Apr 18

Dodgers lose by another eyelash in 10

© Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

We’ll start by going straight to the finish line, which saw what appeared to be the rarest of things: a tailor-made double-play fly ball.

The Dodgers and Brewers were tied in the 10th inning, 2-2, but Milwaukee loaded the bases with one out and defending National League MVP Ryan Braun at the plate. With the Dodgers turning to a five-man infield, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were left to patrol the outfield by themselves.

But Braun lifted a short fly ball to center field that Kemp had plenty of time not only to catch, but to set up a big throw home that would nail Nyjer Morgan should he try to score from third base.

Kemp originally seemed to have it in mind to have forward momentum as he caught the ball, but he got to the spot too soon, and ended up being flat-footed as he threw a two-bouncer home toward Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis (whose throwing error moments earlier contributed to the Dodgers’ 10th-inning woes). Ellis actually appeared on replay to make the tag on Morgan a hair before he tumbled across home plate, but the Brewer was ruled safe, giving Milwaukee its second consecutive eyelash victory over Los Angeles.

Kemp drove in the Dodgers’ first run with a single (after Mark Ellis tripled) in the first inning, but struck out with two on and two out in the eighth and the score tied. The other Dodger involved in the final play, A.J. Ellis, had the team’s other RBI.

Chris Capuano pitched six innings, allowing two runs on eight baserunners with four strikeouts.

Apr 18

The overshadowed Andre Ethier

© Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Brewers, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
James Loney, 1B
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
Tony Gwynn Jr., LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Chris Capuano, P

If it weren’t enough that Andre Ethier’s super April has been overshadowed by Matt Kemp, then how frustrating was it that his latest feat — a two-out, two-run homer off Francisco Rodriguez to give the Dodgers their 4-3 lead Tuesday — fell by the wayside when Javy Guerra couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom of the ninth?

So let us take a moment to celebrate, as Kemp is doing in the photo above, Ethier’s super start. He has a .383 on-base percentage and .738 slugging percentage. He is seventh in the National League in adjusted OPS. Yeah, we’ll take that.

Against left-handed pitchers — the big concern going into 2012 — Ethier is 4 for 13 with a double, triple, two walks and two strikeouts. He has eight RBI in 15 plate appearances. Last year, he had 13 RBI with seven walks and 41 strikeouts in 151 plate appearances against lefties.

Ethier and Kemp, by the way, have the most RBI of any duo in their first 11 games since Bob Meusel and Lou Gehrig of the 1927 Yankees, according to STATS LLC.

Apr 17

Two rallies, but in the end, a second loss

Aside from the fundamental desire for the Dodgers to win and not lose, I had two hopes for tonight’s game:

  1. The offense not get shut out.
  2. Chad Billingsley not get hammered

In the bottom of the second inning, it looked like each might take place. In the bottom of the ninth, it looked like neither would.

Instead, Dodger fans were left with a third outcome – a grim-faced, walkoff loss. George Kotteras’ pinch-hit, two-run double off Javy Guerra gave the Milwaukee Brewers a 5-4 victory, the Dodgers’ second loss of the season.

One game after a triple play helped save Guerra’s bacon in the ninth inning against San Diego, no such rescue arrived. He gave up a leadoff single to Corey Hart and stolen base to pinch-runner Carlos Gomez, then walked Mat Gamel. Jonathan Lucroy struck out after failing to bunt, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made a fearless move, sending up Kotteras to pinch-hit for Cesar Izturis even though no other shortstop remained on his bench in the event of extra innings.

Guerra got the count to 2-2, but Kotteras launched one to right-center. Andre Ethier chased it down, but the relay home was just a half-second late to nail Gamel with the winning run.

The result spoiled the celebration that was all but set for Andre Ethier, who doubled and scored to tie the game 2-2 in the seventh inning, then hit a dramatic, opposite-field, two-out, two-run homer in the eighth off Francisco Rodriguez to rally Los Angeles from a 3-2 deficit and give the team its only lead.

For Dodger fans, riding that 9-1 season-opening wave, it was the latest in a month of exhilarations.

Kenley Jansen then retired the side in order on two strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth, before Guerra blew the third save of his career in 29 opportunities.

