A Review of Yesterday’s Dodger Game and a Preview of Today’s.

While I will have a variety of work in my posts, there will always be a daily post on the Dodgers.  In those posts, I plan to recap the game from the previous day, as well as offer a preview of the game from the next day.  With that, I’ll begin.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 4-1. LA starter Ted Lilly was able to pitch six innings, but gave up all four runs in the second inning, and a four run deficit proved to be far too much for the Dodgers offense to come back from, particularly because Arizona starter Ian Kennedy pitched a very good game.  Kennedy pitched six innings as well, but struck out 8, and only gave up 1 run on four hits and one walk.  His dominance of the Dodger offense was particularly visible in the lower half of the lineup, who didn’t get on base once against him.  Aaron Miles and Jamey Carroll each had two hits, while Matt Kemp had the walk.  The Arizona bullpen proceeded to handle the Dodgers in similar fashion, until the end of the game, when closer J.J. Putz came in and made it slightly interesting by giving up a leadoff double to James Loney (although the ball really should have been caught by Gerardo Parra in left field), and a walk to Juan Uribe two batters later.  Rod Barajas then hit a long flyball to dead center field that nearly cleared the wall before the wind bottomed out on it, allowing Chris Young to catch it halfway through the warning track.  Jerry Sands then came up to bat, still seeking his first major league home run, and after a nine pitch at bat, hit a pop fly that Kelley Johnson easily handled near first base.

Ted Lilly, as mentioned, gave up four runs in the second inning, all a product of two Home Runs.  One by Xavier Nady (his first of the year), and the other by Ryan Roberts.  Both were hit to left field and cleared the wall pretty easily.  Lilly had now given up 8 Home Runs in 50.1 innings, which is a very high rate of 1.43/nine innings.  It wasn’t just the second inning though, Lilly was getting hit pretty hard all game.  In the first inning, he gave up a flyball to left field that took a great defensive play by Tony Gwynn Jr. to turn into an out, and Justin Upton hit a hard line drive right at third baseman Juan Castro.  Lilly now has an ERA of 7.71 in four daytime starts this season.  While starts is an incredibly small sample size, that’s still not a good trend for Lilly to be following.

There were a couple positives to be taken from this game however.  First, Aaron Miles isn’t playing as bad as one would expect.  He had three hits yesterday, and while he’s only hitting singles and not taking walks, he’s been on a mini-hot streak, so at least he’s getting on base as the 2-hitter.  Even more encouraging though, were the two recently called-up relievers used by the Dodgers: Scott Elbert and Javy Guerra.  Elbert, who has switched between starter and reliever multiple times, and has always had serious control issues, came in during the 8th inning and struck out all three batters he faced.  Guerra came in during the 9th inning and caused Melvin Mora to ground out, and after allowing a hit to Chris Young, threw him out when he tried to steal second base.  He then struck out Kelley Johnson to end the inning.  Lastly, James Loney did get that double.  So while it probably could have been called an error, at least Loney is turning into a below-average hitter during May, rather than the horribly bad one we saw in April.  He’s basically never going to hit Home Runs at this point, but if he can at least turn into a decent hitter, this Dodger offense could really use it.

All in all, it was a really tough game to watch (I was routinely flipping to the documentary “Four Days in October” which was playing on ESPN), particularly because the lack of offense wasn’t remotely surprising.  Even when the bases were loaded with one out in the 1st inning, I had little hope that Loney or Dioner Navarro would be able to drive in a run, even by sacrifice fly.  What it made it worse was the predictability of it.  Lilly is a flyball pitcher, and I just didn’t expect him to shutout the Diamondbacks, which is basically necessary at this point because the offense has shown an inability to string hits together or hit for extra bases when they’ve needed to.  At least Dodger fans can count on Rafael Furcal’s likely return to the lineup after the two game series with Milwaukee.  He would add some much needed life to the offense.

And speaking of the Brewers, I’ll do a quick preview of tonights game.  Tonights starters are Shaun Marcum and Jon Garland.  Marcum is pitching the best baseball of his career so far this year (again, small sample size).  He has thrown 49.2 innings of 2.72 ERA ball.  He’s giving up less home runs/fly balls this year than he has in his career, and is striking out more batters/nine innings than he has in his career.  The first one will likely regress a tad (although it will probably remain lower than his career norm because he’s not pitching in all of the AL East hitters parks anymore), but the Dodgers don’t have the hitters to change that number very much.  If I had to guess, Marcum will pitch 7 innings, and allow 1 earned run.  Garland, meanwhile is pitching as he always has: he’s not walking or striking out too many hitters, and he’s allowing plenty of flyballs for outs.  The Brewers have a very strong offense, but I still think Garland will pitch a good enough game to get the win.  He just won’t win because the Dodgers won’t score enough runs.  I’ll guess he goes 7 innings and allows 3 earned runs.

So there you go.  If you agree or disagree, or if you have any critiques of my writing, I welcome your thoughts in the form of a comment.  Thanks for reading!

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