A couple of hours before the game we learned that Matt Guerrier was placed on the DL with left elbow tendinitis. This is an injury he has had since spring training. The injury is not expected to sideline him for any extended amount of time. The Dodgers expect him to return in a couple of weeks. To replace him on the roster, the Dodgers have called up lefty Michael Antonini from triple A Albuquerque. The 26 year old lefty pitcher was 1-0 with a 4,26 ERA in four games this season for Albuquerque. Antonini is not expected to be with the Dodgers very long. The lefty reliever who was acquired in the Chin-lung Hu trade, is likely to be optioned back down once Todd Coffey comes off the DL on April 29.
Guerrier’s rusty elbow, is not expected to keep him out long. Apparently there was no ligament damage found to Guerrier’s rusty elbow. The Dodgers gave him a platelet-rich plasma injection, and have ordered him to rest for several days before beginning to throw again. His DL stint is retroactive to April 19, and he is able to come off the DL on May 4.
Meanwhile the Dodgers were at home on another gloomy night, to take on Atlanta, in game two of the three game series. The pitching match-up wasn’t a battle of the titans by any means, but still was promising to be a tough fight. Lefty Mike Minor vs. Aaron Harang for the Dodgers. The Dodgers of course put out their lefty heavy lineup, with Rivera switching to first base, Loney to the bench, and Hairston in left field.
Michael Bourn leads off the game by slamming a Harang meatball into the gap for a double. Real great start Harang. Prado grounds out to Ellis, advancing Bourn over to third with the NL player of the week, Freddie Freeman due up next. Harang finally shows some of that nine consecutive whiff stuff, and whiffs Freeman swinging on a high heater. All-star catcher Brian McCann who scares me, lines one right into Dee’s glove for the third out. Atlanta leaves Bourn stranded at third. Nice job Harang!
Bottom of the first. Minor whiffs Gordon looking like a statue for the first out. Mark Ellis hits a little flare just over the leaping head of Dan Uggla, and into right field for a base hit. Bison draws the count full before flying out to right field. I remember reading a very telling stat. The Dodgers are ranked second in the NL in hitting in the first inning. They are batting .391, with a 1.026 OPS, and 17 runs scored, in the first innings of games. Juan Rivera comes up, and crushes a Minor pitch, deep into the lodge section, just inside the left field foul pole. Only the twentieth lodge level home run at Dodger stadium, and Rivera’s first home run of the season, to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. I remember the ogre Adam Dunn, hitting one up there. The last Dodger to do it was Matt Kemp back in 2007. Rivera’s home run was taped at 437 feet. Andre Ethier, grounds out to end the frame.
Top of the second. Uggla leads off and flies out to Bison. The birthday boy, 40 year old Chipper Jones, flies out to Bison as well. Jason Heyward also hits a fly ball to Center. Quick inning for Harang, three straight fly balls to center.
Bottom of the second. Hairston leads off with a single to right. Uribe back to his typical out making, grounds into a 1-4-3 double play. A.J. Ellis slow roller to third ends the inning.
Top of the third. Harang begins this inning, by walking rookie shortstop Pastornicky. Opposing starter Mike Minor lays attempts to lay down a sacrifice bunt and fails, striking out. Bourn hits a liner into left field, that Hairston catches on the run. Pastoernicky has to hustle back to first base. Prado hits a full count liner to first that Rivera dives and snares to end the inning. Nice play!
Harang whiffs to start the bottom of the third. Gordon tries to bunt for a hit again, and can’t do it properly, as he is thrown out by a charging Chipper Jones. Mark Ellis flies out to center.
Top of the fourth. Freeman lines out to Gordon. Mccann flies out to Ethier. Uggla, who always swings out of his shoes on every at-bat, grounds out to Gordon. Nice quick easy inning for Harang.
Bottom of the fourth. The Dodgers are still leading 2-0. Bison leads off the inning with a full count single to center. Rivera fists a flare to second. Uggla makes a running over the shoulder catch, and is able to double up Kemp at first. Sigh, more outs on the base-paths. Ethier lines out to Bourne to end the frame.
Harang serves up a meatball to Chipper Jones, and he hits it into the Atlanta Bullpen. Chipper hits one out on his birthday. It’s 2-1 Dodgers. Heyward singles to right. Pastornicky singles through the hole at first, because Rivera broke to cover the bag. Minor sacrifice bunts the runners to second and third. Bourne walks to load the bases, and the obligatory Harang middle inning meltdown is underway. Prado grounds to second, scoring Heyward. The game is now tied at 2-2. Mccann takes Hairston deep into left field, but Hairston who got a poor jump on the ball, makes a nice running over the shoulder catch. Phew. That could have been much worse.
