald Belisario relieved Kuroda to start the seventh and coughed up the lead. Two straight singles by Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz started it off. Eric Brunlett sacrificed them to third, but Greg Dobbs popped up for two outs.

So with the pitcher's spot due up, who do you think the Phillies would call on? That damn Matt Stairs, who promptly smacked a two-run single to give them the edge, 2-1. I'd say he likes hitting in Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers had a threat in the seventh, but Juan Castro got picked off of second to kill any rally. At the time, it was a crushing blow because Juan Pierre singled to right, which could have most likely scored Castro.

In the ninth, Lidge came on and got Mark Loretta to ground out, then Raffy pinch-hit for Castro. It looked like a curious move since Furcal was 0-for-9 career against him. It didn't matter, as a high fly ball to right was just over the glove of Jayson Werth, and it was all tied up.

Jonathan Broxton got the Phillies in order in the 10th. The Doders realistically should have put the game away in the bottom of the inning, as Orlando Hudson and Ethier lead off with singles. But, Russell Martin couldn't get a bunt down, then struck out. Loney flied out and Kemp struck out, and it was an opportunity lost.

The Phillies were unable to get any baserunners for the three extra innings, but the Dodgers were struggling as well. With two outs in the 12th, Ethier had a full count, then deposited the Chad Durbin pitch easily over the center field wall. Your hero, once again, was Ethier.

While the Phillies can be kicking themselves for blowing chances the last two days, the Dodgers deserve credit for taking advantage of the opportunities given to them. They made all the clutch plays when they've needed to, which is exactly what they've done all season long. And hopefully will continue to do well into October.

With the exception of Belisario's shaky seventh, Ramon Troncoso, Broxton, and Cory Wade combined for no runs in five innings, only allowing two baserunners. That's some outstanding stuff.

Tonight is a busy night for L.A. sports fans, as the Dodgers and Lakers will be playing in town at the same time. Randy Wolf takes the mound looking for his fourth win, and for a Dodger series victory over the defending World Champs.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ethier's double caps dramatic win

Andre Ethier may have just gotten that one big hit to break his funk.

A huge error by Pedro Feliz in the ninth gave Ethier the opportunity to be a hero with the bases loaded and two outs. He wasted no time, as a double down the right field line scored two, and the Dodgers got a big comeback win over the Phillies, 4-3.

With the Dodgers struggling to put men on, much like the night before against Cole Hamels, the Phillies had a slight edge for most of the night. Raul Ibanez got an RBI groundout in the third to make it 1-0, and Chase Utley scored two with a double in the fourth to make it 3-0.

Juan Pierre lead off the bottom of the fourth and was beaned by Jamie Moyer. That must be like getting hit by a wiffle ball. Anyway, he then stole second with nobody out. Rafael Furcal got him to third on a groundout, and Orlando Hudson's groundout scored him to cut it to 3-1.

Fast forward to the seventh, where Raffy started things with a double, which seems like his first hit in forever. And it may have been considering his average has dropped way down to .239. Two groundouts put the inning in doubt, but James Loney was just able to drop a fly ball in front of a sliding Eric Bruntlett to make it 3-2.

Brad Lidge came on to close it out, and immediately got the first two out. But like he's has been this season, he couldn't seal the deal. Casey Blake singled and Loney drew a walk.

Russell Martin hit an easy grounder to Feliz at third, but he bobbled it for whatever reason, giving the Dodgers new life. Ethier lined the next pitch to right to end it with a walk-off win. Good for Ethier, as he hit a miserable .211 in May, so maybe this will get him going again.

Eric Milton was the starter, and he only lasted four and 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs, but an error by Hudson made only one of those runs earned. Still, it would have been nice if he could have gone a little longer, but he kept the Dodgers in the game, so I guess it's mission accomplished.

The bullpen was fantastic, pitching the rest of the way and not allowing a run. Guillermo Mota, Brent Leach, and Ramon Troncoso were great. Jonathan Broxton struck out the side in the top of the ninth, so he got the win with the walk-off, improving his record to 6-0.

With the one-run win, the Dodgers are now 10-1 in such games. Like Joe Torre said after the game, as long as there's 27 outs, the Dodgers will play every one of them and search for a win. That's why they have the best record in baseball right now, and are making a mockery of the rest of the NL West.

Today is an afternoon game on FOX, as Hiroki Kuroda gets his second start back from the Disabled List to take on Joe Blanton. My prediction? Another close game. Hey, why not?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

'Zona bullpen crumbles as Dodgers steal one late

I'll be honest - the Dodgers had no business winning this game.

Dan Haren absolutely mowed them down for seven innings on Tuesday night, Justin Upton hit a grand slam, and the Diamondbacks should have easily cruised to a win.

But the difference between good and bad teams is how they finish games. The Dodgers know how to, and the DBacks are still trying to figure it all out.

Taking advantage of some horrible relief work by Tony Pena, the Dodgers flat out robbed the DBacks of a win with a five-run eighth to get the game, 6-5. The Dodgers almost did the same thing the night before, but just came up short. Not on this night.

Haren was up to 110 pitches, so Pena was called upon to start the bottom of the eighth. Matt Kemp greeted him with a single, but Brad Ausmus popped up and Mark Loretta struck out. Just when things looked bleak, the Dodgers sent seven men up to the plate.

Juan Pierre singled and Rafael Furcal walked to load the bases. A walk to Orlando Hudson forced a run home, and it was 5-2.

James Loney isn't one to hit home runs, but he can get doubles. And he did just that with a three-run double to knot the game at five, literally out of nowhere. Casey Blake got the go-ahead run home with a single to score Loney, and it was now 6-5.

The DBacks really stood no chance after that, completely shell-shocked by what just happened (and who could blame them). Jonathan Broxton mowed them down with two K's to end the game on this crazy night.

Like I said before, Haren was awesome and deserved better than this. In addition to allowing only a solo shot to Andre Ethier in the second (one that went halfway up the pavilion in right), he went 3-for-3 at the plate! The Dodgers really stood no chance against him.

Randy Wolf was L.A.'s starter, and he was probably lucky to just give up five runs in six innings. He loaded the bases with nobody out in the first, but only gave up a single run. He wasn't so lucky with the bases juiced in the second, as Upton just unloaded on one to left.

Give Jeff Weaver credit for keeping the game manageable with two innings of shutout relief. That's why he's there - to provide multiple innings if needed on a night a starter doesn't have his best stuff. Worked out great last night.

While we're giving credit, the Dodgers deserve a whole lot for that comeback. Plenty of other teams might have packed it in for the night. But they hung in there, took their walks, and got timely hits. That was awesome.

Chad Billingsley will look to shake off a 1-3 spot in his last five starts with a win tonight. He's opposed by John Garland, who was on the Dodgers' radar in addition to Wolf during the offseason. Well, Wolf's has a 3.21 ERA with 58 K's, while Garland has a 5.75 ERA with more walks than strikeouts (24:21). So ya, you figure out who got the better of those deals.