Furcal sidelined as Dodgers hit St. Louis

After making all 125 of his starts this season in the cleanup spot, Matt Kemp moves up to No. 3 tonight, while Andre Ethier drops to No. 5.

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So yeah, changing uniforms did nothing to protect Rafael Furcal’s health. From Stephania Bell of ESPN.com:

… Furcal must seriously wonder who or what is out to get him now. After breaking his left thumb in early April on a headfirst slide and then straining an oblique in June (resulting in another month away from the game), Furcal suffered a freak injury while on the road with his new team, the St. Louis Cardinals, this weekend. It wasn’t even an injury sustained during the course of playing baseball. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Furcal suffered a “severe thumb sprain” when he stumbled as a wooden step leading to the batting cages at Wrigley Field broke. In an effort to brace his fall, Furcal’s thumb was twisted resulting in the injury. The bad news? This injury is to his right (throwing) hand. The good news? Well, it’s not the same thumb he broke this spring. And maybe, if things really do happen in threes, his 2011 injury woes are now over. As to when he’ll be able to return, there’s no immediate answer as much will depend on how soon the pain and swelling subside and when Furcal can regain his grip.

Furcal has a .280 on-base percentage and .351 slugging percentage in 83 plate appearances with St. Louis. Alex Castellanos, who came in the trade for Furcal, has a .443 on-base percentage and .771 slugging percentage (including 12 doubles) in 88 plate appearances with Double-A Chattanooga. With Springfield before the grade, Castellanos had a strikeout-walk ratio of 3.9 (94-24), but with the Lookouts, it has been 1.3 (14-11).

Chattanooga is averaging 7.3 runs per game this month.

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From the Dodger press notes:

1) “The Dodgers allowed a pair of first-inning runs on a Carlos Gonzalez home run yesterday at Colorado, but have allowed the fewest first-inning runs (35) in the majors the season. Los Angeles is on pace to allow just 45 first-inning runs over the course of the season, which would be the fewest by a National League team in the live-ball era.”

2) “Nathan Eovaldi will make the fourth start of his career tonight and has posted back-to-back quality starts after allowing two runs over six innings on Wednesday at Milwaukee. Since World War II, the 21-year-old is only the seventh pitcher under 22 years of age to open his career with three consecutive starts of five or more innings, while allowing two or fewer runs and less than five hits.”

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