There usually aren't many positives to come out of a blowout loss by 10 runs, but the Dodgers found one on Monday night, and it wasn't just Matt Kemp being okay after getting hit in the face by a pitch (he was grazed on the nose). On a night the Dodgers pitching staff was ravaged, utility man Skip Schumaker stepped in to pitch the ninth inning.
Schumaker allowed two singles and a walk, but also recorded three outs without a run scoring. The couple hundred fans still at Dodger Stadium at the end of the ugly game were chanting "Let's go, Skip!" The chant was heard loud and clear.
"I did (hear the chant). It's a tough situation because you're getting your butt kicked and you try not to have too good of a time out there because you're down by 12," Schumaker said. "But you don't get too many chances of that, and I remember growing up watching Orel (Hershiser) pitch, and I was on the same mound as Orel and that was pretty cool. You just try to not get anybody hurt, and try to get through it as quickly as you can."
Schumaker threw 25 pitches, including 13 for strikes. Ten of his pitches registered at 88 mph or higher, topping out at 90 mph. Not bad for someone who, because he might have batted in the eighth inning, couldn't go down to the bullpen to properly warm up.
"I just went down to the tunnel with my little buddy here," Schumaker joked of Nick Punto, whose locker is next to his.
"Little buddy?" Punto interjected, feigning insult.
"You know, the smallest guy on the team," Schumaker continued, laughing, "I threw four or five times. I was close to being on deck so I couldn't go down to the bullpen or anything."
Schumaker lives in Ladera Ranch, and specifically didn't want to allow anything to Rockies' third baseman Nolan Arenado, the El Toro High School grad playing Monday night in his second MLB game.
"I worked out with Nolan, the kid at third, the last three or four years," Schumaker said. "I didn't want him to get a hit off me of course."
Arenado did single, but was stranded.
It wasn't the first time on the mound for Schumaker, who pitched at UC Santa Barbara. He also pitched an inning for the Cardinals in 2011, against the Dodgers.
"I do have one inning, Aaron Miles took me way deep in St. Louis. Like over 500 feet," Schumaker said. "So I do have an inning, though it wasn't a great inning. I pitched in college, so I have an idea of how to throw a strike, but that's about it."
Schumaker isn't alone in remembering the Miles home run.
"Miles took him way back," said manager Don Mattingly. "I love reminding him of that."