The Dodgers came into Saturday night's contest at Chase Field in last place -- yes, only five games in, I know -- struggling in many ways.
The club needed a strong outing from its starter, after James McDonald could get only seven outs the night before. Enter Eric Stults, fresh up from Albuquerque, who plodded his way through 5.1 innings, leaving only after allowing his first run in the sixth. Stults, who didn't exactly impress in spring training, gave them an outing at just about the upper limit of what the club could reasonably expect. His game score of 59 stacks up with anyone on the staff so far:
The offense was struggling as well, averaging only 3.6 runs per game coming into tonight's game. Enter Orlando Hudson, who had a home run and a double against his old club, sparking the 11-run outburst. The offensive attack was somewhat surprising, especially considering Diamondbacks' righty Yusmeiro Petit opened the game by retiring his first ten batters, striking out five.
Is there still room for improvement? Sure there is, the club is only 3-3. But, it's amazing what one game can do for one's psyche. I feel a lot better about this club right now than I did about 22 hours ago.
Also, just in case a nine-run victory wasn't enough to satisfy your thirst for Dodger success, here is some more good news: Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin both made their 2009 debuts tonight, and both were in fine form.
In Martin's case, the 19-year old was making his professional debut for the Great Lakes Loons, as a knee injury sidelined the 2008 draftee last season before he threw a pitch. Martin allowed only two hits and two walks in five scoreless innings, striking out four Dayton Dragons in a 2-0 win.
Lindblom, the 21-year old who impressed just about everyone in spring training, allowed only one run and five hits in five innings, striking out six while walking nary a batter for Chattanooga, 4-2 winners over the Birmingham Barons.
As cliche as it sounds, tomorrow is the rubber game of this series, and it would be nice to head into the home opener following a win rather than a loss. Randy Wolf takes the hill for the Dodgers on Easter Sunday, and will be opposed by Diamondback co-ace Dan Haren. Will the Dodgers see the Dan Haren that allowed ten runs in ten innings over his last two starts against them, or will they see the Dan Haren that allowed only seven earned runs in the four starts before that?
We do know Juan Pierre will get the start in CF Sunday; what we don't know is if that means Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp will sit.
Happy Easter everyone!