Dodgers Look To Avoid Sweep In Boston

The Dodgers, now losers of three straight games, are in salvage mode tonight, trying to win one of the three games in Boston (hey, it worked for the Lakers!).  The Dodgers are 2-2 in salvage games this season, the final game of a three-game series after losing the first two.

Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill for the Dodgers, having not given up a run in his last two starts.  Kuroda doesn't have many high-strikeout games in his career, but he was working on something special Tuesday in Cincinnati.  He struck out seven in the first four innings, a total bested by Kuroda only four times in his career. before the rains came.  The rain delay lasted two hours, 24 minutes, but amazingly Kuroda continued to pitch, finishing one more inning to qualify for the win.  The 12-inning scoreless streak is the second-longest streak of his career, behind a 16-inning streak in July 2008.

Clay Buchholz gets the call for the Red Sox, looking to continue his winning ways.  He is 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last seven starts, and has not given up more than three runs in a start since May 8.  Among starting pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the rate stats leaderboard, Kuroda ranks 12th in MLB with a 53.2% ground ball rate, while Buchholz is 21st with a 51.2% rate.  Only 3.9% of the fly balls allowed by Buchholz have turned into home runs, the seventh-lowest rate in baseball.

Designated "Hitters"

Last season, Manny Ramirez was serving his suspension during interleague play, and as a result he did not start as designated hitter in any of the Dodgers' nine games in American League ballparks.  This season, Manny is with the team, and as a result the Dodgers have an actual potent hitter in the DH spot for their six games, in Boston and Anaheim.  Yesterday, Manny hit a home run, only the fifth home run by a Dodger designated hitter in the nearly 14 years of interleague play, a span of 129 games:

Home Runs by Dodger Designated Hitters
Date Designated Hitter Opp Pitcher Inning Result
Saturday Manny Ramirez Bos Tim Wakefield 6th L, 5-4
6/22/07 Luis Gonzalez TB Andy Sonnanstine 2nd W, 6-3
6/12/04 Olmedo Saenz Bos Matt Malaska 6th W, 14-5
6/29/03 Mike Kinkade Ana Troy Percival 9th L, 3-1
6/16/01 Chad Krueter Ana Jarrod Washburn 6th L, 6-5

It should be noted that Russell Martin hit a home run in Detroit on June 15, 2008, in a game he started at DH, but when he hit the home run he had already moved to catcher in the game.

One-Run Losses in AL Parks

The Dodgers lost 5-4 yesterday, on the surface just a standard one-run game.  However, it was the ninth straight time a one-run game in an American League park has not gone the Dodgers' way.  The last time the Dodgers won a one-run game in an AL park was June 15, 2003, a 4-3 win in Cleveland, which came a day after the infamous Paul LoDuca / Milton Bradley tiff on Fox over Bradley showboating after a home run by unfastening his batting gloves (ah, the good old days).  Here is a look at all the one-run games in AL parks in the seven years since:

One-Run Losses in AL Parks
Date Result
Saturday Bos, 5-4
6/25/09 CWS, 6-5
6/19/09 Ana, 5-4
6/15/08 Det, 5-4
6/23/07 TB, 4-3
6/17/06 Oak, 5-4
6/19/05 CWS, 4-3
6/14/05 KC, 3-2
6/11/04 Bos, 2-1

It should be noted that the Dodgers' foibles in American League parks isn't confined to narrow defeats.  During that same period, the Dodgers have also lost 33 of 48 games decided by two or more runs.

Notes

  • Condolences on Father's Day go out to Rafael Furcal, whose father passed away this morning in the Dominican Republic three weeks after being kicked in the chest by a horse, reported Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com.
  • Left-handers have no hits in 22 at-bats against Hong-Chih Kuo with 11 strikeouts this season, but it's important to note that right-handers only have nine hits in 50 at-bats against him, hitting .180/.226/.320
  • Garret Anderson has five hits in nine at-bats against Buchholz, hitting two home runs in 2008.  Anderson is the only Dodger to have faced Buchholz
  • Tonight is the first time this season the Dodgers are on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, but they will be on three times in a four-week span, including home games next Sunday against the Yankees and July 11 against the Cubs.  The Dodgers were 2-1 on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball last season.
  • The Red Sox have won 23 of their last 31 games

Game Time: 5pm

TV:  ESPN

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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