Van Slyke debuts with RBI single in Dodger victory

Tonight at Dodger Stadium, Chad Billingsley needed 85 pitches to get through four innings, allowing 11 baserunners – but only two runs, and that was the preeminent silver lining.

A huge play came in the third inning, with the Dodgers down 2-0, when Matt Kemp threw out Nate Schierholtz rounding second base, seconds before Brandon Belt would have crossed home plate with the Giants’ third run. That was as close as San Francisco came to scoring again in what became a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers.

With Tim Linceum pitching, you might expect San Francisco wouldn’t need more than two runs, but 2012 has not been Lincecum’s year.  Tony Gwynn Jr. capped a four-run fourth inning with a bases-loaded triple off an 0-2 Lincecum changeup – according to Bob Timmermann, Gwynn became the first to hit a bases-loaded pinch-triple in the fourth inning since Jeff Burroughs in June 1978. Dodger manager Don Mattingly had rightly pinch-hit for Billingsley, who didn’t offer much reason to remain in the game in that situation.

Two innings later, A.J. Ellis tripled with one out, and Scott Van Slyke – in his first major-league at-bat – singled up the middle to get him home. According to the Dodgers’ public relations staff, Van Slyke became the first Dodger with a pinch-hit RBI hit in his first at-bat since Carl Warwick in April 1961.

Billingsley, by the way, singled in his only at-bat, meaning that the bottom spot in the order went 3 for 3 – with Chris Capuano hitting a pinch-sacrifice in the bottom of the eighth. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Capuano was the first Dodger pitcher to pinch-sacrifice since Orel Hershiser in September 1988.

Jamey Wright, Ronald Belisario, Josh Lindblom and Kenley Jansen combined for five innings of shutout relief.

Ellis, Andre Ethier, Bobby Abreu and Juan Uribe each had two hits for the Dodgers. Abreu is OPSing .971 as a Dodger so far, while Ellis now leads National League catchers in OPS at .927.

Matt Kemp, on the other hand, went 0 for 5 for the first time since September 2009.

  • Anonymous

    We wanted people besides Matt to contribute offensively, so no complaints here. I can face the Frisco fans in my life at least until the next series. :-)

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but how are they going to face you?

      • Anonymous

        I’m not one to rub it in, so I’ll just smile a lot.

        Of course, if they want to take the lead in ripping their own team, I’d consider it my duty to join in. I mean, what are friends for?

  • Anonymous

    Jon, you need to do a little editing above. Kemp threw out the runner, and it was Gwynn who pinch-tripled.

    I recall Lee Walls hitting a pinch triple with the bags loaded to help beat the Gnats in the second game of the 1962 playoff. Unfortunately, it didn’t carry over to game three.

    Great job by the pen.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Yuck.  Thanks. 

  • Anonymous

    Kenley needed the work, as he hadn’t pitched since May 6 and tomorrow is a day off.  But not sure that I am going to get used to him as the closer and coming in to “shut down” games where we have a 4-run lead.

  • KT

    LAT’ed
     
    Well since we don’t play again until Friday…Hold down the fort for me guys this weekend…I’m going in for surgery #17 on Friday, repair of the previous right knee surgery…I should be out by Sunday hopefully Night all

    • Anonymous

      Ha!  Just had my right knee done last week.  All the best KT.

      • KT

        what did they do?
         
        Mine is going to be an adjustment of my fake patella if not good then they are going to replace the whole knee

        • Anonymous

          They removed a joint mouse that I have had since I was a kid.  No big thing, but I have been on crutches for the past week.

          • KT

            never heard of a joint mouse…I don’t plan to be on crutches over a week, never have been, I’m thinking 5 days then a cane

          • Anonymous

            Will you look anything like ‘House’  ;)

          • KT

            Are you calling me a House…I know I’m a little over weight but not as big as a house

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Good luck, KT. 

      • KT

        Thanks Jon

    • Anonymous

       I’m way behind you. I’ve only had three, and they’ve all been arthroscopies.

