Wildness on the mound by Charlie Haeger and wildness in the field by an increasingly shaky Dodger defense made for an ugly game as the Dodgers were dominated by Tim Lincecum and the Giants, 9-0 in the second game of the series in front of an announced crowd of 44,734 at Dodger Stadium.
Last Sunday showed us the beautiful side of the knuckleball, but today we saw the flip side of that, as Haeger simply had no command. He gave up seven hits, had five walks, and hit a batter in just three innings, a far cry from his 12-strikeout season debut six days ago. He was not helped by the defense at all, as three of four reserves in today's lineup either made an error (Jamey Carroll, A.J. Ellis), or a play that should have been scored an error (Ronnie Belliard). Haeger threw 97 pitches in his three innings of work, though he pitched to two batters in the fourth inning.
Joe Torre said Haeger gets "a hall pass" for today's performance, because he pitched in relief earlier in the week and warmed up on another occasion. Haeger, however, wasn't as lenient, calling his performance "pathetic," but said all he could do was forget about today's outing and work on getting prepared for his next start, presumably Friday in Washington DC.
Even with the smallest of breaks, Lincecum is tough to beat, but with today's cushion a win seemed impossible. Lincecum drove in the first Giants' run with a push bunt single in the second inning, but he wasn't done. On the day, Lincecum had three hits and three RBI, just the third pitcher ever to do so against the Los Angeles Dodgers:
|Pitchers With 3 Hits & 3 RBI vs LA Dodgers|
|Don Newcombe||Cin||6/21/59||4||4||Reds, 17-3|
|Dennis Bennett||Phi||9/28/63||3||3||Phillies, 12-3|
|Tim Lincecum||SF||today||3||3||Giants, 9-0|
|Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com|
Reason #6478 why I love writing this blog: I asked Torre if he remembered Dennis Bennett, the last pitcher to collect three hits and three runs batted in against the Dodgers. Torre not only remembered him, but said Bennett was his brother Frank's roommate (Frank Torre and Bennett were teammates with the 1962-1963 Phillies). Baseball is a small world, isn't it?
Lincecum allowed only one more hit than he had himself in his six innings of work, while striking out seven. His ERA through three starts is 0.90.
Down 9-0 in the ninth inning, A.J. Ellis hit a ground-rule double for the first extra-base hit of his career.
The Dodgers go for the series win tomorrow, with Clayton Kershaw facing Barry Zito. A decision will be made tomorrow regarding whether or not Manny Ramirez will play the series finale, depending on how his calf feels.
WP - Tim Lincecum (3-0): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Charlie Haeger (0-1): 3 IP, 7 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 5 walks, 3 strikeouts