M. Ellis 2B
AJ Ellis C
I’m just going to forget about that ninth inning last night. The one where Dodger closer Brandon League almost Broxtoned away the game in the ninth inning with two outs. Luckily Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis had given him a cushion with some runs from their first and second inning homeruns, yet it was disconcerting to say the least. Hopefully League won’t be doing that on a regular basis, otherwise Don Mattingly is going to have to use Kenley Jansen in save opportunities (he should be the closer anyways in my opinion). Nevertheless, Chad Billingsley was solid in his return from disability, and I’m happy to see him back in the rotation. When Billingsley is healthy and on his game, he’s a much better pitcher than Josh Beckett or even dare I say Hyun-jin Ryu.
Zack Greinke, the Dodgers’ second ace, will go to the mound in the finale game at Petco Park Thursday night. Greinke has never pitched at Petco Park in his career. The right-hander was superb in his first start of the season versus the Pirates, and he has yet to allow a run this season. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing only 2 hits, no walks, and 6 strikeouts. Against San Diego, the righty is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in just 6 innings pitched against the Padres. The only Padre who has seen more than 5 at-bats against Zack is Carlos Quentin who is hitting .250 with 3 homeruns and 4 RBIs against him. Unfortunately for the Padres, Quentin has been battling a sore wrist sustained by a Ronald Belisario fastball and is listed as day-to-day. Mattingly said that he will not let Greinke pitch more than 105-110 pitches in order to be a little cautious since Greinke dealt with some elbow soreness this Spring.
In a somewhat mismatched duel, Jason Marquis will counter Greinke for San Diego. Last time out in his first start of the season versus Colorado, a costly error plated three unearned runs. Marquis allowed 2 earned runs over 6 innings in the loss. In his career against the Dodgers, Marquis has been successful and is 6-4 with a 2.58 ERA in over 90 innings of work. Adrian Gonzalez has hit him well with 2 RBIs and a .294 batting average against the right-hander in 17 at-bats. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have had trouble against him, and they are only hitting .167 and .143.
The Padres will have to be wary of firecracker lead-off man Carl Crawford who has dazzled fans with his red hot start to the season. Crawford is hitting .464 with a 1.245 OPS so far. He has 13 hits, including his homerun and triple last night. He’s also 2-for-4 in stolen base opportunities. Although those numbers will be impossible to maintain, he has exceeded all of my expectations going into the season. As the season progresses, he could be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.
Andre Ethier, who struggles against Marquis, has a 10-game hitting streak which began at the end of last year.
The game will be televised (hopefully with no drama tonight) on Prime Ticket at 7:10 p.m. Join us after the game as we commiserate about our Boys in Blue!