      • Anonymous

        I feel like a piker with just two hip replacements.   Both on the same hip.

        • KT

          Had Bi-lateral hip replacement…They almost didn’t do the 1st since I was so you…Hope I don’t have to have them replaced when I get older

      • KT

        Count your blessings…I remember a time when all I had were scopes…nice and easy

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Good luck KT. Hope to activate you off the disabled list here soon. :)

      • Anonymous

        +1, looking for both of you to be back off the DL ASAP.

        • KT

          Thanks Tommy

      • KT

        Thanks UD…I’m hoping I’m home for Sundays game at the latest

    • Anonymous

      Good luck, KT, and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
      .
      Will Dr. Neil el-Attacher be doing the surgery?  :)

      • KT

        Thanks NSX…not sure who your talking about unless it’s a play on the first name

  • KT

    In case I don’t answer back personally for any well wishes they are greatly apreciated…Thank you in advance

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Mistakes should be fixed. So caught up in the trivia hunt, I proofread poorly. 

  • Anonymous

    Carl Warwick’s only hit as a Dodger was in his first AB. He had 12 more PAs with 2 BBs and the Dodgers traded him along with Bob Lillis to the Cardinals for Daryl Spencer.

    In the 1964 World Series for the Cardinals, Warwick was 3 for 4 as a pinch hitter with a walk.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, that Warwick.  I remember him from playing hookie to watch the 64 WS.

      • Anonymous

        Carl Warwick was like Rickey Henderson in that he batted right, but threw left.

        • Anonymous

          The rarest combo in baseball

        • Anonymous

           And like Cody Ross.

          • Anonymous

            And Koufax

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that Bills and Lincecum got the exact same game score – 41

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Nice to see Dodgers score 6 runs and win a game in which Matt Kemp went 0-5. Must be the Van Slyke Factor! 

  • Anonymous

    Some people had mentioned earlier that Beli’s stuff was so sick tonight that it was even fooling HP Ump Gary Sederstrom.  Look at the pitch f/x chart for Melky’s AB.

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Yeah, doesn’t surprise me. If they cared more about reviewing umpires work quality they’d send tape of that sequence to the league office because that was truly horrible. Even Giants announcers were saying it was a bit ludicrous.

  • Anonymous

    This is a response to the previous, “clarification” post.  I’d heard the Magic quote from the press conference before reading your Guggenheim post.  The question was about rental income for McCourt (which we know will be $14M/yr).  And while Magic seemed to be disputing that, he didn’t actually respond to the the question asked.  What he actually said was that McCourt is not involved in the team, and that this only future “profit” would be from possible future development.  That is technically correct.  The $14M/yr is not profit-based.  It is lease income, and will be paid whether the Dodgers make a billion or lose a billion.  It is not in any sense a McCourt stake in the profits or even income of the team.  IOW, while you, Jon, may not have hear this quote from the presser before you wrote your earlier article, I think you were correct nonetheless.  The $14M/yr lease agreement is merely an annuity (deferred) part of the purchase price, and is not at all related to the future operation of the team.

    So while Magic might have intended to obfuscate, he didn’t lie – he just didn’t answer the question.  If he’d started his answer with “Yes, but…” there’d have been no question of the truthfulness of his answer.   

  • Anonymous

    I hope this is the start of great things from SVS.

    • Anonymous

      I thought it was great he got to play in a key situation, and then delivered, even if it was a broken-bat single.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

        He’s a bigger dude than I thought he was.

        • Anonymous

          Me too.  Anyone else think his stance at the plate was kind of like a beer league softballer?

  • Anonymous

    Can anyone explain why they used Chris Capuano for the pinch sacrifice?  He’s not a particularly good hitter.  Is he a better bunter than Lindblom, who was due up, or is there another explanation?

    • Anonymous

      I recall reading a graphic that said he was one behind Johnny Cueto for the league lead in sac bunts. And he obviously got the job done, even though everybody knew what he was going to do.

