Aaron Miles gets a lot of well deserved flack for even being on this team, forget the fact he's leading off instead of Jamey Carroll. On Easter Sunday Miles was the catalyst to the Dodgers 7 - 3 victory as they took the series against the Cubs two games to one, and came very close to a sweep. Miles got the Dodgers started with a triple down the right field line, as the Dodgers first five hitters all reached base. Before Carlos Zambrano could figure out which teammate to yell at, he was down 5 - 0.
Miles tripled, Casey Blake walked, then Andre Ethier extended his historic April streak to 21 games with a shot off the glove of Carlos Pena scoring Miles. Matt Kemp singled scoring Blake, Jerry Sands doubled down the right field line scoring Kemp, James Loney grounded out moving Kemp to 3rd, Rod Barajas added a sacrifice fly and before Hiroki Kuroda even threw a pitch he was up 5 - 0.
The Cubs scored two in the bottom of the first on a gift DP error by Jamey Carroll, so Kuroda decided to go on a strike out binge, fanning five of the first six outs. By the time Kuroda was pulled with two on and two out in the 7th he had pitched a quality game with no walks and seven Ks.
McDonald Mike MacDougal came in to retire Starlin Castro via a ground ball to Carroll to expire the inherited Kuroda baserunners and preserve the Dodger 7 - 3 lead. Blake Hawksworth pitched a scoreless eighth, and Jonathan Broxton finished things up in the 9th. Broxton had last pitched on Thursday afternoon, so even though it was not a save situation, he needed some work. Broxton walked the first hitter, then pop up to Loney, line drive to Loney, one hop shot to Miles for the final out. He was working around 91 MPH so those still concerned about the drop in velocity can continue to be worried.
Miles would eventually collect three hits, but get erased twice on Casey Blake double plays. Kemp had two more hits as he continues to dominate NL pitching.
Headed into the game today Kemp was all over the leaderboard:
Kemp, MLB Ranks
Batting Average .402 (1st)
Hits 33 (2nd)
On-Base Percentage .484 (4th)
Slugging Percentage .659 (8th)
Steals 8 (T-4th)
RBI 17 (T-5th)
Multi-Hit Games 10 (T-1st)
The other highlight of the game was the arm of Jerry Sands nailing another runner at 2nd base. Sands made three throws from LF to second base in this series and they were all bullets with Billy the Kid accuracy. Sands continues to have quality at bats, showing a good eye, seems a tad slow on good fastballs in the zone, but does not chase bad pitches. Best arm the Dodgers have had in LF since?
The MLB Dodgers are now 4 - 1 as they head to Florida for the last stop of the road trip. The Marlins helped the Dodgers pick up a game on the Rockies during the weekend, now we need to pick up another one.