Still, I’ll have to call this a better alternative to the way the game unfolded at the outset. After the Dodgers had wasted a scoring opportunity in the first inning (because of Dee Gordon getting picked off by Brewers starter Yovanni Gallardo), Milwaukee hit for the cycle off Billingsley with its first eight platesmen, good for two quick runs.

However, Billingsley settled down, retiring his last 11 batters and finishing his third straight quality start to begin 2012, allowing five hits and no walks in six innings and 83 pitches. For the year, his ERA is 1.33, and he has allowed 13 hits, one walk and one hit batter in 20 1/3 innings.

It’s the absence of walks in the plural that is perhaps most exciting for Billingsley. Even when he gets in trouble, he has hardly backed down. His weakest moment tonight was throwing two balls to Izturis with a 1-2 count and a runner on third. Izturis then singled on a 3-2 pitch, driving in the Brewers’ second run. But that was the exception. Billingsley had the bad inning that he is (unfairly) notorious for, but he didn’t let it ruin him.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers withstood their own hitless streak – 10 in a row retired after Matt Kemp (1 for 4) doubled in the first to raise his batting average at that moment to .500 – and tied the game. In the fifth, Juan Rivera doubled, went to third on a James Loney single and scored when Rickie Weeks caught Juan Uribe’s pop-up but then dropped the ball before throwing home. In the seventh, Ethier and Loney hit the Dodgers’ fourth and fifth doubles to even the score, 2-2. (Loney, by the way, was thrown out on the basepaths in both innings.)

With two out and Uribe on second via fielder’s choice and wild pitch, A.J. Ellis was walked intentionally to get to Billingsley’s spot in the order. I basically agreed with Don Mattingly’s decision to hit for Billingsley, even though he was on a roll, although I’d feel a lot better about it if the Dodgers’ first hitter off the bench weren’t Adam Kennedy, who popped out.

But after Milwaukee squeezed home a go-ahead run off Matt Guerrier in the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers came back in the eighth, with Ethier (slugging .738 this year and now the National League RBI leader with 17) once again proving to Kemp that he doesn’t have to carry the offense by himself.

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the bullpen didn’t deliver tonight, with the Guerr boys, Guerrier and Guerra, retiring only four batters as they allowed three runs.

 

Apr 17

The Dodgers-Brewers series: What they’ll say

Having grabbed some rays from baseball’s national spotlight thanks to their 9-1 start, the Dodgers can now expect the following treatment after what’s supposed to be their first test, a three-game series in Milwaukee beginning tonight:

Dodgers at Brewers, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, LF
James Loney, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Chad Billingsley, P
Apr 16

No cause to replay Sunday’s ninth inning

A debate about Sunday’s triple play has been launched by this Dave Cameron column at Fangraphs. You can read the comments there to see it unfold.

Cameron argues that Major League Baseball should step in and order the game to be replayed from the moment umpire Dale Scott appeared to signal a foul ball on Jesus Guzman’s ill-fated bunt. His two main points: The call was different from the typical blown umpire’s call, and its effect on the outcome of the game could have affect this year’s playoff races.

I’m a friend and fan of Cameron’s, but we don’t see eye-to-eye on this at all — and I’d feel the same way if the call had gone the opposite way. (Longtime readers will be familiar with my live-and-let-live approach to on umpire rulings.) It was at best a confusing play, at worst an incorrect one, but in the end, one of those things that we live with every day in baseball.

Here’s my longest statement in the comments:

Even if Scott had been perfect on the play, did you see how fast Ellis picks up the ball and fires to third? The Dodgers certainly get two outs on the play (third and first) if not the out at second as well. Dale Scott did not keep the Padres from having a bases-loaded situation.

That said, the result isn’t the thing that determines my opinion on this. I realize the issue is Dave’s contention that the play should be dead from the moment the arms were waved (assuming that’s even something in the rule book – I’m not sure if it is or isn’t). However, the umpires huddled, discussed the play and made a decision. At that point, it’s in the books unless it’s protested and the protest is upheld.

If the Padres protested the call, I’m not aware of it.

