Dodgers Snap Skid, Take Finale Over Angels

The Dodger bats came alive tonight, pounding out 15 hits, snapping their six-game losing streak with a 10-6 win over the Angels.  The baserunning wasn't perfect tonight -- both Jamey Carroll and Casey Blake made blunders resulting in outs at second base, for instance -- but the Dodger offense allowed to sweep those petty problems under the rug.  The Dodgers weren't the only team to make bonehead moves on the bases tonight.

In the first inning, Torii Hunter tried to steal third base with two outs, and a 2-0 count with the left-handed hitter Hideki Matsui at the plate.  With a fastball from Charlie Haeger and a clear path to throw to third, Hunter was gunned down easily for the final out of the inning.

Then, in the sixth inning, Brandon Wood fell for the "fake to third, throw to first" play, which resulted in Reggie Willits getting tagged out in a standard 1-4-3-2-5 putout.  For good measure, Bobby Abreu was thrown out at third base down 10-6 in the ninth inning.  It was bad timing for the Angels, particularly on the day of Tim Brown's glowing hagiography of Angels' manager Mike Scioscia today on Yahoo! Sports:

That Matt Kemp (the potential tying run) was picked off second, Reed Johnson (another potential tying run) eased up on his way home and Russell Martin (the potential go-ahead run) made the final out leaking toward third illuminated again that the Angels do the little things right and the Dodgers do the big things wrong

Charlie Haeger wasn't particularly effective, allowing nine baserunners in his 4 2/3 innings, including a home run to Mike Napoli on a batting practice fastball.  Haeger left having allowed only two runs -- Ramon Troncoso in relief added two more runs to Haeger's ledger -- but he remains a prime candidate to lose his roster spot once Chad Billingsley is activated from the disabled list, or perhaps sooner. 

Billingsley is in line to be activated Monday, having thrown 25 pitches from the mound today, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.  If the Dodgers choose to bring up a reliever to cover the series with the Yankees, they could make a move with Haeger as soon as tomorrow.  Haeger is out of options and would have to be designated for assignment to be removed from the active roster.  It's very likely Haeger would clear waivers, but even if he didn't, he hasn't pitched well enough for that to be a concern.

Jon Link, who pitched 1 1/3 innings tonight for Albuquerque, could be an option for a weekend bullpen arm.  Travis Schlichting was just optioned today, so the only way he can return for the weekend is if another pitcher were to be placed on the disabled list, which as we've seen this season is a viable option.

The Dodgers entered the ninth inning with a 10-4 lead, but Justin Miller and George Sherrill combined to allow a pair of runs.  With one man on and a 10-6 lead, a point at which the Dodgers had a 95.1% win expectancy, Jonathan Broxton was inexplicably brought in.  Luckily, pitching on the second straight night, Broxton only threw 10 8 pitches, thanks in part to Abreu's baserunning.  I realize the Dodgers had lost six straight, and badly needed a win.  I just don't know if the risk of having Broxton unavailable or less effective tomorrow against the Yankees was worth the reward.

Notes

  • Troncoso allowed both of his inherited runners to score tonight, and for the season he has allowed 15 of 24 inherited runners to score.
  • Although he didn't get the win, Haeger finally pitched in a game won by the Dodgers, after appearing in 11 straight losses
  • Jeff Weaver got the win by pitching a scoreless inning of relief in the sixth
  • Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll each had three hits; Blake was the only Dodger not to score a run
  • Carroll scored from first base on a single by Manny Ramirez in the eighth inning.  Yes, you read that right.
  • Matt Kemp was the only Dodger without an RBI, but he did have two hits, and narrowly missed a home run with a long fly ball just outside the left field foul pole
  • Although he was the only Dodger without a base hit tonight, Russell Martin did walk twice, and threw out three runners on the bases for the first time in his career
  • The game was delayed for about 20 minutes in the top of the seventh inning when a group of stadium lights went out, the second time this season that has happened to the Dodgers.  On May 26, a similar delay happened at Wrigley Field
  • Tonight was the first game the Dodgers knocked out an opposing starting pitcher inside of four innings since April 27, when the Dodgers chased Oliver Perez of the Mets in the fourth inning, the same inning that felled Scott Kazmir tonight

Vicente Padilla faces CC Sabathia in tomorrow's opener with the Yankees at Dodger Stadium.

WP - Jeff Weaver (4-1):  1 IP, 1 hit

LP - Scott Kazmir (7-6):  3 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

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