Mark Ellis 2B
A.J. Ellis C
Yesterday’s dramatic win had to be one of the most exciting games of the year. I was already in shock once James Loney hit a homerun following the homerun of Hanley Ramirez, but then Luis Cruz came up and hit the third consecutive Dodger homerun as I picked my mouth up off the floor. We all remember watching the four-homerun game, and for a moment the memory flashed back to me. Could we repeat that historic homerun barrage? No, A.J. Ellis couldn’t give us that fourth consecutive homerun when he fouled out. It’s okay, we haven’t seen back-to-back-to-back Dodger homeruns since 2007. Ben Sheets, who is attempting a comeback in his career, was lit up like a Christmas Tree. Aaron Harang wasn’t blowing batters away either, but he somehow calmly gets out of jams. Kenley Jansen picked up his 25th save of the season as the Dodgers evened up the series at Turner Field.
Today’s game will be the final game between the Braves and Dodgers this season, and it will be the final game of this ten-game road trip. So far, the Dodgers have fared very well and are 6-3 and have won both previous series against Miami and Pittsburgh. The Dodgers would like nothing more than to win this series against Atlanta, because when they return home tomorrow they will have their arch enemies knocking on their door for a three-game high stakes series. The Dodgers will also be saying goodbye to Chipper Jones who will be retiring after this his nineteenth season with the Atlanta Braves. Matt Kemp has said that he grew up a big Atlanta Braves fan, and I think we can all remember the strong Atlanta teams of yesteryear and Chipper’s tenured career. From 1991-2005, the Braves won 14 consecutive division titles. The Braves won the 1995 World Series against the Cleveland Indians behind one of the best rotations in baseball history (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz). Hearing the Tomahawk Chop chant really harkens me back to my childhood when watching the Dodgers take on the Braves. They were always really tough, and they are still a strong team today.
Chad Billingsleywill be going for his tenth win of the season and his sixth consecutive victory. The red bearded Billingsley has been fantastic
since returning from a brief DL stint. Last time out against Pittsburgh, Bills pitched 8 shutout innings and only allowed 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 1. During his five-game winning streak, Bills has only allowed 6 earned runs. He’s been attacking the batters more, and he hasn’t been trying to over think counts. This is the Chad Billingsley we all have been a fan of since coming up with the Dodgers. He truly has the talent to be a #2 starter, but he is his own worst enemy. In his career against Atlanta, Bills is 1-3 with a 3.67 ERA. He has whiffed 49 Braves in 41 2/3 innings pitched. He’ll have to watch for Martin Prado and David Ross who have both hit him well. Brian McCann has gone deep against him, but the power-hitting catcher has had shoulder issues recently.
Left-hander Mike Minor will go to the mound for the Braves. He’s only won two games since July 5th, and last time out against the Padres he lost after allowing 3 earned runs off 9 hits over 6 innings. Minor has only pitched 12 innings versus the Dodgers. He has a 3.00 ERA in that dozen innings. Both A.J. Ellis and Hanley Ramirez have one homerun each in their two at bats against Minor.
The Giants won last night versus the Padres, so the Dodgers remain 1/2 game back and in second place. Arizona sits in third place and 5 games back of San Francisco.
Scott Elbert has already joined the team, and the Dodgers have activated him today. In a corresponding roster move, Elian Herrera has been optioned back down to AAA. Don Mattingly will be serving his second day of suspension, and Trey Hillman will be managing in his place again today. Hillman noticeably managed the game a bit different than Mattingly would yesterday. He brought Kenley Jansenin during the eighth inning with two outs which was not a save situation, and then had him pitch again in the top of the ninth.
Today’s game is on bright and early at 10:35 am and televised on KCAL. Come commiserate with us after the game. We are always here whether we win or lose.