Dodgers Win A Welcome Relief

The Dodgers pulled out the big guns today, putting 21 men on base, including a season high 10 walks, and getting three innings from their two best relievers, to deliver a 9-4 win over the Yankees to even their interleague series.

After the first three batters today, things didn't look so good for the Dodgers.  Hiroki Kuroda walked Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson to begin the game, the first time Kuroda has ever walked two batters in the first inning in his career.  Mark Teixeira, the only Yankee with experience against Kuroda, followed with a home run into the right field bleachers to make it 3-0 Yankees before everyone even had a chance to settle into their seats.

However, after that Kuroda settled down.  He pitched into the sixth inning, allowing just one more run, and struck out five in his 5 1/3 innings of work.  In Kuroda's last four starts, he has 28 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings, a big total for someone with a career strikeout rate of 6.34 per nine innings.

Kuroda was relieved by Hong-Chih Kuo with one out in the sixth inning, the earliest appearance by Kuo since last August 27, 36 games ago.  Kuo not only finished the sixth inning, but pitched the seventh as well, retiring all five batters he faced on 16 pitches.  It appears the kid gloves have come off with Kuo, as he has pitched in multiple innings in five of nine outings this month and in seven of his last 16 games overall.

With two outs and two runners on base in the eighth inning, leading by five runs, Joe Torre decided to go to Jonathan Broxton, the second time in three games he has been used in a non-save situation.  The win expectancy of today's game when Broxton entered the game was 98.8%, per Fangraphs.  I get that Derek Jeter was up, and Torre wanted this win against his former team.  I'm not here to argue that point again; but this points out quite obviously that the Dodger bullpen is only three deep right now (including Ronald Belisario), in the eyes of Torre.

For those of you focusing your eyes on the trade market, and what pitcher or pitchers the Dodgers may acquire, you might want to look in the reliever bin rather than the top-shelf starter merchandise, because that's where they will be shopping.  Just remember, when last year's deadline acquisition, George Sherrill, has the shortest of possible leashes less than one year later, it's probably not worth it to pay through the nose again for such a deal.

Notes

  • James Loney had four runs batted in today, including driving in a runner from third base with less than two outs in each of his first three plate appearances.  On the season, Loney has driven in 15 of 23 runners from third in those situations, a 65.2% success rate compared to the MLB rate of 51%.
  • Broxton walked Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, the first walk of the season Broxton has issued at home.  At Dodger Stadium this season, Broxton has one walk and 31 strikeouts in 20 innings
  • Rafael Furcal had three hits and scored three runs, and stole his team-leading 11th base of the season

Clayton Kershaw faces Andy Pettitte tomorrow night as the Dodgers try to win the series and break even for the week.

WP - Hiroki Kuroda (7-5):  5 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP - A.J. Burnett (6-7):  3 IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts

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