Dodgers Lineup: vs. San DiegoCrawford 7 M.Ellis 4 Kemp 8 Gonzalez 3 A.J. Ellis 2 Ethier 9 Cruz 5 Sellers 6 Billingsley 1
Jackie Robinson‘s thick skin and resilience allowed him to transcend the naysayers and abusive aggregators making him the Hall of Fame baseball player and American hero we will celebrate and honor on Monday. All Major League players will be wearing his iconic number 42 during Monday’s Jackie Robinson Day to pay tribute to the baseball pioneer. Since Jackie was a Dodger, the team must live up to an even greater standard on Monday. Robinson underwent constant scrutiny, verbal abuse, and even death threats while he was paving the way for African-Americans in professional sports. In the recently released biopic 42, Branch Rickey warns Jackie: “Your enemy will be out in force. But you cannot meet him on his own low ground.” The Dodgers will host the San Diego Padres on Monday, and even though tempers still boil after the brawl which led to Zack Greinke‘s broken collarbone, the Dodgers must not retatlate on Monday night.
There will be eventual retaliation, but it should not be done tomorrow. Not on Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson embodied the very essence of peaceful resistance. The Dodgers must win on the field, and that will be the ultimate payback.
Chad Billingsley will make his second start of the season after returning from the disabled list as he draws Eric Stults for a rematch. During his last start, Bills looked great. He only allowed one run on five hits over six innings of work in San Diego. The Dodger right-hander has had a history of success versus San Diego in his career, and he has a 13-8 record with a 2.58 ERA and 135 strikeouts against the Padres in 146 2/3 innings. He’ll have to watch out for Mark Kotsay who has had the most at-bats versus Bills and has a .280 batting average against him. Carlos Quentin will be serving his suspension and not be playing tomorrow.
Eric Stults will be making his second start against the Dodgers, and last time he suffered the loss after pitching 5 innings while allowing 4 earned runs on 8 hits. The Dodgers hope they can repeat their success against the left hander on Monday night. Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis both went deep against Stults last Wednesday.
There may be pre-game warnings beforehand, but Billingsley has already said he will not shy away from pitching inside. Bud Black feels that there won’t be any carryover, and that baseball will come first. Additionally, San Diego is coming off a three-game sweep by the Rockies and a five-game losing streak. They are now 2-8 on the season, while the Dodgers sit at 7-5 after losing 2 of 3 in Arizona.
The Dodgers need to focus on the task at hand which is winning. The Dodgers are second to last in the league in runs scored. Only the Miami Marlins have scored fewer runs so far this season.
When tensions run high, the Dodgers should follow Jackie Robinson’s example and turn the other cheek.
Reporter: “Whatcha gonna do if one of these pitchers throws for your head?”
Jackie Robinson: “I’ll duck.”