Dodgers Hope Dismal April Ends on High Note

Tonight is the last game of April, a month during which the Dodgers have been shutout four times.  Per the Dodger game notes, the last month the club was blanked so often was June 2008, when the team was shutout five times.  That was a dark period for the Dodgers, after Rafael Furcal hurt his back and before we could even imagine such a thing as Manny Ramirez in Dodger blue.  That month, the Dodgers scored 84 runs in 27 games, just over three runs per contest.  Angel Berroa started 19 games that month and hit .183/.246/.217, yet still managed to blow Chin-Lung Hu (.105/.150/.211 in 21 PA) out of the water.

The Dodgers aren't that bad, even though it sure feels like it right now.  Chad Billingsley takes the hill against Charlie Morton and the Pirates.  Here are the lineups, which features Xavier Paul's first career start batting leadoff:

Pirates      Dodgers
2B Iwamura LF
Paul
3B LaRoche C Martin
CF McCutchen 
RF Ethier
RF Jones CF Kemp
LF Church 1B Loney
C Doumit
3B Blake 
1B Clement 2B DeWitt
P Morton SS Carroll
SS Crosby P Billingsley 

In each of Paul's previous four major league starts, he has batted seventh.

Other Notes

  • Matt Kemp has a hit in all seven home games this season.  He is the only Dodger to start all 22 games this season (James Loney has played in 22 games, but started 21), and has started 46 straight games dating back to last season
  • Since his pinch-hit home run last Thursday in Cincinnati, Garret Anderson is hitless in his last 15 at-bats, with six strikeouts
  • Anderson isn't the only Garret struggling; Garrett Jones of the Pirates hit his third home run of the season in his first at-bat of the second game of the year, against the Dodgers.  Since that third home run, Jones has 14 hits in 75 at-bats, and is hitting .187/.326/.253 during that span.
  • Tonight is UCLA Night at Dodger Stadium, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will throw out the ceremonial first pitch
  • Loney is hosting the State Farm Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza at Lucky Strike Lanes L.A. Live next Monday, featuring several Dodgers.  More information can be found at Dodgers.com/bowling
  • I enjoyed Orel's take on the Matt Kemp / Ned Colletti controversy, over at Sons of Steve Garvey
  • Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone has laid out his plan to improve the Dodgers in the short term, for both the offense and pitching

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Game Time: 7:10pm

TV: Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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