Kuroda Returns To Dodger Stadium

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Believe it or not, tonight will be Hiroki Kuroda's first game at Dodger Stadium since he won Game 3 of last year's NLCS against Philadelphia.  The Dodgers seem confident that Kuroda, who only made two rehabilitation starts, is ready to solidify the rotation.  Ken Gurnick writes:

"I don't think there will be a physical problem," Torre said of Kuroda. "His injury has been tested enough and it wasn't an arm or shoulder and that makes me feel good. The only thing that could get him is pitch count. Having a starter [Kershaw] behind him gives us security in that."

Clayton Kershaw was sent home from Chicago in advance just so he would be rested and ready to pitch in relief if needed, should Kuroda falter before reaching his 85-90 pitch limit.

Here's an amazing stat:  James Loney has come to the plate with a runner on third base with less than two outs 20 times this season.  Only four players have had more opportunities (Evan Longoria, Carlos Peña, Denard Span, and Andre Ethier).  Of those 20 opportunities, Loney has driven that runner from third an MLB-best 17 times, an astonishing 85%. Of the 148 players with at least ten such opportunities, there has been nobody better than Loney in getting the run home.  The major league average is 51%.  Plus, two of the three times Loney has "failed" in that scenario was because he was intentionally walked.  So, outside of a strikeout in the ninth inning with the bases loaded against Jose Valverde on April 21 (The Russ Ortiz Game), Loney has always delivered.  On my iPhone, when I try to text "Loney" it attempts to auto-correct to "Money."  Perhaps the folks at Apple knew what they were talking about.

The Dodgers have won 42 of their last 56 home games in the regular season.

Over their last 11 games, the Dodgers have hit only three home runs -- two by Matt Kemp and one by Jamie Hoffmann.  Yet, the club is still averaging 5.18 runs per game over that span.

Hoffmann, who made a wonderful catch and throw in Sunday night's game, has a .533 slugging percentage through his first 17 plate appearances.  Yet, he's still waiting for his first major league single.  He has two doubles and a home run in 15 at-bats.

Thanks to a tight right hamstring, Casey Blake will sit again tonight, per Dylan Hernandez.  Ken Gurnick brings us the news that Rafael Furcal will sit as well.

Diamondbacks      Dodgers
2B Lopez LF Pierre
LF Parra 3B Loretta
RF Upton 2B Hudson
SS Drew 1B Loney
3B Reynolds C Martin
C Montero RF Ethier
CF Young CF Kemp
1B Whitesell SS Castro
P Buckner P Kuroda

Here's a fun stat, thanks to the amazing Baseball-Reference.com:  the Dodgers lead the majors in times going from first to third on a single, scoring from first on a double, and scoring from second on a single.

Per the Dodger game notes, "The Dodgers haven’t posted a winning record in June since 2003, when they went 14-11.  From 2004-08, Los Angeles went a combined 59-75 (.440) in June."

We have a new June contest -- "She Is Gone" -- so be sure to get your guesses in here.

Also, don't forget to get your guesses in for the latest Russell Martin HR contest here.  Get those votes in before tonight's game!

Box Score | Baseball-Reference Preview | Gameday

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