As the calendar turns from May to June the Dodgers and Rockies are clearly headed in different directions. The suddenly resurgent Dodgers offense has sparked a three game winning streak, while the Rockies are giddy to see June come as they just finished a month where they won 8 games and lost 21.
Even more bizarre is Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez who is still looking for his first win of the 2011 season, last year he was 10-and 1 heading in to June. The Dodgers certainly hope he waits until his next start to pick up his first win of the year. Jimenez looked to have turned the corner lasting 7 and 8 innings in starts on May 17 and 22, however his last time out he gave up 6 runs on 12 hits, as his ERA ballooned to 5.86.
The Dodgers offense certainly seems to like having Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake back in the top two spots in the order as they have scored 23 runs during their three game streak, they scored a total of 25 runs in the 9 games prior to that. A sweep of the Rockies will move the Dodgers in to sole possession of third place in the West and bring them within three games of .500.
With the Diamondbacks and Giants both losing last night the Dodgers moved to 4.5 games behind Arizona and 4 behind San Francisco. Starting pitching continues to be strong for the Dodgers as last night Ted Lilly had his best outing of the season striking out 8 over 7 solid innings only allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. That’s what you’re supposed to get for $11 million dollars from your starter.
Matt Kemp continued his terrific 2011 season by blasting a deep home run halfway up the right field pavilion to give the Dodgers an early 2-to-0 lead, and they would never look back. Casey Blake added a three-run homer in the 7th inning to put the game away and Rubby De La Rosa sealed the win with 2 shutout innings adding 2 more strikeouts.
The announced attendance last night was 31,473, but it looked like about half that number actually showed up to the park.
Vicente Padilla threw two perfect innings last night at High-A Rancho Cucamonga and all signs point to him returning to the Dodgers later this week. It’s unbelievable that 5 of the top 6 relievers to begin the season are on the DL (Padilla, Broxton, Jansen, Kuo, Hawksworth) yet it seems like the bullpen has actually been better lately than it was earlier in the season.
Scott Elbert, Javy Guerra, and Rubby have all pitched well and give the Dodgers power arms coming out of the pen. We are still waiting for Josh Lindblom to make his major league debut. He was warming up last night, and you would think an 8-to-2 game would have been the ideal time to give him his first taste, but Mattingly stuck with Rubby for two innings and he dominated. His change-up is really filthy, it reminds me of the old ‘Bugs Bunny’ cartoon the way it moves at the plate and how bad it makes hitters look.
Another power arm may be on the way sooner than later as reliever Shawn Tolleson has been promoted from Low-A to AA in the span of about two weeks. Tolleson has been absolutely dominant this year posting a 0.34 ERA with 51 strikeouts in just 26 innings pitched. Opponents are batting a paltry .110 off of him.
Brandon Lennox over at True Blue LA has put together a great list of all of the Dodgers minor leaguers stats thus far this season, and you will notice when you get to the pitching section that Tolleson’s name appears at the top of many lists. If you are interested in the future of the Dodgers it is a must read. It’s also nice to point out that Trayvon Robinson hit his organization leading 11th homer last night.
Stay tuned to see if the Dodgers can do something they haven’t done all year, win four games in a row and creep closer to the division leaders in the West.
Tags: Casey Blake Colorado Rockies Javy Guerra Josh Lindblom Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp Rafael Furcal Rubby De La Rosa Scott Elbert Shawn Tolleson Ted Lilly Trayvon Robinson Ubaldo Jimenez Vicente Padilla