Jason Schmidt turned back the hands of time tonight, with a shocking performance I never would have expected. Schmidt allowed a single hit in six shutout innings against a Braves team that had averaged 5.3 runs per game in July coming into tonight, keying a 5-0 Dodger win in the opening game of a three-game series at Turner FIeld.
Schmidt induced 13 flyball outs, but even the hard hit balls were hit right at people. Schmidt, who staved of his naysayers for at least one night, struck out three hitters while walking five in picking up his second win of the season. He lowered his ERA on the season to 4.50 (his FIP is 5.55), and pitched six innings for the first time since June 5, 2007 (also a no-run, one-hit performance) against the Padres. Schmidt has started 15 different innings this season, and he has completed 11 of them without giving up a run.
The game was scoreless entering the fifth, when Andre Ethier followed a pair of singles with a line-drive home run to right field, his career-high 21st on the season. Ethier added an RBI double in the top of the ninth inning, adding to the Dodger lead.
The newest Dodger, George Sherrill, made his debut with the club tonight, entering the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with runners on first and second and nobody out. The scouting report on Sherrill said he was death to lefties, and he did nothing to hurt that reputation, striking out Nate McLouth, Kelly Johnson, and Brian McCann (mixing in a walk to righty Chipper Jones in between). Not a bad way to begin his Dodger career!
In fact, Sherrill became just the third Los Angeles Dodger reliever to have three strikeouts in his first inning with the team. Pete Richert actually struck out the first six hitters of his big league career (one reached base on a passed ball) on April 12, 1962 against the Reds in just the third game at Dodger Stadium. The last Dodger to accomplish this feat was Bob O'Brien, who struck out three Padres in his first inning on April 11, 1971.
James McDonald, now wearing number 31, after giving up 52 to new acquisition Sherrill, pitched two perfect innings to end the game.
2007 Dodger teammates Randy Wolf and Derek Lowe face off tomorrow on Fox.
WP - Jason Schmidt (2-1); 6 IP, 1 hit, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Tommy Hanson (5-2): 6 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts