- Chad Billingsley (above) went 3 2/3 innings before giving up the first earned run allowed by a Dodger starting pitcher this weekend. He allowed four baserunners and struck out two.
- Ramon Troncoso retired all four batters he faced (one admittedly on a dicey umpire’s call) and has allowed one hit in 3 1/3 shutout innings. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more on Troncoso’s growing chances of making the Opening Day roster.
- The platoon of Jay Gibbons (wearing awesome big white sunglasses, the best Dodger eyewear since Eric Gagne) and birthday boy Marcus Thames went 2 for 5 with an RBI double (by Thames).
- Aaron Miles tripled in his only at-bat.
- Ivan De Jesus, Jr. made a nice backhand grab running into the outfield, drawing a big smile from the Cubs’ third-base coach, Ivan De Jesus, Sr.
- Justin Sellers committed a double-error (bobble and bad throw) on the Dodgers’ first defensive play of the game.
- Right fielders Xavier Paul and Jerry Sands combined for a golden sombrero.
- Luis Vasquez the Magician made the game disappear when he allowed a two-run walkoff homer to D.J. LeMahieu in the bottom of the 10th.
- In the above-referenced piece by Jackson, he addresses the James Loney situation.
Although the tightness in first baseman James Loney’s knee isn’t serious and Loney tentatively is expected back in the lineup by Wednesday, the momentary scare did underscore the fact the Dodgers don’t have a lot of depth at Loney’s position.
Third baseman Casey Blake and outfielders Jay Gibbons and Marcus Thames all have some experience — but not a lot of it — at first base, and Mattingly said any or all of them could be a viable alternative if Loney were to be lost for, say, two or three games. But if Loney suffered a major injury that sidelined him for a month or more?
In that case, Mattingly said, the Dodgers would have to bring up a first baseman from the minors. And the most likely candidate would be Russell Mitchell, a third baseman by trade who also can play left and right field but played all of 13 games at first for Triple-A Albuquerque last year.
“We feel like Russ can be pretty flexible,” Mattingly said. “He can handle himself out there, and he has actually played some second. He even did some catching in the Instructional League, so we feel like we could trust him with catching. That emergency third catcher can be pretty valuable in the National League because it allows you to maybe pinch run for your catcher without having to get nervous about not having another catcher left on the bench.” …
- Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and Steve Dilbeck of the Times have more on Loney.
- The Dodgers’ starting baseman is still healthier than the Angels’ Kendry Morales, notes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Angels might turn to Triple-A power hitter Mark “Don’t call me Dalton” Trumbo, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Times.
- Scott Elbert is working on a mechanical adjustment, writes Gurnick, who adds that Jamey Carroll will miss a few days of game action after being hit by a pitch on his right index finger (X-rays were negative).
- Josh Suchon says that he and his new KABC 790 AM talkmate Joe Block will be the broadcast team for Dodger games on Prime Ticket this Wednesday and Thursday.
- Mullet Mania: Jackson gave us a hint this morning, but later came the full story on Travis Schlichting’s new ‘do from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
I understand that this is going out on a fragile limb above a pool shared by sharks and alligators, but I witnessed the greatest mullet in baseball history Sunday morning, and I refuse to believe otherwise.
Randy Johnson may have sported the curly afterbirth on his neck, and John Kruk may have rocked the accompanying gut, and Troy Tulowitzki may have had the ironic twist to his charity mullet, but nobody – nobody – can compete with the absolute resplendence that topped Travis Schlichting’s head on Sunday. …