A.J. Ellis C
After the brief road trip to Phoenix, the Dodgers return home to face the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee Brewers. Even though the Dodgers had a horribly forfeiture like loss on Wednesday night versus the D-backs, they still won the series by taking two of three games. Ted Lilly had his worst start of the season, but I was boggled that Donnie left him in for so long even though he didn’t look good from the get go. Going into Wednesday’s game, Lilly had the second best ERA in the NL. After the horrors we witnessed in the blowout game, his ERA ballooned up to 3.14. We knew that there was no way Lilly was going to maintain his near perfect start to the season, but Donnie should have hooked him a bit earlier in my opinion.
Anyhow, the first place Dodgers will be beginning a three-game series with the Houston Astros as they visit Chavez Ravine for the first and only time this season. This will be the final time that the Astros will visit Dodger Stadium as members of the National League since they are set to transition into the AL next year. Remember that the Astros played in the NL West from 1969-1993. The Dodgers and Astros always had a fun rivalry during those years. Earlier in April, the Dodgers won two out of three against the Astros in Houston. The Astros are currently in third place in the NL Central, and they are 21-23 on the season. The Astros aren’t nearly as awful as they were last season, and they have actually won three straight and seven of their last eleven.
The young and feisty Astros will have their work cut out for them as they draw Clayton Kershaw for game one. Kersh is beginning to get into his groove, and he was named the NL Player of the Week after going 2-0 in his two starts. During his last outing he pitched a complete game 6-0 shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals. He only allowed 6 hits in 9 innings. At home, Kershaw is unstoppable. He has an eye-popping 1.41 ERA during his last 18 starts at Dodger Stadium. In his career against Houston, Clayton is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA, and he has 37 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. Carlos Lee and Chris Snyder have both hit Kersh well in the past, and each have a homerun against him.
Lucas Harrell, the young right-hander, has never faced the Dodgers. Tonight will be Harrell’s 15th career start and 10th of this season. Lucas hasn’t gone past the sixth inning in any of his last four starts. He won last time out against the Rangers when he went 5 1/3 inning while allowing 5 hits and whiffing 6. Harrell is green, but he is very competitive.
The Dodgers have some of their injured starters over in Albuquerque working in rehab games. Both Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera will be playing with the Isotopes before they are activated from the DL. Rivera’s hamstring injury has been healing very fast, and he may be returning earlier than expected. With Jerry Hairston Jr.’s return today and Matt Kemp’s and Juan Rivera’s return on the horizon, there will be some roster decisions to be made. Jerry Sands, Scott Van Slyke, Elian Herrera, and Ivan De Jesus all could be going back down to Albuquerque soon. I’d like to see Herrera stay if I had my choice out of those four players.
The game will begin at 7:10 pm, and it will air on Prime Ticket. Stick around for the post game recap. As always, we will have the score and a comprehensive game summary.