I think the whole pinning the fate of the playoffs on this call is part of what’s off base in this column. Because there are so many bad calls that affect wins and losses, the idea that this one in particular needs to be addressed to save the integrity of the postseason, even given the play’s unusual genesis, is melodrama defined. Dave is basically arguing that the Dodgers have a tainted win, despite the fact that there would probably have been at least two outs on the play had it been called without drama and despite the fact that the Dodgers scored in the bottom of the ninth. He’s making a pretty massive leap. Do you think there won’t be a bad call against the Dodgers this year that costs them a game?

It was an unusual play that might have hurt the Padres, but they had the rest of the game to overcome it, just like the Dodgers did in the season opener when Dee Gordon was incorrectly called out for stealing, and in Game 2 when Ethier was incorrectly called out at home.

If the umpires had decided to rule foul ball on the field, based on Scott’s arm-waving, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that at all.

But the idea that MLB should step in on this play today, after the umpires had time to discuss it and after the Padres deemed it unworthy of protest – something, with the mid-inning break, they had ample opportunity to do — just doesn’t hold water.

Apr 16

Scully reminisces about ‘Public Enemy No. 1′

Vin Scully came back to the ballpark Sunday in first-rate storytelling mode. This morning, Sons of Steve Garvey passed along this big Jackie Robinson anecdote.And in the midst of Clayton Kershaw’s sixth-inning struggles Sunday, Scully talked about one of my favorite memories.

“You know when Clayton Kershaw really got my attention?” Scully began. “I don’t know that it’s a big deal that it got my attention – I don’t mean that, but it’s just something that I will forever have in my mind when I hear his name.

“It was an exhibition game, in Vero Beach. … And it was just one of those games, and here was this kid lefthander named Clayton Kershaw. And he had two strikes on a veteran left-hand hitter by the name of Sean Casey. Remember Sean Casey? Good hitter – Cincinnati Reds, later on went on to the American League. Casey came up …

“Kershaw threw maybe the greatest single pitch I’ve ever seen. It was just such a great big overhand curveball at just that moment. I’ve never forgotten it. And every time I’ve come to see Clayton pitch, I’ll always remember Sean Casey — frozen. I mean the players laughed, not really at Casey, but just the inability of anybody to hit that pitch.”

Here’s the audio (clumsily recorded by me) that goes with it: Vin on “Public Enemy No. 1.”

* * *

  • It was far from inevitable that baseball would integrate had Jackie Robinson not succeeded in the big leagues, writes Keith Olbermann at Baseball Nerd.
  • At the Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe recalls Burt Hooton on the 40th anniversary of his no-hitter. (Without meaning to single Jaffe out, he also perpetuates one of the odd things about Hooton – I’m not sure I’ve seen a player – including Doug Mientkiewicz – who had his name more frequently misspelled by so many writers.)

    … As April 16, 1972, came to an end, Hooten had pitched 30.2 IP in his career and only allowed eight hits. Yes, only eight.

    It’s actually a bit more extreme than even that implies. In June of 1971, Hooten came up for a cup-of-coffee start and couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. He allowed three runs in 3.2 innings on five walks and three hits. In his next three starts, Hooten tossed three complete games, allowing a total of five hits. Yeah, that’ll get people’s attention.

    The second and third starts came in September of 1971. In his second start, Hooten allowed only three hits while striking out 15 batters. That tied the Cubs all-time franchise record for punchouts in a game. Oh, and those three hits allowed? They all came late in the game. Hooten went 6.2 innings with a no-hitter intact.

    In his next turn, Hooten pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout. There was no flirting with a no-hitter, as Bud Harrelson led off the game with a single, but it’s still five hits allowed over two games. Many fine pitchers never did that in their careers.

    But the main event was April 16, 1972….

  • Jaffe also has a story about the peculiar career arc of former Dodger manager Jim Tracy.
Apr 15

The achievement

I don’t know anyone who thinks the Dodgers have guaranteed a pennant by starting the season 9-1 against San Diego and Pittsburgh, but alert me when everyone else plays .900 ball against the Padres and Pirates. I think each of those teams will win more than 16 games this year.

It doesn’t mean anything for the future, but it is an achievement to beat the teams you’re supposed to beat. I’ve seen numerous Dodger teams that couldn’t do it. And I’m glad the Dodgers are not the team that you’re supposed to beat right now. Ten days ago, many thought they were.

