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Half Beard Power Propels Dodgers to 9th win a row

Final - 5.18.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 0
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 X 7 9 0
WP: Hiroki Kuroda (5 - 1)
LP: Bud Norris (2 - 5)

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First thing I noticed today was that Casey Blake had a beard again, granted it was not his pre duck hunting beard but it was a start. The second thing I noticed was James Loney  growing a half ass beard. Combined they had a full beard and it was all they would need tonight.

The Dodgers scored seven runs with the bearded ones driving in four of them. Jame Loney got things going with a two run two out single in the first inning, and Casey Blake put the finishing touches on the game with his 8th inning solo home run. Casey had not hit a home run since he hit two on April 24th, many a moon ago. Beardless Blake had started May with a .793 OPS but had watched it dwindle to .721. Bearded Blake had three hits today as he helps shoulder the weight of Andre missing the next two weeks.

Kuroda had trouble in the 3rd but managed to get Pedro Feliz to make the 3rd out with the bases loaded, and two runs already in. From then on he was vintage Kuroda shutting down the Astro's from the 4th to the 6th.  Belisario, Kuo, and Troncoso then did what the bullpen has been doing since this winning streak began, and that is shutting the door.

So the Dodgers have now won nine games in a row moving from last place to second place third place (1/2 game out of second) with the first place Padres coming into town. How strange is it that Ramon Ortiz will again be pitching the first game of the Padre series? At least the Padres will be worn out as they are in the 11th inning as I finish this.

So what does this nine game winning mean:

  • Longest streak since July 28 - Aug 8th 2006 when they won 11 games in a row
  • Swept their 3rd consecutive series for the time since the above mentioned streak
  • The Dodger pitchers have held the opposition to three runs or less in EACH GAME during this streak
  • The Dodger bullpen has pitched 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings over the last six games, while limiting the opponents to a .100 average (5-50).
  • Fourth straight Quality Start - Of course Ramon Ortiz was the last pitcher to not have a quality start and of course he will be pitching tomorrow.

Individual Stuff:

  • Casey Blake hit his 150th career home run. Not bad for a guy who didn't hit his 4th home run until he was 29.
  • Matt Kemp had his second consecutive multi hit game giving him fourteen on the season only one behind Loney and Andre. He's struggled lately so we tend to forget just how hot Matt was at the beginning of the year.
  • James Loney stole his sixth base of the year, just one shy of his career high of seven. His 20 career steals puts him 7th all time among LA Dodger 1st baseman. Shockingly to me, Eddie Murray had 25.
  • Kuroda is now 5 - 1 and is on a pace to pitch in an all - star game.
  • Russell Martin collected a hit to extend his hitting streak to thirteen games, the longest of his career.
  • Manny Ramirez made a sensational catch in LF and was then lifted for defensive purposes the following inning.
  • The Dodgers have no won four games in a row without Andre Ethier. 

In case you missed the pre game column:

Padilla is feeling no pain and should start a series of four rehab games soon giving him a return date sometime in June.

Andre will be evaluated in 10 days with x rays to see how the fracture has healed. He was with the team and in full uniform and for a guy with a rep for being grouchy he was very gracious with his time with the media.

Alfredo Amezaga is working out with the AA team and Joe hopes he will be able to help the team down the road.

Ramon Ortiz will likely pitch next Tuesday but is possible he could be skipped if Joe does not feel the regular rotation guys need an extra day. In all likelihood I think it depends on how Ramon fares tomorrow but Joe would not say that.

It is hard to believe this team is already five game over .500 after the start to the season they had.