Review and Preview Number 11

Yesterday, the Dodgers lost by a score of 3-0 to the Colorado Rockies.  I had predicted yesterday that the Dodger bats would remain hot, and that Ubaldo would have one more bad game.  So naturally, Jimenez looked like the Jimenez of last year.  Well, not quite that good, but he was still great.  He pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 7, walking none, and allowing only 4 hits.  Jon Garland pitched well enough for the Dodgers.  He threw 6 innings, allowing 3 runs, 5 hits with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk.  He pitched well enough to keep his team in the game, but the Dodgers just couldn’t square up on anything Ubaldo was throwing.  The dominance was shown most at the very end, with 2 outs left in the bottom of the 9th.  Matt Kemp was fouling off and taking pitches, trying to get a good pitch to hit and drive in Furcal, who was on 2nd Base.  Ubaldo reared back, and blew a high fastball right by Kemp to end the game.

As I said before, Garland pitched well enough.  He just got tagged with some unfortunate Extra Base Hits that he couldn’t prevent from being cashed in.  In the 2nd inning, Ty Wiggington led off with a line drive that Matt Kemp dove for and just missed, so Wiggington was credited with a triple.  To be honest, it may have been the fastest I’ve seen a big slow guy run since Prince Fielder’s Inside the Park Home Run.  The next batter then got Wiggington home with a sacrifice fly.  Next inning, Seth Smith hit a double to right field, and scored after the next two batters sacrificed to advanced him.  The next inning, Todd Helton hit a Home Run to Right Field.  Besides those extra base hits, Garland was effective for most of the night.

In the 7th inning, Rookie Josh Lindblom made his Major-League Debut.  He gave up a couple hits, but then got an out via sacrifice bunt, a throw home on a fielder’s choice ground ball, and another ground ball that James Loney made a nice play at first to stop.  Lindblom didn’t look great, but when Hawksworth gets back from the DL, hopefully he takes Troncoso’s spot on the roster, and Lindblom can simply pitch in low-leverage situations.  He was called up from AA, continuing the streak of relievers called up from AA and not AAA, that started with (technically) Kenley Jansen, then Javy Guerra, continued with Rubby De La Rosa, and continues now with Josh Lindblom.  Scott Elbert came in during the next inning, and wasn’t great either.  He took care of Carlos Gonzalez, gave up a double to Troy Tulowitzki (which is nothing to feel bad about), and got Helton out.  Mattingly elected to intentionally walk Wiggington, and Jamey Carroll bobbled an easy ground ball that let Jose Morales reach base.  Mattingly brought in Guerrier, who got the last out and pitched a scoreless 9th.  If the Dodgers are getting a quality start of their fifth starter during most games, I’ll absolutely take that every 5 days.  Especially with the offense still looking like it can round into form.

And against a guy like Jimenez, you’re going to have games where you simply can’t score.  It’s an annoying trend that pitchers with “0’s in the win column can come to Dodger stadium and pitch at least 8 2/3 innings (I’m looking at you, Madison Bumgarner!)  but good pitchers are good pitchers, and they find ways to come out of slumps.  Sometimes, that “way’ just happens to be the Dodger offense.  Jimenez didn’t have the swing-and-miss stuff that he had last year.  He’s still not quite at that level.  But his fastball still has heat, and his off-speed pitches still have nasty bites to them.  We as Baseball fans will know that he’s back when he’s able to blow by hitters the way he blew past Matt Kemp at the end of yesterday’s game, but so far, it’s a good start for him.  Rockies fans have to be encouraged too, especially after losing Jorge De La Rosa for the year.  One start doesn’t change everything, but it’s clear to me at least that I gave up on him far too fast.

Today, the Dodgers don’t play, but tomorrow they will start a 3 game series with Cincinatti.  Tomorrow will feature Hiroki Kuroda pitching against Bronson Arroyo.  This will be a tough test for Kuroda, as the Reds have last year’s MVP in Joey Votto, the NL’s version of Jose Bautista in Jay Bruce, and one of the most underrated players in Baseball in Drew Stubbs.  Their whole team can hit and hit well, so Kuroda will have to be on top of his game.  Arroyo is a decent #3/#4 starter, but he hasn’t been too good yet this year.  Mostly because his Home Run/9 innings rate is at an absurdly high 2.01/9 innings rate.  That should come down, but hopefully not tomorrow.  I’ll say both pitchers go 7 innings and give up 4 runs.  This should be a fun series to watch though, as any team can have offense in Cincinatti’s ballpark.

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