On a day that featured Jack Wagner and David Hasselhoff signing at Dodger Stadium, any success on the baseball field was obviously secondary. But, the Dodgers found a way not to be upstaged by such prestigious talent, winning their season finale, 3-1 over the Diamondbacks.
Just as Joe Torre began his managerial career with a win on May 31, 1977 with the Mets, he ended with a win as well.
Ted Lilly pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run while striking out nine, to pick up his 10th win of the season. Since his acquisition on July 31, Lilly was 7-4 in 12 starts as a Dodger, with a 3.52 ERA, 14 unintentional walks, and 77 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings.
Matt Kemp homered in the first inning off Rodrigo Lopez, his fifth straight game with a home run. That streak is tied for the longest in Dodgers' franchise history, along with Roy Campanella (in 1950) and Shawn Green (in 2001).
Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save, giving him the lowest ERA in club history (minimum 40 innings). Kuo ended the season allowing eight runs in 60 innings, for a 1.200 ERA, a shade lower than Eric Gagne's 1.202 in 2003. Kuo struck out 12 of the last 21 batters he faced this season.
Brad Ausmus had two hits in his final game, including a single in his final at-bat. He received a loud standing ovation as he was removed for pinch runner Chin-lung Hu in the eighth inning.
Rafael Furcal started the game and struck out in his only at-bat, then was removed, as planned, to keep his average above .300. Furcal ended the season hitting .300/.366/.460, setting career highs in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. However, Furcal was removed between innings rather than during the frame, allowing an opportunity for the fans to give Furcal a nice ovation for a very good season.
The Dodgers learned from their mistake because in the bottom of the seventh inning, they sent John Lindsey up to be announced as a pinch hitter. Lindsey, remember, has a broken hand, so it was just a procedural move designed to get Lindsey an ovation, which he received once Trent Oeltjen pinch hit for the pinch hitter.
Andre Ethier reached base all four times he was up today, with two singles, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. He ended his season reaching base in his final eight plate appearances.
Kenley Jansen, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, ended his fine season by striking out nine of the final 18 batters he faced.
Next game is April 1 at Dodger Stadium, with Clayton Kershaw facing Tim Lincecum. No fooling.
WP - Ted Lilly (10-12): 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
LP - Rodrigo Lopez (7-16): 5 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Hong-Chih Kuo (12): 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout