The Los Angeles Dodgers took their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday with a 3-1 victory. This leaves the Dodgers at 4-3 on their 7 game road trip to start the season. The Dodgers head home today to introduce Chavez Ravine to the 2009 season against the hated Giants of San Francisco who are coming off a 3 game sweep by the San Diego Padres. Game time is at 1:10 PST with the gates opening at 10:30am to accommodate the large home opening crowd.
The Dodgers on Sunday rode the strong pitching of Randy Wolf who gave us seven strong working a low 90s fastball with some low 70s off speed to go with it. Wolf put forth our best game by a starting pitcher thus far with what seemed to mostly be finesse and the experience that only a veteran can bring to a game where their stuff is not quite there yet.
Loney hitting cleanup spot because, well, he is the best hitter we have right now. Manny is our best walker/OBP guy so why not protect that with our hottest hitter? Good job Joe, looks like you have been listening! Loney had a timely hit to score Ramirez, finishing the day 2 for 4 when the rest of the team could only muster up 4 total hits. We has 6 hits all day on Sunday and one came from Pierre and another from Kemp, who replaced Pierre late in the game had an RBI knock to keep his hitting streak alive!
Pierre Auditions in The Strangest Play of 2009
Pierre looked good, singling in his first at bat to push Ethier to third base, and then stealing second despite Randy Wolf fouling off pitches. But then one of the strangest plays ever occurred. Wolf lined to the pitcher Haren, who turned to throw to second to double up Pierre to end the inning. But Felipe Lopez does not step on the bag and instead runs to Pierre to tag him out. At the same time Ethier is hustling home and tags home BEFORE Pierre is tagged out on the base paths. But wait, Ethier never tagged up so why did we get the run? There is a rule that says if the team leaves the field of play defensively they lose the right to argue a call. And Melvin was caught sleeping, while our bench coach Bob Schaefer took notice of the umpires huddling, recalling a “4th out” rule which he had discussed with the club during spring training. He told Torre to protest and we won, stealing the run from Haren!
Out bullpen did a great job with Broxton putting down the 9th inning with a steady diet of very high 90s fastballs. The game was a close one the whole way through and our victory can be given to our steady pitching on Sunday. Our hitting was more timely, especially with Loney now batting 4th, but we also stranded a lot of runners again.
Russel Martin – Professional Rally Killer
Martin strikes out with Manny on third and Loney on second in the first. He then steps up in the top of the third with 2 runners on again, following Loneys RBI single, and promptly hits into a tailor made double play ball to end the rally. Maybe we should be praying for him to strike out? That’s 4 runners stranded in three innings by Martin in the 5 spot of the order. Torre listen to LADodgerTalk.com and bat Martin 8th already! Let him focus on calling a good game and his bat will naturally come around at some point, probably when he learns to not put so much pressure on himself.
Russel we all get it, you are a gamer and a warrior and we love your for it, now settle down and just play baseball. Ken has some tips on your swing, something about flying open, take notice. Either work on your swing or just bunt every time up because if you hit into another double play I will lose it!
Opening Day at Dodger Stadium
Vin Scully with appropriately throw out the first pitch today at Chavez Ravine (thank you MLB.tv for allowing me to select our home audio broadcast on every game this season!). I think that it is fitting for this series to be played against our rivals, the Giants.
Chad Billingsley will face Randy Johnson who has NEVER lost at Dodger Stadium in his life, going 7-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 11 starts. Hey, we beat Peavy on the road this season already, we can beat The Unit at home! Johnson remains just 5 wins away from becoming just the 24th pitcher to reach 300 wins. But Bills is no slouch with 2.08 ERA against the Gigantes last season.
Matt Kemp is .600 against Johnson but with only 5 ABs. Most of our lineup has not seen much of Johnson with the exception of Manny who is .310 with 4 HRs and 10 RBI in 29 ABs, and Loretta who has seen The Unit 26 times with a .231 average.