Bottom of the fifth. Hairston flies out. Uribe flies out to center. A.J. Ellis gets a pop fly single, that falls in between three Braves. Harang flies out to Bourne to end the fifth.
Top of the sixth. Mccann leads off with a single to right. Uggla walks on a full count. The predictable sixth inning meltdown occurring again for Harang. The formula is simple. The game reaches the fifth or sixth inning, and Harang’s arm suddenly contracts a disease which prevents him from throwing strikes. With two on now and none out, Mattingly comes out for a mound visit. The birthday boy, Chipper Jones, who has already homered tonight, comes up, and grounds one right back to Harang. The Dodgers turn the 1-6-3 double play, but Mccann goes to third with two outs now. Heyward is intentionally walked, to get to rookie Pastornicky. Of course, Harang throws a wild pitch, and Heyward easily scores, and the Braves take the lead 3-2. Pastornicky reaches on an infield single, and finally the pitcher Minor grounds into a force out to end the inning.
Gordon singles to start the bottom of the sixth. Mark Ellis singles to right. Two on none out, Bison at-bat. The Braves bullpen begins to stir. Bison hits a grounder to short. The Braves get one out at second, the throw to first is low, and bounces a few feet away from freeman towards the first base coaches box. Gordon speeds around third to score the tying run. The umps however call Kemp out, saying he rounded first and turned towards second. Remember anytime a runner makes any movement towards second base, they can be called out. Both managers argued, as the Umpires converge, but eventually rule against the Dodgers. Uggla gets an error for his poor throw to first, that allowed Gordon to score. With two outs now and the bases empty, but a tie game, Rivera singles off of Minor’s glove. As Rivera pulls up lame at first base, the Dodgers take him out to be safe. Not sure what the leg injury is, but as soon as we have any information, we will pass it along to you. Loney has to come into to pinch-run. Ethier flies out to end the game, but the game is tied, and we have lost Rivera.
You can close the books on Harang. He goes six innings, allows three runs, six hits, four walks, and two whiffs. With the game tied, he will get a no-decision. Scott Elbert comes in to pitch the top of the seventh. Bourn flies out to Dre. Prado flies out to Hairston. Freeman flies out to Bison, and we go to the seventh inning stretch all tied at 3-3.
Kris Medlen comes into to pitch the seventh for Minor. Lefty Mike Minor goes six, allowing three runs on eight hits, walking none and whiffing two. Hairston pops out to lead off the seventh. Uribe grounds out to Uggla. A.J. Ellis Mr. folk lore himself, singles up the middle. With Elbert’s spot coming up, Kennedy is called up from the Dodger bench to hit. Freddy Gonzalez makes a pitching change, bringing in lefty Eric O’Flaherty. Of course he easily retires the weak hitting out-maker Adam Kennedy, on a little dribbler back to the box.
Top of the eighth. Jansen is brought in to pitch. Mccann sends Dre all the way back to the wall, for a long fly out. Jansen whiffs Uggla like a rented mule. Jones a two out walk. Jansen then recovers to whiff Heyward. Still tied at 3-3. Bottom of the eighth. Gordon grounds out with O’Flaherty still on the mound. Ellis grounds out. According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily news, Hoornstra Tweet Rivera left the game with a strained hamstring injury, and is day-to-day.
O’Flaherty pitches around Bison walking to get to Loney. James does what he does, and grounds out to end the inning.
Top of the ninth. Guerra on the mound. Pastornicky gets another hit. Jack Wilson comes off the bench to sacrifice Pastornicky into scoring position. Guerra whiffs Bourn. Prado after fouling off several pitches hits a long fly to center that sends Kemp back to the wall. It looked like Bison had it, he leaped, but misjudges it, and can’t make the catch, as the ball lands at his feet. He is disoriented for a second and has trouble finding the ball. Once he does, Pastornicky has scored, and Prado is into third with a RBI triple. Freeman grounds out, but the Braves retake the lead 4-3.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. Braves bring in their star closer, Craig Kimbrel. Ethier leads off and whiffs. Hairston singles. Uribe whiffs. He is back to his ohfer ways. A.J. Ellis walks. Tony Gwynn as a pinch-hitter whiffs to end the game. The Dodgers lose their first game of the year at home.
This loss really sticks in my craw. We made a lot of mistakes on the base paths. The Braves were able to keep Kemp and Ethier quiet, with only one hit between them and a walk. We lost Rivera for who knows how long, and the bullpen blew the tie in the ninth. Fustration…..The rubber game is tomorrow at 7:10PM. The Dodgers will try to rebound and get the series win. Beachy vs. Lilly, but a major rainstorm is forecast for tomorrow night. We will see if we get the game in tomorrow. Chin up Dodger fans, not much we can do, we all knew the Dodgers were going to lose at home at some point. Until tomorrow, Go Blue.