Six-game road trip beginning Tuesday. Hoping for four wins, will settle for three.

 

Apr 15

Oh, the insanity! Triple play leads to Dee-day, Dodger hooray

www.ajellisfacts.tumblr.com

Runners were on first and second with none out in a tie game in the top of the ninth when Javy Guerra threw a pitch so far inside that it nearly hit Don Mattingly in the Dodger dugout.

Jesus Guzman, attempting to bunt, tried to get out of the way, but instead of turning his back and earning a trip to first base the hard way, he kept his bat out – and the ball found a spot in between his hands on the wood. It landed on the dirt just behind home plate, and as umpire Dale Scott began gesticulating, it rolled fair.

The most underrated player in baseball in 2012, A.J. Ellis, picked up the ball the moment it went fair and fired it down to Juan Uribe at third base, starting an around-the-horn triple play that showed, with incredible authority, that Guerra absolutely has the stuff to dominate the ninth inning.

It also kept the Dodgers alive on an afternoon in which Clayton Kershaw had some rare struggles, alive long enough for Dee Gordon to single in the game-winning run with two out in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory over the Padres.

The Dodgers have won six games in a row and still have baseball’s best record at 9-1. (Milwaukee lost today, ensuring that the Dodgers will go at least another three games before playing a team whose record is above .500. )

Matt Kemp hit his sixth homer in the season’s first 10 games and had hits in his first three at-bats to raise his batting average at one point to .500. Andre Ethier drove in his 15th run of the season, and Juan Rivera had two RBI. Thanks largely to their contributions, the Dodgers led 4-1 after three innings.

But Kershaw wasn’t his untouchable self today, allowing seven hits in the first five innings (and an unearned run thanks to a third-inning Gordon error) before walking the bases loaded in the sixth. A one-out, RBI single by Orlando Hudson ended Kershaw’s day, and a two-run single by Jeremy Hermida off Josh Lindblom handed the defending Cy Young Award winner his third straight no-decision to start 2012.

Los Angeles, which ultimately left 15 runners on base – including the three celebrating the victory after Gordon’s hit – nearly scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning (when Ethier struck out with two on), seventh inning (when Gordon struck out with three on) and eighth inning (when Kemp’s no-out near-single was turned into a double play by Hudson, who was covering second because Mark Ellis was running).

Gordon hadn’t exactly been having the best day, though he had stolen two bases (giving him an MLB-high seven on the year) and made a fine running catch in left-center in the eighth. But he went with the last pitch he saw in the ninth and hit it sharply into left field, ending all the drama except for whether his small frame would survive the mammoth Kemp-led dogpile.

Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen and Guerra combined for three shutout innings to keep the Dodgers close after their lead went away.

A.J. Ellis went 0 for 2 but walked three times to give him eight on the season (in eight games), tied for fourth in the National League. And he also had the presence of mind to start the game-saving triplet-killing.

I was at the game for the Dodgers’ last triple play at Dodger Stadium, on June 13, 1998, and that also came on an attempted bunt and was just about as bizarre. From 100 Things Dodgers:

Kurt Abbott of Colorado popped up a bunt attempt – enough to freeze teammates Jamey Wright and Neifi Perez on first and second base (the infield fly rule can’t be called on bunts). Pitcher Darrren Dreifort let the ball drop, and then the throws went from Dreifort to shortstop Jose Vizcaino to force Perez, then to Eric Young at first base to retire Abbott, and finally across the diamond to Bobby Bonilla at third base to tag out Wright. The ol’ 1-6-4-5.

Apr 15

Look out – Vinny’s back in town

Vin Scully on his way to the broadcast booth Sunday at Dodger Stadium. © Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Padres at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXIX: Kershawstakovich
Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, LF
James Loney, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

I feel privileged that I’ll be able to be home in front of the TV set today to see Vin Scully’s return to Dodger Stadium.

J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News has a quick blog post chronicling Scully’s reunion with the media this morning.

… “As God as my judge, I did not sleep one wink Saturday night,” Scully said, while sitting in the Vin Scully Press Box as the Dodgers took batting practice on the field below.

