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Ely, Dodgers Primed to Face Punchless Astros

The Dodgers go for their eighth straight win tonight, and just might have the perfect pitcher to face the struggling Astros.  However, without Andre Ethier and Rafael Furcal, the question just might be whether or not the Dodgers can score enough runs to beat the worst offensive team in baseball.

In his major league debut in New York, John Ely gave up four runs in the second inning, and one more in the third inning.  In the third inning, Ely intentionally walked the number eight hitter, Rod Barajas, to get to pitcher John Maine.  Ely struck out Maine, and retired 10 of his last 11 batters faced, and he hasn't looked back since.  Since walking Barrajas, Ely hasn't issued another free pass.  In fact, over those last 59 batters faced, he hasn't even allowed an extra-base hit, and opposing hitters are only hitting .186/.186/.186.

John Ely Since Last Walk
Batters Faced     
Strikeouts 16     27.1%
Line Drives 8 (5 hits)
Grounders 20 (6 hits)
OF Flyballs 9 15.3%
IF Popups 6 10.2%

Ely has made three major league starts, has two of the five no-walk starts by the Dodgers this season, and faces a team in Houston that just doesn't walk.  The entire National League walks in 9.2% of its plate appearances.  The team in 15th place is the Giants, a long-standing punchline for offensive impatience, and even they walk in 8.1% of their plate appearances. 

The Astros?  They have walked in an anemic 5.6% of their plate appearances, far and away the worst in the league.  The Astros have walked just 74 times all season, slightly over half as many walks as the Dodgers (141).

Other Notes

  • Wandy Rodriguez, starting tonight for Houston, allowed one run over 12 innings in two starts last year facing the Dodgers, and has allowed more than two earned runs only once in six career starts against Los Angeles.
  • Garret Anderson is hitless in 17 at-bats against left-handers this season.  He has two walks and a sacrifice fly in his 20 plate appearances, and is hitting .000/.100/.000 against southpaws
  • Jamey Carroll has now passed Rafael Furcal in defensive innings at shortstop on the season
  • Kazuo Matsui, he of the epic 15-pitch at-bat to end Saturday's game with the Giants, has followed up his five-for-34, .147/.216/.147 April with a five-for-33, .152/.200/.182 May
  • Blake DeWitt, at .314, has the worst wOBA among regulars on the Dodgers; the Astros only have three non-pitchers with a wOBA that goodLance Berkman (.357), Michael Bourn (.343), and Geoff Blum (.326).  Houston's team wOBA is an MLB-worst .268
  • The Astros have scored two runs or less 19 times in 27 games, and are 0-19 in those games

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

Game Time: 7:10pm

TV:  Prime Ticket

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