Dodgers Lineup vs. Houston-
A.J. Ellis C
The Dodgers will face right hander Bud Norris tonight in game two of the three game series with the Houston Astros in what could be the final series between the two teams before the Astros move to the American League West in 2013. The Dodgers had the chance last night to become the first Dodger team ever to start the season 20-4 at home, but they came up short. Kershaw lost only his second home decision in 19 starts, and in that time he is 14-2 at home. The main reason the Dodgers failed last night was a lack of clutch hitting which of course has been their strength in 2012. The Dodgers left ten men on base, and they scored their only run on a bases loaded walk from Jerry Hairston.
The Dodgers are sorely missing their perennial MVP candidate Matt Kemp, who is due to return on Tuesday. Tonight the Astros will try and hand the Dodgers only their second home loss of the season. The Astros are a scrappy young ball club. Not nearly as crappy as last year, it seems as if their young players are developing very quickly.
In game two, the Astros will try and serve us a tall Bud, as right hander Bud Norris will go up against the Dodgers. We haven’t seen him in a while, but the Dodgers have never been able to hit him. Norris’s numbers against the Dodgers don’t look very appealing. His 1-1 record, and 2.67 ERA against the Dodgers don’t tell the whole tale. Norris has been one of the better pitchers in the league this year. He is 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA, and he has a 9.1 whiff per nine rate. Impressive numbers. The Dodgers hit .269 against Bud, in 41 at-bats, they have 11 hits total. James Loney our little lovable rally killer, has hit .455 (5 for 11) with a double and two RBIs off of Norris. Andre Ethier is 2 for 9 with a home run and three RBIs. Norris has a frosty 0.35 ERA in May.
The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley. Last outing Bills lasted six innings on Sunday Night Baseball, allowing three earned runs in a Dodger victory. His numbers against Houston are typical Billingsley type numbers, inconsistent. He is 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA against Houston. Despite the inconsistent numbers, Bills has held the current group of Astro players to a collective .203 batting average against. Only slugger Carlos Lee has any kind of success against Bills. Everyone else is small sample size. Lee is 6 for 21 hitting .296 with a home run and five RBIs. However Chris Snyder has struggled mightily off Bills, going 3 for 22 for a .136 average. Although the Astros have hit four home runs off Bills. Snyder himself has hit two, which account for two of his three hits off Bills. Lee has hit one and so has Jordan Schafer. Who knows what kind of performance we will get out of Bills tonight who is 2-3 on the season. Can Bills stop his choice hops of mediocrity?
Tune into Prime Ticket tonight at 7PM to see if the Dodgers can keep their home mojo working. With Kemp and Rivera due back soon, we can expect two of the minor leaguers to be sent back down to make room. My guess is it will probably be Jerry Sands and Scott Van Slyke that get the axe. I hate to say it but since Sands and Van Slyke have been pretty useless, besides the home run from Van Slyke and a double from Sands, so when that happens I won’t shed any tears. We need Bison back pronto.
Can the Dodgers drink from the tall frosty mug of victory? Or will the Astros serve up an ice cold Bud of ohfers? Check in with us after the game for our nightly post-game coverage to find out. The Dodgers are 7-0 on Saturdays this year. Go Blue.