The Dodgers take on the Padres tonight after falling to the break even point last night in the first game of the season. The Dodgers have the same number of wins and losses (69), to go along with the same number of runs scored and runs allowed (589). The Dodgers do have a higher batting average (.258 vs. .244), on-base percentage (.328 vs. .317), and slugging percentage (.385 vs. .377) than their opponents, so there is some credence to the thought that they are an above-.500 team. Perhaps the biggest reason for hope is tonight's starter.
Clayton Kershaw is sitting on 176 1/3 innings with four, maybe five starts left this season. There have only been five LA Dodgers 22 or younger to throw 200 innings in a season. Three of them have done it twice, and the last 200-inning season by a 22-year old was by Ismael Valdes, who threw 225 innings in 1996.
|LA Dodgers 22 & Younger With 200 IP|
Kershaw also has 191 strikeouts, which is currently second in the National League to Roy Halladay's 196. The last Dodger to lead the league in strikeouts was Hideo Nomo, with 236 punchouts in 1995. Kershaw has pitched six innings or longer in each of his last nine starts, and in 19 of his last 22 starts.
He made two starts against the Padres this season, back in May, and in each game he allowed one run while walking two and striking out seven. On May 15 he threw seven innings in San Diego, and five days later he pitched 7 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium, getting the win each time.
Mat Latos leads the majors in ERA (2.25), WHIP (0.976), and fewest T's (tied with Scot Shields). He hasn't allowed more than two runs in a start since June 4, a span of 14 starts, and in that game he allowed three runs. Latos has allowed 24 total runs (23 earned runs) in his last 20 starts. His toughest opponent of the last four months has come from inside his own body, a stomach virus which made Latos a late scratch from his scheduled start last night. From Don Norcross of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
"I have no idea what it was," Latos said. "It felt like a knife was just stabbing my stomach. It was pretty bad."
While Latos said he felt he could have started Monday, Black said it wasn’t a difficult decision to push him back one day.
Said Black: "It just didn’t make sense to me to pitch a guy who didn’t sleep, who was throwing up all night, who when he came in looked as white as a sheet."
Here's a look at the Dodger catchers since August 3, when Russell Martin was injured.
The offense, thanks to Rod Barajas, has held it's own, but baserunners are taking advantage while Martin is away. In the first 107 games of the season, with Martin, opposing runners tried to steal 87 bases, and were successful 55 times, a 63.2% success rate. But, in the 31 games without Martin, baserunners are a perfect 27-for-27 against Dodger backstops.
Loney Nominated For Prestigious Honor
James Loney was named the Dodgers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, "which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field." In addition to hosting kids from the local RBI program for several games this season as part of "Loney's Lounge," Loney hosted a bowling tournament which raised more than $110,000 for the Dodgers Dream Foundation, met with 50 youngsters at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, and has been active on the Dodgers Community Caravan and with Make-A-Wish commitments and hospital visits.
Loney was also nominated for the award in 2008. The only Dodger to win the Roberto Clemente Award, which has been awarded since 1971 (it was named in Clemente's honor starting in 1973), was Steve Garvey in 1981.
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Game Time: 7:05 p.m.