Andre Ethier extends his hitting streak to 21 games with a first inning single (Photo from Yahoo Sports)

Dodgers Complete Series Win vs. Cubs, Set Sights on Marlins

The Dodgers offense has got to wish that the Cubs series lasted a couple more days.  The Dodgers scored 27 runs in the three games, the same number of runs they scored in their previous 7 games combined. Yesterday it was the first 5 batters reaching base which led to a 5 run first inning that propelled the Dodgers to their second consecutive series win. The Dodgers have also won 6 of their last 8 games on the heels of their 5 game losing streak, with yesterday’s 7-3 victory.

Hiroki Kuroda was the beneficiary, but nearly let the Cubs right back into the game with a rough first inning of his own. The Dodgers began the day with a lead-off triple by Aaron Miles, the same guy I spent my last column railing against as basically the worst choice in all of baseball to serve as the Dodgers lead-off hitter. After Casey Blake was hit by a pitch, Andre Ethier wasted little time in extending his hitting streak to 21 games, by rocketing a single off of the glove of Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena.

Matt Kemp then did what he has been doing best all season singling to left to score Blake. Jerry Sands then doubled down the right field line scoring Ethier. James Loney ended the on base streak at 5 straight, but his ground ball to first scored Kemp and moved Sands to third. Rod Barajas then hit a short fly ball to left, but Sands was able to score by getting a great jump off of third base and Alfonso Soriano‘s throw was well up the third base line. Jamey Carroll flied out to the end the inning that saw the Dodgers put up a 5 spot.

The Cubs actually protested that Sands left third base early and manager Mike Quade was quite upset, but slow motion replays showed Sands indeed did not leave early. The Cubs added 2 runs in the bottom of the second behind a Kosuke Fukudome double and a Darwin Barney single that sent Fukudome to third.

The Dodgers appeared to have a tailor made double play ball off the bat of Starlin Castro, but Jamey Carroll was unable to field it and Fukudome scored. After an Aramis Ramirez strike out, Carlos Pena singled to center scoring Barney to make it 5-2. Kuroda however struck out the final two batters of the inning to minimize the damage.

The Dodgers added a run in third on a broken bat single to left by Loney, that scored Kemp who had doubled. Aaron Miles third hit of the day scored Rod Barajas in the 7th inning. Kuroda ran into some trouble in the 7th and gave up a run on a single by Barney, but Mike MacDougal came in to get the red hot Starlin Castro to ground out to end the threat.

Blake Hawksworth and Jonathan Broxton pitched the final 2 innings allowing just an infield single off of Hawksworth and a walk by Broxton.

Game Notes: Jerry Sands threw out another runner at second base for the second straight game. Aramis Ramirez rounded second aggressively as Sands had to make a long run to get to a Marlon Byrd single hit down the left field line. Sands hustled to the ball and game up throwing and nailed Ramirez at second with a perfect throw. The Dodgers are 5-2 since they inserted Sands into the everyday lineup. And while his batting average is well below where it should be, an impressive stat about Sands is the number of pitches he is seeing per at bat. Yesterday, he reached base twice with a double and a walk and saw a total of 25 pitches in his 5 plate appearances. From Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness:

Sands has done a great job of showing patience at the plate, and forcing more pitches out of each at-bat. I looked it up, and it’s true. Entering the day, the MLB leader in pitches per plate appearance, among those with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, is Daric Barton of Oakland, who sees 4.83 pitches per appearance. Sands, after today’s game and if he had enough PA to qualify, would be at 4.44 – second in all of baseball. While the results haven’t been there yet, the approach absolutely is, and it’s why he deserves more than 34 PA to prove himself in the bigs. We’d heard plenty about Sands’ advanced approach when he was first called up, and so far, that looks to be accurate. Very impressive from a young player.

Perhaps the most bizarre moment from the game came from Dodgers announcer Steve Lyons who praised James Loney after his broken bat single managed to find a hole and score Matt Kemp. Lyons exact words were:

Loney has been a great examples for young Dodger fans to see how to hit

Huh? Is this the same James Loney that is hitting .167 on the year with 2 extra-base hits in 90 at bats. I by no means intend to pile on Loney, who has been the target of much criticism, by Lyons quote is laughable.

Maybe he should talk about Matt Kemp as the great example for young Dodger fans, he is after all leading all of Major League Baseball in hitting. in fact if you look at the MLB leader boards you will see Kemp’s name scattered all over the place.

Batting Average- 1st (.402)

Multi-Hit Games – T-1st (10)

Hits – 2nd (33)

On-Base Percentage – 4th (.484)

Stolen Bases – T-4th (8)

RBI – T-5th (17)

OPS T – 6th (1.135) Minimum 65 Plate Appearances

Slugging Percentage – 8th (.659)

The Dodgers square off tonight against the red hot Florida Marlins who have won 8 of their last 10 games. Good news for the Dodgers is they will not have to face Marlins ace Josh Johnson who pitched yesterday. True Blue LA has an excellent preview

of the Dodgers Marlins series. I also had to put my McCourt project on hold for another day due to a personal issue but keep an eye out for it in the next day or two.

Tags: Aaron Miles Andre Ethier Blake Hawksworth Casey Blake Hiroki Kuroda James Loney Jamey Carroll Jerry Sands Jonathan Broxton Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp Mike MacDougal Rod Barajas

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