Review and Preview Number 10

Yesterday, the Dodgers continued their winning ways by beating the Colorado Rockies by a score of 8-2.  Ted Lilly had one of his best games of the season, pitching 7 innings and allowing only 2 earned runs, and striking out 8 while walking none.  He only threw 111 pitches, so he probably could have gone out for one more inning, so no complaints there.  Rubby De La Rosa pitched the other 2 innings, giving up a duoble to Troy Tulowitzki (which is really nothing to feel bad about) but otherwise dominating the Rockies that he faced.  He struck out two and walked none, so the Dodgers pitching as a whole had a strong day.  Similar to Monday’s game, the Rockies scored once on a Home Run by Ty Wiggington, and the other run came from Chris Nelson scoring on a sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers continued to play like a team with an actual offense, or at least hates to see their team name so low in the Run Differential standings.  If you include this game, the Dodgers have scored 8, then 7, then 8 runs in their past three games.  Over that same time period, they’ve given up only 3 runs in the past three games.  The Dodgers used Matt Kemp and the Long Ball as their primary means of scoring (as usual).  Kemp hit a 2 run Homer in the 1st inning, a shot to right field, and then came up with the bases loaded in the 3rd and hit a single to drive in 2 runs.  The odd thing about that play is that the Rockies elected to walk Andre Ethier with first base open and face Matt Kemp.  I say this is odd because it makes literally no sense to do this.  Kemp has been by far the best hitter on the Dodgers this year.  The only major batting category that is higher for Ethier than for Kemp is Batting Average.  I guess maybe Jim Tracy thought it would be better to have his embattled Right-Handed pitcher throw to Kemp rather than Ethier, because Ethier is amazing against Righties, but that’s still a stretch of an argument.  I mean, that’s as if someone walked Kevin Youkilis to get to Adrian Gonzalez.  Sure, maybe the platoon advantage helps some, but you’re still walking a good hitter to get to a great hitter.  Jim Tracy gets some flak around the Baseball blogosphere, usually sarcastically, but that was a pretty indefensible move.  Plus, it’s not like Mortensen had made Kemp look foolish in Kemp’s last At Bat.  Indeed, the opposite took place, as Kemp had his homer.

The other contributor was a name that hasn’t been heard in far too long.  Casey “The Beard” Blake.  In the 7th Inning, Casey Blake hit a 3-run home run to left field to put the game squarely out of reach for the Rockies.  Production from Blake and Furcal is going to be key for the Dodger as they move forward, so to see them both Homer in the past couple of games is very encouraging.  In fact, between them and Loney, who is finally heating up, the Dodgers might have enough hitters in the infield to survive if/when Kemp begins to cool off again.  Plus, if Sands can get back to looking like he has the Majors figured out, then Kemp and Ethier can be given some rest.

I’m trying to keep a level head and not get too optimistic, but a three game winning streak in which you’ve won by scores of 8, 6 and 6 can do that to you as a fan.  The starting pitching has been on the top of their game, and the offense is actually contributing.  Callups like Rubby, Scott Elbert, and Javy Guerra have given the bullpen the reliable arms they need to make it game to game.  This appears to be a team that is finally coming together.  And, they’ll be getting some more important role players back from the DL over the next couple of weeks, with guys such as Vicente Padilla, Marcus Thames, and Juan Uribe looking to be coming back soon.  I’m particularly excited about Uribe, because the starting infield of Loney, Uribe, Furcal, and Blake will actually get to play more than two games together.  Plus, Juan Castro will hopefully be pushed off the team, and Aaron Miles (who did double in Jerry Sands and could be a lot worse) will be the super utility infielder he should be.

As for tonights game, the Dodgers will send Jon Garland to the mound looking to sweep the Rockies, who will send embattled former-ace, Ubaldo Jimenez.  Ubaldo’s issues so far this year have been tied to him just being more hittable, as well as walking far too many batters to have consistent success.  I think Ubaldo has a decent day, going 6 innings and giving up 4 runs, while Garland pitches 7 and gives up 3.  Whoever comes in after Ubaldo will give up a run or too as well.  Hopefully the Dodgers will be able to get their first sweep of the season tonight!

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