    • Anonymous

      Capuano already has 6 sacrifices in 14 PA this season.  By comparison, Clayton, who is good at this as well, has 4 in 16, and in 2010 had 18 in 74.

      • Anonymous

        Would Capuano’s sacrifice total be a by-product of Ellis reaching base a lot?

        • Anonymous

          I expect you’re capable of coming up with that answer quicker than anybody else here.

          • Anonymous

            He’s moved up Ellis four times and Treanor twice.

        • Anonymous

          We may be blessed by not-to-shabby sacrificing starters.  At least the numbers show that, apart from Capuano,all have been able to reach at least double digits on that score at times in their careers.  Ted Lilly had 12 one season.

          • Anonymous

            except for Harang.  He was terrible when I’ve seen him attempt to sacrifice.  

        • Anonymous

          >> Would Capuano’s sacrifice total be a by-product of Ellis reaching base a lot?
          .
          Yes, but no more so than our other starting pitchers, assuming they toss to Ellis as much as CC does.

  • Anonymous

    Notes:

    1.  Way to go T-Gwynn, Jr. !!!
    2.  Welcome to the show,  Scotty Van Slyke….
    3.  Win or Lose… this 2012 edition of the Dodgers is fun to watch.
    4.  When your team’s lineup lacks “top-to-bottom power” and “top-to-bottom All Stars” like the Yankees, Rangers, etc…. it’s like watching an “suspense thriller” rather than just a big, old-fashioned “shoot ‘em up”  … I enjoy all the consideration given to true baseball strategy this season. Fun. 

    • Anonymous

      True baseball strategy?  Ha!  Earl Weaver knows where you can put that sacrifice.

      • Anonymous

        In Weaver’s last pennant-winning team, 1979, the Orioles tied for last in the AL (with Boston) with 42 sacrifices. Minnesota, overmanaged by Gene Mauch, sacrificed 142 times. Rob Wilfong had 25 and he had the highest OPS of any starter on that team at .810.

        The Twins did not win the division that year.

        • Anonymous

          The construction of the team needs to be considered too.  If this year’s Dodger team waits around for Earl’s three run homer, it’s going to end up being a long season. 

          • Anonymous

            Sure, but its a strategy, its not “true baseball” strategy.

          • Anonymous

            Like Jim Tracy walking Kemp as the tying run only to see Gordon double him home to tie the game?  Sometimes “true” goes for the boys in blue, sometimes not.  :)

      • Anonymous

         Hey Bob… On your game bright and early today… :-)

        PS – I never even mentioned the term, “sacrifice” ….. I was actually thinking of all the roster and lineup manipulation Mattingly has had to do night in and night out.
        But, since you mention “sacrifice” Bob …. You must really, really like it. Ha!  :-p

  • Anonymous

    In three games against a team that boasts about its pitching, the Dodgers outscored them 16-5.

  • Anonymous

    Who’s the All-Star here?

                A.J.    Posey

    BA       .303    .304
    OBP    .454    .355
    SLG    .474    .471
    OPS    .927    .825
    RBI        11       12
    BB         20         8
    K           18        25

    • Anonymous

      I wonder if McCann will get on track to make himself a legitimate. Or maybe he will finally get to win on reputation.

      • Anonymous

        You’ll probably disagree, but I think the results were better when the players chose the All-Stars, and I looked forward to seeing the results.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a shame few voters will care enough to consider this.

    • Anonymous

      What about games played. Pretty impressive since Posey gets a break from catching.

    • KT

      I vote A

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    Excellent game last night. It was good to see the bullpen hold the fort…and after heavily criticizing Mattingly for all the bunting the previous game, I have to commend him for decisively pulling the trigger on Billingsley in the 4th. A couple of things:

    1. Matt Kemp. He’s entered the inevitable lull that all major league hitters have in a season built for ebbs and flows. If he’s improved as much as I believe he has, he’ll be sizzling again in two weeks.
    2. Chris Capuano. Though I’m not a big fan of the sacrifice bunt, I’m a HUGE fan of a skill performed expertly. His bunting form is absolutely outstanding…
    3. Bobby Abreu. If he can be a reasonable facsimile of what he was last year, he’s the best leadoff hitter on the roster. If he can somehow better that performance, he could be the acquisition of the year. At worst, I think Mattingley should insert Abreu in the leadoff spot and see if it takes. He’s always gotten on base, and he still runs decently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

      I agree on Abreu. This Gordon thing should end for now… I am sure someplace in the orginization they can find a SS who can field and get on base at a .268 clip..

