AJ Ellis C
Van Slyke RF
Last night the Dodgers had plenty of chances to cash in on their 13 hits, but they just couldn’t come up with that key clutch hit with runners in scoring position. They stranded runner after runner as each inning showcased a failed rally. Clayton Kershaw had already made 90-something pitches by the sixth inning, and the D-backs sunk their fangs into the left-hander as they scored five runs in the frustrating inning. Don Mattingly left Kersh in far too long when he was noticeably tiring. Jamey Wright couldn’t finish off the inning either, and he walked two in just 2/3 of an inning. Justin Upton, who has been booed this season in Arizona due to his disappointing year thus far, came up with the big two-RBI triple. Now the Dodgers need to win tonight in order to fight off the Giants who are just 1/2 game back of them in the NL West standings. If they can pick up another win or two going into the All-Star break, they could remain in first-place while Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier rehab next week in preparation for their return to the big club.
Chad Billingsley would like to end the first half on a winning note since he is in the midst of a four-start losing streak. Billingsley started off the season well, but this certainly has been a disappointing and frustrating season for him so far. Last time out, the sixth inning was Chad’s meltdown moment akin to Kershaw’s sixth of last night. Bills pitched five scoreless innings, but then he served up three runs in the sixth en route to his eighth loss of the season. In his career against Arizona, Bills is 10-8 with a 3.74 ERA. He has struck out 146 snakes in 149 innings pitched against them. He will have to listen for the rattles of Stephen Drew and Chris Young. Drew is batting .367 against the right-hander with one homerun, and Young has bashed three homers against Chad.
Trevor Cahill will go to the mound for the D-backs who has lost two in a row in his last starts. Last time
out against the Padres, he was stung with the loss after San Diego scored a couple runs off an error he committed. He has a 1-0 record against the Dodgers in his career, and he sports a 0.79 ERA against them in 11 1/3 innings pitched. Many of the current Dodgers haven’t faced the righty. Bobby Abreu, who came up with three hits last night, has one homer against him. Cahill has allowed four homeruns in his last two starts. Can the Dodgers keep up the homerun barrage? Well, I call it a barrage because Scott Van Slyke, Elian Herrera, and Adam Kennedy have all hit unlikely homeruns of late.
In rehab news, Andre Ethier will be play at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga next Wednesday and Thursday. Matt Kemp will be getting some work in with AAA-Albuquerque for a couple of games before he is ready to return after the break. He will play 9 innings in center field for the first game and DH in the second rehab game. Dee Gordon‘s thumb surgery went as planned on Friday, and he should be able to resume baseball activities in about a week. He will be out for at least 6 weeks.
James Loney had recently went into Don Mattingly’s office, and he claimed that he was “back.” Loney had two hits last night, and he has the highest batting average all-time at Chase Field among players with at least 100-at bats. He is 68-for-173 with a .393 average. Remarkable, isn’t it?
The evening game will begin at 7:10 pm in the desert of Phoenix. Prime Ticket will televise the game. Stay tuned following the conclusion of the game for our postgame coverage. Let’s skin those snakes!