Eric Milton returns from the disabled list tonight to start against the Mariners and "King Felix" Hernandez. Milton has not given up more than two earned runs in any start yet this season, albeit while averaging only 4.67 innings per outing. Milton will earn a $50,000 bonus for making his fifth start of the season.
Something tells me tonight's game fits nicely into Jon Weisman's "Underdog's Dividend" territory (or is it Dashiell's Dividend?). Just sit back and enjoy.
The Dodgers, 9-7 in interleague play this season, are assured of not having a losing record against the AL for the first time since 2004, when the club was 10-8.
Andre Ethier, with his three home runs last night, is hitting a whopping .296/.374/.667 this month. His eight homers in June makes this month the most homeriffic of Ethier's career, just beating his seven homers last August. Perhaps Ethier can credit his first three-homer game to Mariners' manager Don Wakamatsu. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times noted:
Wakamatsu, by the way, remembers Ethier attending his hitting school in Phoenix when he was a pre-teen. When I told Ethier that, he smiled.
"I'm surprised he remembers me, because I was probably 11 or 12 years old at that time,'' he said. "Maybe I should give a little credit to him for the coaching he gave me at those camps. Maybe he had some flashbacks sitting in the dugout.''
Casey Blake, who also homered Friday night to go along with a double off the top of the right field wall, has a six-game hitting streak, hitting .320/.393/.480 over that span. Since the Manny Ramirez suspension began on May 7, Blake has led the offense, hitting .347/.393/.580 with 33 RBI in 41 games (37 starts).
Felix Hernandez, the 23-year old ace of the Mariners, is enjoying a fine season so far (7-3, 3.17 FIP). Over his last six starts, Hernandez has an ERA of 1.00 with 42 strikeouts in 45 innings. Jim Caple of ESPN.com profiled "King Felix" yesterday:
"He's learned how to pitch more because there are days when he doesn't have his best fastball," teammate Miguel Batista says. "And that has been very good for him, because that's teaching him to throw something other than his fastball. And if you'll notice, he's not giving up that many long balls anymore (two in his past eight starts). That's something we've tried preaching to him a lot: Movement means more than speed. And he has both."
Manny Ramirez takes his traveling rehab road show to Lake Elsinore tonight at 7pm, in the first of what is expected to be four games with the Advanced Class A Inland Empire 66ers. You can listen online here.
Get your guesses in for "She Is Gone" here.