“You try not to cough because you know when you’re going to cough, you’re going to become hoarse. So I packed the pillows up to try and prevent myself from coughing. Well I cut down on the coughing but I packed the pillows up so much that I wasn’t sleeping. I went to the ballpark [a week ago] Sunday and I thought, ‘oh, Lord, if I can somehow get through this one.’ We did the game, [Chase] Headley hit the grand slam home run, the Dodgers lost the game and I went home and I was done. I could not have done anything from then on, almost until today.”

The bad cold that forced the 84-year-old broadcaster to miss the Dodgers’ first five home games of the season is gone, and Scully will be calling today’s game against the San Diego Padres on Prime Ticket.

It is Jackie Robinson Day, a fitting day for Scully to return, but more importantly it’s a day game.

“The doctors kept telling me if you go and it’s cold you could easily have a relapse or, more importantly, in your weakened condition you could pick up something else and then you’re really in trouble,” he said. “So that’s why I stayed away.” …

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has more on Twitter, which I expect he’ll compile into a blog post shortly.

Apr 15

Jackie, 65 years later


Below, to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, please enjoy this reprint of Chapter 1 of 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die:

Jackie
From beginning to end, we root for greatness.

We root for our team to do well. We root for our team to create and leave lasting memories, from a dazzling defensive play in a Spring Training game to the final World Series-clinching out. With every pitch in a baseball game, we’re seeking a connection to something special, a fastball right to our nervous system.

In a world that can bring frustrations on a daily basis, we root as an investment toward bragging rights, which are not as mundane as that expression makes them sound. If our team succeeds, if our guys succeed, that’s something we can feel good about today, maybe tomorrow, maybe forever.

The pinnacle of what we can root for is Jackie Robinson.

Robinson is a seminal figure – a great player whose importance transcended his team, transcended his sport, transcended all sports. We don’t do myths anymore the way the Greeks did – too much reality confronts us in the modern age. But Robinson’s story, born in the 20th century and passed on with emphasis into the 21st, is as legendary as any to come from the sports world.

And Robinson was a Dodger. If you’re a Dodger fan, his fable belongs to you. There’s really no greater story in sports to share in. For many, particularly in 1947 when he made his major-league debut, Robinson was a reason to become a Dodger fan. For those who were born or made Dodger fans independent of Robinson, he is the reward for years of suffering and the epitome of years of success.

Robinson’s story, of course, is only pretty when spied from certain directions, focusing from the angle of what he achieved, and what that achievement represented, and the beauty and grace and power he displayed along the way. From the reverse viewpoint, the ugliness of what he endured, symbolizing the most reprehensible vein of a culture, is sickening.

Before Robinson even became a major leaguer, he was the defendant in a court martial over his Rosa Parks-like defiance of orders to sit in the back of an Army bus. His promotion to the Dodgers before the ‘47 season was predicated on his willingness to walk painstakingly along the high road when all others around him were zooming heedlessly on the low.

Even after he gained relative acceptance, even after he secured his place in the major leagues and the history books, even after he could start to talk back with honesty instead of politeness, racial indignities abounded around him. Robinson’s ascendance was a blow against discrimination, but far from the final one. He still played ball in a world more successful at achieving equality on paper than in practice. It’s important for us to remember, decades later, not to use our affinity for Robinson as cover for society’s remaining inadequacies.

Does that mean we can’t celebrate him? Hardly. For Dodger fans, there isn’t a greater piece of franchise history to rejoice in – and heaven forbid we confine our veneration of Robinson to what he symbolizes. The guy was a ballplayer. Playing nearly every position on the field over 10 seasons, Robinson had an on-base percentage of .409 and slugging percentage of .474 (132+ OPS, .310 EQA). He was an indispensible contributor to the Dodgers’ most glorious days in Brooklyn – six pennants and the franchise’s first World Series victory.

It also helps to know that some of Robinson’s moments on field were better than others, that he didn’t play with a impenetrable aura of invincibility. He rode the bench for no less an event than Game 7 of the 1955 World Series. He was human off the field, and he was human as well on it.

In the end, Robinson’s story might just be the greatest story in the game. His highlight reel – from steals of home to knocks against racism – is unmatched. In a world that’s all too real, Robinson encompasses everything there is to cheer for. If you’re a fan of another team and you hate the Dodgers, unless you have no dignity at all, your hate stops at Robinson’s feet. If your love of the Dodgers guides you home, Robinson is your North Star.

