Ethier's Last Chapter Closes The Book of Ely

John Ely pitched wonderfully tonight

On a night John Ely was the story in his second big league start, the man who barely knew him closed out the game with a familiar ending.  Andre Ethier's 11th career walk-off hit, a grand slam in the ninth, gave the Dodgers a dramatic 7-3 win in the final game of the series with the Brewers.  The night before Ely's first major league start, last week in New York, Ethier didn't know who Ely was.  Per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

"Who?" said right fielder Andre Ethier, when told by reporters. "I don’t even know who’s starting for us. I don’t even know who that is. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I don’t know him."

I think it's safe to say Ethier knows who Ely is after tonight.  Whether or not tonight was his last start before being sent down, Ely made it count.  His wonderful pitching earned the Dodgers a 3-1 lead, and a rare save opportunity for Jonathan Broxton, just his third on the season.  But the Brewers turned four hits off Broxton into the tying runs, killing Ely's chance at his first major league win.

Ely was magnificent tonight, walking nobody while striking out seven in his 6 2/3 innings.  He pounded the strike zone all night, throwing two-thirds of his 108 pitches for strikes.  Ely is just the seventh Los Angeles Dodger starter in his first or second MLB game to not walk a batter, and he is tied with a fellow named Pedro Martinez for the most strikeouts:

LA Dodger Starters w/ No Walks in 1st or 2nd Game
Pitcher Date Gm IP H R ER BB K
John Ely tonight 2 6.2 4 1 1 0 7
Pedro Martinez 9/30/92 2 6.0 4 2 2 0 7
Hiroki Kuroda 4/4/08 1 7.0 3 1 1 0 4
Edwin Jackson 9/9/03 1 6.0 4 1 1 0 4
Doug Rau 9/7/72 2 7.0 6 3 3 0 3
Doyle Alexander  
6/26/71 1 8.0 7 2 2 0 3
Tim Belcher 9/9/87 2 5.0 7 2 2 0 2

Ely was removed after giving up his only run on an single to Gregg Zaun in the seventh inning, after his 12-pitch at-bat.  More importantly, the tying run came to the plate in the form of Corey Hart, but Ronald Belisario struck him out to end the threat.

Jeff Weaver is due to be activated tomorrow, and a corresponding roster move will have to be made.  As unfair as it may seem to option Ely back to Albuquerque after his great start tonight, the move would not be unprecedented.  In 1989, the Dodgers played the famous 22-inning game in Houston (the Jeff Hamilton game), followed by a 13-inning game the very next day. Well, wouldn’t you know it, they had a doubleheader scheduled the next day in Atlanta, and were understandably short on pitchers (Orel Hersisher pitched seven innings in relief in the 22-inning game).

Ramon Martinez, who by that point had nine big league games and six starts to his credit (from 1988), was recalled to pitch game one against the Braves. All he did was pitch a shutout, and then got sent back down to Triple A in between games of the doubleheader!  (Note: for more details on this series of games, see chapter 89 in Jon Weisman's 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.)

Other Notes

  • James Loney's sacrifice fly in the first inning gave him an RBI in six straight games, the longest streak of his career.  The last Dodger to have a longer RBI streak was the other Ramon Martinez, in August 2007
  • After 20 RBI in the first 14 games of the season, Matt Kemp has not driven in a run in his last 14 games
  • Ely retired 16 batters in a row at one point tonight.  Per the Dodger game notes, "it was the most consecutive batters a Dodger pitcher had retired since Hiroki Kuroda set down 19 straight Giants on September 11, 2009 at San Francisco."
  • Jim Edmonds wore the Golden Sombrero tonight, striking out three times against Ely, and once against Broxton (the latter on a questionable call)
  • Broxton gave up his first two runs of the season, and is now one for three in save opportunities

WP - Jonathan Broxton (2-0):  1 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts

LP - LaTroy Hawkins (0-3):  1/3 IP, 3 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk

Box Score

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