The Dodgers returned to their winning ways this week, sort of. The club posted a 4-3 record, and pitching was the key for both the Dodgers and the opposition. The Dodgers scored two or fewer runs in five of seven games, but they also gave up three runs or less in every game.
Over the last two weeks, the Dodgers have outscored their opponents 51-33, yet are only 7-6. Part of the reason for that is the club's 1-3 record during that time in one-run games.
The week featured some unique and unusual plays and moves, some records, and above all, some fantastic pitching.
Dodger Batter of the Week: Andre Ethier is making winning this award a common practice, as he paced the Dodgers with five extra-base hits and a team-leading 1.012 OPS. Honorable mention goes to Matt Kemp, who had a good week punctuated by his 449-foot home run over the Dodger bullpen back wall, and to Russell Martin, who had a grand slam and a pair of doubles as he remembered how to drive the ball again.
Dodger Pitcher of the Week:
Week 20 Record: 4-3
23 runs scored (3.29 per game)
15 runs allowed (2.14 per game)
.702 pythagorean winning percentage
Overall Seasonal Record: 74-51 (.593)
603 runs scored (4.82 per game)
478 runs allowed (3.82 per game)
.614 pythagorean winning percentage (77-48)
Providing Relief: The Dodger bullpen was outstanding this week, allowing only one earned run in 21 innings, good for a 0.43 ERA. Six of the seven relievers last week put up a 0.00 ERA, and the "underachiever" of the bullpen, James McDonald, put up a 2.08 ERA for worst on the staff. The relief corps has a current streak of 18 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
Complimentary Move: When the Dodgers acquired George Sherrill on July 30, they got a valuable lefty reliever with closing experience to give support to the back end of the bullpen. Still, Joe Torre has maintained that Jonathan Broxton is his ace reliever, but hinted he might alternate their use based on matchups. On Saturday, Torre brought in Broxton in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, with a runner on base, to face the heart of the Cubs' batting order. Broxton did the heavy lifting in the eighth, but Sherrill got the save in the ninth, retiring the less-imposing lower part of the batting order. This was not a switching of roles by Torre; he simply used his best reliever at the time late in the game when the club was most vulnerable. The move was about strategy; don't let anyone tell you anything else.
Start Me Up: The relievers aren't the only ones pitching well of late. Dodger starters have allowed three runs or fewer in each of their last nine games. The starters have also allowed four or fewer runs in 25 straight starts.
Hey 19: Charlie Haeger's seven scoreless innings on Saturday made him the 19th Dodger to get a win this season, breaking the club record of 18, set last season. The quick list: Billingsley 12, Kershaw 8, Wolf 8, Broxton 7, Weaver 5, Kuroda 5, Troncoso 4, Stults 4, Mota 3, McDonald 3, Elbert 2, Wade 2, Leach 2, Belisario 2, Schmidt 2, Milton 2, Ohman 1, Kuo 1, Haeger 1. Also, all ten pitchers that have started a game for the Dodgers this year have won at least one game.
A Rare Theft: Mark Loretta stole third base on Saturday against the Cubs, his first stolen base since April 26, 2007. It was only the fifth steal of third base in his career, and his first since August 18, 2004.
Delivering in a Pinch: Juan Pierre had three hits in his four pinch-hitting appearances last week, and is seven for his last ten in such situations. On the season, Pierre is batting .355/.394/.419 as a pinch-hitter.
In Grand Fashion: Russell Martin has had a power outage for almost a year and a half, but this week had three extra-base hits, including a grand slam against the Cubs on Thursday. It was Martin's first grand slam since he hit a walk-off shot off Shawn Chacon of the Pirates on April 21, 2007.
Transactions: A few pitching-related moves this week:
- Wednesday: Hiroki Kuroda, who was hit in the head last Saturday by a batted ball, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion. To temporarily take his place on the 25-man roster ..
- Wednesday: Tony Abreu was recalled from Triple A Albuqeurque for the second time, and will likely be on the roster at least until the arrival of...
- Thursday: Vicente Padilla, who was released by the Texas Rangers earlier in the week, was signed to a minor league deal. Although nothing has yet been officially announced, Padilla is expected to start Thursday in Colorado against the Rockies.
Upcoming Week: The Dodgers take Monday off, and will start their three-game series in Colorado with either a three- or four-game lead on the Rockies, who finish their series with the Giants tonight. After three in Denver, the Dodgers travel to Cincinnati, now without the services of starting pitcher Aaron Harang, out for the remainder of the season after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Saturday.
Week 20 Stats