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Ethier, Dodgers Invade Arizona

Andre Ethier will go back to using his normal potent bats tonight, one day after performing his infamous "Pink Bat Levitation" trick
Andre Ethier will go back to using his normal potent bats tonight, one day after performing his infamous "Pink Bat Levitation" trick

Andre Ethier returns home as the Dodgers begin a three-game series with the Diamondbacks tonight.  Ethier, who had his number retired by his high school during spring training a mere two and a half miles from Chase Field, is having quite a season.  Despite wearing the Silver Sombrero yesterday against Ubaldo Jimenez, Ethier still sits atop the National League in several categories:

  • OPS:  1.165 (2nd place is old friend Jayson Werth, at 1.125) 
  • OPS+:  211 (Werth, 186)
  • SLG:  .720 (Werth, .688)
  • AVG:  .383 (Ryan Braun, .365)
  • RBI:  32 (Jorge Cantu, 29)
  • HR:  10 (tied with Diamondback infielders Mark Reynoldsand Kelly Johnson)

In addition, Ethier's .445 on-base percentage is second only to Dodger killer Carlos Ruiz (.465).

Chad Billingsley and Rodrigo Lopez match up for the second time this season, each pitcher hoping for a vast improvement over their April 14 performance.  Billingsley gave up 11 baserunners and six runs in his 5 2/3 innings, and Lopez gave up 12 baserunners and five runs in his five innings.

Billingsley has pitched six innings in each of his past three starts, and has been removed for a pinch hitter in each game.  Since I don't feel like writing a game recap in Pig Latin again, I will not be making proclamations about Billingsley pitching into the elusive seventh inning tonight.

The Dodgers have won all three series against NL West foes this season, including beating Arizona at Dodger Stadium last month.  The Dodgers have won seven of their last nine series against the Diamondbacks, and have won 20 of their last 29 meetings.

Rotation Forecasting

With Thursday's off day, the Dodgers can use four starting pitchers on regular rest for the next eight days.  Assuming John Ely will start on regular rest Sunday, the Dodgers won't need a fifth starter until Tuesday, May 18. 

Today Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday May 17 May 18
Billingsley Ely Kuroda off Kershaw Billingsley Ely Kuroda open

That gives us a little more than a week to find a replacement for, or most likely, brace for the inevitable Ramon Ortiz start.

Other Notes

  • James Loney in his career is hitting .402/.442/.639, with six home runs in 25 games at Chase Field.  He has started 23 games in Arizona, and he has a hit in all but one of those games.
  • Loney is almost as good in Arizona as Manny Ramirez, who has 20 hits in 41 career at-bats in Arizona, with four doubles and four home runs, hitting .488/.632/.878
  • In the 12 games he has filled in for Rafael Furcal at shortstop, Jamey Carroll is hitting .316/.400/.368, and he has been on base in all but one game.
  • The Diamondbacks have allowed nine home runs in the ninth inning this season, the most in baseball.  Only two other teams (Milwaukee and Texas) have allowed more than four ninth inning bombs.
  • Arizona has issued eight bases loaded walks this season, more than any other team in baseball


Dodgers      Diamondbacks
C Martin 2B Johnson
CF Kemp RF Upton
RF Ethier 1B LaRoche
LF Manny 3B Reynolds
1B Loney SS Drew
3B Blake         
CF Young
2B DeWitt LF Gillespie   
SS Carroll C Snyder
P Billingsley   
P Lopez

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Game Time: 6:40pm

TV: Prime Ticket

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