      • Anonymous

        Paging Angel Berroa…That seems drastic. Perhaps dropping him in the order should be a first step.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

           well I don’t mean long term. just so maybe he can gain some confidence and work on some things. It’s not just numbers to me (though they are real bad) but approach and ability to do certain things. Right now he is hurting the team at leadoff, so yah maybe move him down, but do u want a .268OBP hitter  with no power hitting anywhere? To me it’s not fair  for Mattingly to say, well Loney you better produce and its about production or he will reduce playing time, but not act the same towards Gordon (or anyone)

    • Anonymous

      You have to really appreciate a hitter classified as being in a lull after a 4 for 11 series with 2 walks.
       
      Even so, I agree with you that he does seem to be in a lull.  Or is it that fans got a bit spolied in April?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

        I guess I just sense it for two reasons:

        1. Over the last several days he’s fouled off some fastballs that were pavilion material earlier.
        2. He just generally doesn’t seem as locked and loaded. He’s not squaring things up at the moment.

        It’s only natural for it to happen, because it’s happened to every player in the history of history. A good measure of his improvement, though, will be in measuring how many ABs it will take for him to lock in again. My guess is 40 at bats…which is a fairly short lull :)

        • Anonymous

          I see the same and sure hope you are correct.    Some credit to the Giants pitchers too, but I started to notice some of this in Chicago.

        • KT

          I love that saying…The History of History not just baseball but all of history…like it’s eniviable as death and taxes

  • Anonymous

    Three things about last night’s game make me happy.  (1) The previous evening, the Dodgers had plenty of opportunities to score, but could not convert most of them.  (Taking advantage of opportunities is what separates a good team from a mediocre one.)  Last night, the Dodgers turned that around, big-time.  (2) The Dodgers won even with Matt going 0 for 5.  Any team needs to win without always depending on their best player to do so. (3) For the Dodgers to do well, we need our bullpen to be solid. Last night they looked good out there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

      yep, They won with the first 3 guys in the order going 1-13 while leaving 10 runners on base.

  • foul tip

    Thinking optimistically–a welcome change where the Dodgers are concerned–in a playoff scenario facing a team heavy on LHH, this year’s team matches up well with its 3 lefty starters.

    Or against a lefty-heavy team in a key regular season series.  Same story.

    This assumes that laggard Kershaw gets his act together and quits slacking off and turns in numbers that at least approach those of his fellow lefties.  ;-])

    • Anonymous

      You seem to have forgotten the longstanding traditional term that is the trademark for Dodger players who are slackers and laggards.  He’s a BUM!!!  :)

  • Anonymous

    Capuano is the first dodger pitcher to pinch hit and lay down a sacrifice since Hershiser 1988????
    WOW.

    • Anonymous

      That’s not surprising.  When you need a sacrifice bunt from the ninth spot, you can usually count on the pitcher in the game to at least lay down a bunt.  When you use a pinch hitter, it’s usually to swing away.  I’ve never heard of using a pinch hitter to lay down a bunt.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t see anything wrong with using a pitcher sitting on the bench to lay down a bunt when necessary ….a la Tuesday night when Mattingly entrusted Uribe to bunt and it turned into a disaster. I guess there is always the threat of injury.

  • Anonymous

    If it didn’t stink of LaGenius, I’d suggest batting Abreu leadoff and Gordon 9th.  That way, you get the benefits of his speed leading off an inning (assuming the pitcher makes the final out of the previous inning) without actually having him in the leadoff spot. 

  • Anonymous

    Gwynn’s 3 RBI pinch triple was the first by a Dodger since Steve Garvey hit one against Max Scarce of the Phillies on 6/12/1973. 
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI197306120.shtml 

    Garvey (batting for Doug Rau) turned a 6-5 Phillies lead into an 8-6 Dodgers win.

    Duke Snider also had a bases-loaded triple off the bench for the Dodgers back on May 11, 1962. Snider was batting for Daryl Spencer, who was already announced into the game as a hitter for Stan Williams.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196205110.shtml 

    The pinch triple by Lee Walls alluded to above was actually a 3 RBI pinch double. Walls was credited with a double and advancing to third on the throw home.

    I saw a game in Japan that ended on a bases-loaded pinch triple. 

    Back on 8/16/2004, Juan Castro had a bases-loaded pinch triple for the Reds. In his next at bat, he homered. The Reds still lost the game 10-5.

    • Anonymous

      >> Juan Castro had a bases-loaded pinch triple for the Reds. In his next at bat, he homered.
      .
      Wow.  I never heard of him homering, so I just looked up his career stats.  In 17 years and 2849 PA, he hit 36 home runs and 13 triples. He actually had a little bit of pop earlier in his career; in 2003, he had 348 PA (his career high) and managed to go yard 9 times.

    • Anonymous

      Color me as completely impressed by your ability to find information like this.  Amazing.

    • Anonymous

      I recall, at the time, radio announcers giving Walls credit for a triple, but I could be mistaken or the scorer might have changed his mind.

    • Anonymous

      I assume there’s a typo above; should be Mac Scarce not Max.

  • Anonymous
    • Anonymous

      The article failed to mention that Vinny raced Jackie Robinson….on ice!!!

      • Anonymous

        And that Dan Uggla’s name means “owl.”

  • Anonymous

    any thoughts on Van Slyke spelling Loney at first for awhile.  Despite great defensive skills, Loney has lost his mojo at the plate and the team cannot afford a first baseman hitting in the low 200′s

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Yeah, bummer they can’t combine Loney’s defense with SVS at least potential on offense (have heard his D isn’t great), but if they could create a new hybrid player, we could have an all-star!   Anyway, I suspect SVS will spell Loney vs lefties, the way that Rivera was. 

    • Anonymous

      I would think it will at least be tried.  If he take Rivera’s place, he would see time at first against lefties.  Maybe not as many as Rivera, but he’ll see some starts.

    • Anonymous

      When it comes to mojo, I’m not sure Loney has any to lose.  Every summer, he stumbles onto some mojo that’s just lying around, in a blind squirrel/nut sort of way, but I think we basically know now, after 812 games and 3122 plate appearances, that he’s just not a very good hitter.  Career OPS of .772 is awful for a first baseman.  And now he’s starting to cost real money!

  • Anonymous

    How do Dee Gordon’s 2012 numbers compare so far with, let’s say, Mariano Duncan’s 1985 numbers? Is he outplaying Mariano, is he on par, should he do his hair like Mariano?

    • Anonymous

      I hope Gordon fares better than Duncan. Duncan never had an OBP over .300 with the Dodgers. He finished at .300 in OBP for his career.

    • Anonymous

      Gordon 2012 (30 G): .227/.268/.294/.562 12 SB
      Duncan 1985 (142 G): .244/.293/.340/.633 38 SB
      Gordon MLB career: .277/.304/.338/.643 36 SB
      Duncan MLB career: .267/.300/.388/.688 174 SB

      • Anonymous

        Maybe Gordon should practice the following mantra:

        “We play today.
        We win today.
        Dat’s it.”

  • Anonymous

    Who’s the All-Star here? (Part 2)

                A.J.    Posey

    GP       25    20

    E        1 4

    SB 12 13

    CS% .455 .188

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    One step closer!
    RT @TopesWriter: Just checked #Topes roster. Lo and behold, uber-relief prospect Shawn Tolleson is listed.

    • Anonymous

      That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s closer to the big leagues.  Our pitchers tend to shuttle between Los Angeles and Chattanooga.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous