For the third straight game, the Dodgers and Rockies took part in a wacky game at Coors Field. The Rockies had their big inning, scoring five runs in the eighth inning, but luckily the Dodgers led by six heading into that inning. The Dodgers tacked on four more runs in the ninth for an 11-7 win, snapping their three-game losing streak.
There were so many bizarre occurrences in tonight's contest, including but not limited to Ted Lilly stealing a base, Charlie Blackmon getting picked off by Lilly but stealing second base safely anyway, Rod Barajas successfully tagging from second to third base on a fly ball, an Aaron Miles walk, and two different Dodgers collecting RBI doubles and getting thrown out on the bases (Matt Kemp for overrunning second base / tripping over Troy Tulowitzki, and Casey Blake trying to advance to third).
The heroes were plentiful, as both Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles had four hits, and Blake delivered a pinch-hit three-run double. For once, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier (2-for-10 combined with a walk) let others do the heavy lifting, and the result was an 11-run, 18-hit performance. Even Dee Gordon, who was 0-for-6, contributed on defense, showing off his range on a few different plays, none more important than a diving stop on a would-be single by Chris Iannetta in the eighth inning, turned into a force out in what was a 7-6 game at the time.
Tony Gwynn Jr., not to be forgotten, made his second game-ending diving catch of the season, this one robbing Charlie Blackmon of extra bases with the bases loaded to preserve the 11-7 win.
The Emptiest .300 Batting Average In Dodgers History
Aaron Miles had a fantastic game tonight, which makes this a very odd time to point this out, but he is the worst .300 hitter in Dodgers history. Sure, there were probably numerous better options to have on the roster than Miles, but I don't have much of a problem with him as the sixth infielder on the depth chart. The problem with this year's Dodger squad though is that seemingly nobody has been healthy, and as a result Miles has started 40 of the 66 games this season.
Miles rarely hits for power and almost never walks, which make his double and walk tonight even more astounding. The walk by Miles, off Jason Hammel in the sixth inning, was the first for Miles since April 27, after a span of 119 plate appearances without a walk. After collecting four hits and a walk tonight, Miles on the season is now hitting .305/.319/.350. You will notice his on-base percentage and slugging percentage aren't much different than his batting average. His OPS relative to his batting average is the worst in Dodgers history among .300 hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.
|Emptiest .300 Batting Averages In Dodgers History|
|Minimum 100 PA, Source: Baseball-Reference.com|
The Loney Problem
For most of the first half of this season, Don Mattingly has acknowledged the struggles of his first baseman, James Loney, but at the same time has given him rope based on past "success" (in other words, 90 RBI in both 2008 and 2009). The general tone I got from Mattingly was that if Loney continued to struggle for an entire first half like he did after the All-Star break last year, that's when any type of move would be made. Well, we are getting closer and closer to that point.
In the top of the third inning, Kemp was walked to load the bases with two outs, and Loney popped out weakly to shortstop on the first pitch to end the inning. He had a similar bad play earlier in the week in Philadelphia when he popped out against Cole Hamels on a 3-0 count with the Dodgers in desperate need of baserunners. Over his last 162 games, Loney is hitting just .241/.307/.332, with eight home runs and 64 RBI in 623 PA, and that's including his two hits tonight.
These numbers come from a man who has started 145 of those 162 games at first base, and has batted with a total of 435 runners on base during that time (a figure which would have ranked 15th in the National League last season). Loney has been in run producing spots in the order, between third and sixth in the batting order, in all but four of those games, and he simply isn't producing runs.
We probably won't see a move for at least a few weeks, perhaps even the All-Star break (or however long it takes Jerry Sands to find his stroke again). Whether it's moving Blake to first base to get Jamey Carroll's bat into the lineup more often, or calling Sands back up, James Loney's days as a full-time player are numbered.
See You Monday, Kenley
Kenley Jansen pitched two scoreless innings for the Double A Chattanooga Lookouts tonight against the Mississippi Braves, retiring all six batters he faced while striking out two. It was the second rehab game for Jansen, who struck out all three batters he faced on Thursday night, was placed on the disabled list on May 29 with right shoulder inflammation. He is eligible to be activated on Monday, when the Dodgers open a 12-game homestand against the Reds.
- Speaking of roster moves, Hector Gimenez was activated from the 60-day disabled list after tonight's game and outrighted him to Double A Chattanooga, which means he cleared waivers, which is no surprise.
- Marcus Thames got an RBI single as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, his first hit since being activated from the DL. The hit also snapped an 0-for-19 skid, dating back to April
- Lilly got his stolen base in the third inning, which was rare not just because he's a pitcher (it was the third stolen base of his career), but because Lilly was 0-for-41 dating back to last season before his single tonight.
- Jason Hammel's ERA against the Dodgers in three starts this season is 7.98. Against everyone else, in 10 starts, it's 2.70.
- Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a scoreless eighth inning tonight, striking out all three batters, in the second game of his current rehab assignment with Rancho Cucamonga.
- The Dodgers signed more draft picks tonight, including fifth rounder Scott McGough, a pitcher (for roughly $150,000, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times) and seventh rounder Scott Woodward, a third baseman
- Rubby De La Rosa goes for the split on Sunday afternoon, against Ubaldo Jimenez.
WP - Ted Lilly (5-5): 5 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Jason Hammel (3-6): 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 4 walks, 1 strikeout