Review and Preview Number 8

This will cover two games against Houston, because I was unable to get this post up before today’s game started.  So let’s begin with yesterday’s game:

Yesterday, the Dodgers beat the Astros by a score of 5-4.  It left many fans with a very positive feeling, because it was a game that was won almost entirely by rookies.  Chad Billingsley pitched a very strong 6 innings, Mike MacDougal pitched a scoreless 7th inning, and Jay Gibbons hit his first Home Run of the season, but everything else was taken care of by the rookies.  In the 3rd inning, after a Bill Hall error continued an inning, Jerry Sands came up to bat with the bases loaded, and proceeded to absolutely crush a ball to Left Center field.  From what I’ve read, the ball has been estimated to have gone about 422 feet.  So yeah, crushed.  That was Sands’ second home run, and first career Grand Slam (in a more depressing note, it was also the Dodgers first extra base hit with the bases loaded all season,) which gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead.  I’ll talk more about Sands in a minute.

Rubby De La Rosa came in during the 8th inning and made his major league debut by pitching a scoreless inning, against the 3-4-5 hitters of Houston no less, and recorded two strikeouts as well.  The only time contact was made was with a shattered bat groundball.  So that’s about as strong debut as I’ve seen.  If it weren’t for the Dodgers putting runners on first and third with two outs the next inning (bringing up Andre Ethier, who was intentionally walked.  Rafael Furcal struck out after that to end the inning,) De La Rosa would have likely stayed in to pitch a 2-inning save.  Instead, Javy Guerra came in and closed out the game, only throwing 8 pitches, all for strikes.  Sands put the runs on the board, and with the arms of Rubby and Javy, the Dodgers were able to close out the game.

It appears though that Jerry Sands has really adjusted to the major leagues.  Eric Stephen at True Blue LA pointed out that since April 18th, when Sands was called up, he has hit almost as well as Andre Ethier.  Ethier has a .277/.353/.403 line, while Sands has a .239/.343/.413 line.  While Ethier has a higher Batting Average, Sands’ OPS (On Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage) is .001 lower than Ethier’s.  That’s pretty good for a rookie who’s been adjusting to the majors, especially if you remember that Ethier was in the middle of his 30 game hitting streak during that time period.  Sands only has one less Home Run than Ethier, but he has 4 more Doubles.  Between those two and Matt Kemp (who is on fire, again) the Dodgers have one of the better hitting Outfields in the Major Leagues.

The Dodgers could not continue the good feelings today though, losing to the Astros by a score of 2-1.  Ted Lilly pitched a good game, allowing only one run during his 6 innings of work (that one run coming off of a Home Run, surprise surprise) and obviously did his job.  The Dodgers faced Aneury Rodriguez, a Rule 5 draft pick (like Carlos Monasterios, for those who remember him from last year) who doesn’t strike out that many batters, and walks quite a few.  To put it simply, he’s not a very good pitcher.  So naturally, he had his best start of the year against the Dodgers, allowing only 1 run in 6 innings, and striking out 5.  That one run came off of a Matt Kemp Home Run.  Besides Kemp and Dioner Navarro (who went 2-4 and saved a run from scoring with this great play), nobody really did much of anything against a starter that quite frankly, should have been shelled today.  With the score tied going into the 9th, Brett Wallace hit a deep double off of Matt Guerrier that could have been caught by Kemp, but was a very difficult play.  Two batters later, J. R. Towles hit a single to score drive in the winning run.  Towles has 3 hits in his last 36 Plate Appearances, and naturally, all three came today.

This was a series that the Dodgers badly needed to win.  Playing against the worst team in the National League, and winning only 1 of their last 5 games, the Dodgers needed to start a winning streak and get back to .500.  But the Dodgers as a whole are just playing bad baseball.  Between the injuries, the collection of ineffective hitters, and the Bullpen having bad games when they really don’t need to, this team is reeling.  The Dodgers have the day off tomorrow, and then they start a homestand against Florida.  I’m not sure who the scheduled pitchers are, so tomorrow, I’ll write a post on the Dodgers and cover that aspect toward the end of it.

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