Not that long ago the Dodgers had a centerfielder who seemingly struck out 3 times a game and yet they found ways to win. When Andruw Jones took off six weeks to have surgery for his knee the Dodgers had a winning record and little credit for the winning could be place upon his wide shoulders.
On July 4th, the Dodgers proved once again that they can have a hole in the middle of the lineup but as long as they have a hot hitter they could still garner a hard-earned victory. With Andre Ethier playing the role of Rafael Furcal as the hot hitter, the Dodgers were able to overcome a lousy Lowe performance, another typical Dodger Andruw Jones performance, and a substandard performance by Big John which is not as atypical as you might think.
As I watched this game I felt that Torre had waited to long to put in Kuo but all the pieces fell into place when Lowe was able to come back and pitch a decent 5th inning. Then all we needed was Bochy to hand the game over to his middle relief and it was off to the races. With Fred Lewis looking like the recently departed Bozo the Clown in left field the pieces were in place for a rally. Rallies are not something the Dodgers have been very familiar with this year but we put together one of our best in the 6th.
Lewis dropped a simple fly ball from Nomar that would have embarrassed a little leaguer. This was followed by a terrible at bat by Loney who weakly fouled out to the 3rd baseman on a 3-1 pitch. LaRoche however showed the one thing we know he can do in the major leagues and that is work a walk. With two on and one out Pee Wee delivered the kind of hit that Mark Sweeney had not been able to do during his Dodger tenure. Kemp followed with one of his worse at bats of the year. The Dodgers had the tying and winning runs at 2nd and 3rd with one out and he watched two hittable pitches go by for strikes and then flailed at a high fastball to end his miserable at bat. So with two out and the winning run still sitting on 3rd base our hottest hitter came up and delivered the first of three straight doubles (Martin & Kent) and our 2 run deficit had been turned into a 3 run lead. It made no difference when Andruw Jones ended the inning with another strikeout.
Torre finally brought in Kuo and Kuo has been the best thing to come out of Dodger bullpen all season. Bing Bang, Boom and the poor Giants didn’t know what hit them. They throw out some kid to protect a lead while the Dodgers have the best middle relief pitcher in baseball.
Andre Ethier has now hit home runs in three straight games and two of them have been absolute bombs. The one in Houston was upper deck material but todays shot was even more impressive. He took this one to left center field and you don’t see to many left handed hitters putting one out in left center field in that park. As Vinny said, that was Barry Bonds territory.
Fred Lewis must have got the shakes when Nomar came up. He dropped his easy fly ball for the big error in the 6th, then chased a double down the line in the 7th, and then watched a simple fly ball go over his head and bounce on the track for a double. Most left fielders catch that fly ball but lucky for Nomar the Giants don’t have a normal left fielder. I had no idea that Fred Lewis learned how to play left by watching video of Greg Luzinski.
Nomar looked okay as SS and left the game intact after his 2nd gift double. He got on base three times in one game which had been a weeks worth of work for the Hu/Berroa/Maza trio of terror. I have to admit I had forgotten how strong an arm Nomar has. I never feel comfortable with where the ball is going when he slingshots it over to first but it does have some oomph.
As I’m writing this Andy LaRoche goes deep and I imagine Andrew is shooting off fireworks. What a shot. Andy ends up the day with a home run, 2 walks, and hopefully earned some more playing time.
This is a strange lineup but with Furcal out, this is probably the best lineup we can have as far as the positions go. I wouldn’t’ have Loney and LaRoche hitting 7 and 8 but I’ll take what I can get.
Hope your all reading this late tonight or tomorrow and that you enjoyed your fourth of July celebration. I’m a big fan of the boom boom.