* * *

Robinson’s Retirement

One of the great myths in Dodger history is that Jackie Robinson retired rather than play for the team’s nemesis, the New York Giants, after the Dodgers traded him there, seven weeks before his 38th birthday. In fact, as numerous sources such as Arnold Rampersad’s Jackie Robinson: A Biography indicate, Robinson had already made the decision to retire and take a position as vice president of personnel relations with the small but growing Chock Full O’ Nuts food and restaurant chain. This happened on December 10, 1957. But Robinson had a preexisting contract to give Look magazine exclusive rights to his retirement story, which meant the public couldn’t hear about his news until a January 8, 1958 publication date.

The night he signed his Chocktract, on December 11, Dodger general manager Buzzie Bavasi called Robinson to tell him he had been traded to the Giants. Teammates and the public reacted with shock to the news and rallied to his defense, even though Robinson had no intention of reporting. When the truth finally came out, it was Robinson who caught the brunt of the negative reaction at the time. Over the years, however, the story evolved into the fable that Robinson chose retirement because playing for the Giants was a moral impossibility. Robinson left baseball and the Dodgers nursing grievances over how he was treated, but the trade to the Giants wasn’t the last straw that drove him out, but rather an event that confirmed that the decision he had already made was well chosen.

Apr 15

Crazy stats from a crazy start

It’s been weird. Just how weird? Check it out …

With two hits Saturday, James Loney has a positive OPS+ for the first time this year: 12. Just for fun: If you add together the OPS+ for the Dodger infield, you get 174, which is less than the OPS+ of Andre Ethier (201). And if you tally the infield plus Juan Rivera, the sum of those five OPS+ is less than that of Matt Kemp (300).

Kemp has 15 RBI in the Dodgers’ first nine games. “The only other Dodger with 15 or more RBI in his team’s first nine games is Hall-of-Famer Roy Campanella, who had 16 in 1953,” notes the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats and Information).

Mark Ellis is the only Dodger starting infielder with an OPS over .500. Dee Gordon has gone 2 for 20 with two walks and two steals in his past six games. His OPS has fallen to .498.

Off the bench, Jerry Hairston Jr. is 4 for 12 with a double and two walks this year.

Overall, the Dodger infield has a .577 OPS with one home run in 161 at-bats – and that’s if you include catcher A.J. Ellis. Ellis is the only Dodger besides Ethier and Kemp to homer in the team’s first nine games.

The Dodgers are 8-1 despite their leadoff batters for their 79 offensive innings having a .241 on-base percentage and .243 slugging (.484 OPS). In contrast, the Dodgers’ OPS with two out is .817. With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers have a .429 OBP and .507 slugging (.936 OPS).

And quickly turning to the pitchers: The Dodgers’ team WHIP (walks plus hits/divided by innings pitched) in 82 innings is 1.037, and they have 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Only seven individuals had better figures in 2011: Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Josh Beckett and Cliff Lee. And only Zack Greinke and Brandon Morrow had better K/9s last year.

Opponents are batting .189 against the Dodgers this year.

The Dodgers have used 13 pitchers this year. Two of the 13, Mike MacDougal and Jamey Wright, have ERAs between 1.00 and 5.00.

Who, by the way, would have thought the Dodgers would have eight wins before Kershaw got his first?

Each of the past two years, as well as 2006, it took the Dodgers 17 games to win eight. In 2008, a postseason year, it took the Dodgers 19 games to win eight. Of course, the 2005 Dodgers started 12-2 before finishing 71-91.

Apr 14

Let the 2012 Matt Kemp Triple Crown Watch begin*

Pirates at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.

(Padres starter Joe Wieland is making his major-league debut. The 22-year-old had a 1.80 ERA in Double-A last year.)

Dee Gordon, SS
Tony Gwynn Jr., LF
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
James Loney, 1B
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Matt Treanor, C
Ted Lilly, P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*No offense to Andre Ethier.

* * *

Vin Scully is set to return to the Dodger broadcast booth Sunday. Hooray, I say!

* * *

Todd Coffey has indeed gone on the disabled list to make room on the roster for Ted Lilly (and preserve Josh Lindblom’s roster spot).