Stephen Fife (0-0, 0.00) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-0, 5.40)
(Update-Chad Billingsley has been placed on the DL with elbow pain, Stephen Fife will make an emergency start today)
Dodgers Lineup: vs. BaltimoreCrawford 7 M.Ellis 4 Gonzalez 3 Kemp 8 Ethier 9 Hairston 5 A.J. Ellis 2 Schumaker DH Sellers 6
The Dodgers have now lost six games in a row. After watching the Boys in Blue lose both games of a doubleheader versus the Orioles yesterday, I’m beginning to get frustrated and confused. This team seems like it would be bursting out the gates come Opening Day three weeks ago, and instead it looks as though they are plodding along and looking lost while doing it. The problems are multi-faceted, but the majority have to do with their offensive struggles. Although even when the Dodgers do obtain a lead (like the early lead they had after Andre Ethier‘s three-run homerun in game one of the doubleheader), they are unable to hold on to the lead.
Some of the bullpen has been ineffective to say the least, and the most troubling arm has been Ronald Belisario who has allowed 4 earned runs on 11 hits in just 7 1/3 innings pitched. We all know that Beli can be very tough to hit when he’s in command. The starting rotation has been pretty good, and other than a bad pitch or two thrown by Josh Beckett and a disastrous start by an injured Chris Capuano, the starters have kept the Dodgers in the game for the most part. The defense is above average albeit there were some cringe worthy plays during the doubleheader on Saturday.
The core of the problem is the hitting. It’s pretty simple really. Matt Kemp isn’t hitting and either are Luis Cruz, Juan Uribe, Justin Sellers, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston Jr., or Ramon Hernandez. With that much deadweight in the lineup, the Dodgers are unable to string together enough base hits to create runs. Matt Kemp’s struggles have the most impact on the team. Without our captain hitting, the Dodgers have little chance to succeed. We’ve said it before: Kemp’s success is directly correlated to the team’s overall success.
The Dodgers go into Sunday’s morning game at Camden Yards with a lot at stake. They are trying to stave off the sweep and also avoid dropping seven games in a row before they head to New York to play the Mets. Chad Billingsley will go for his second win of the season after pitching in a no-decision against the Padres on Monday. Chad allowed 3 runs off 7 hits over 6 innings last time out. He hasn’t made it to the seventh inning so far this season, but he has pitched admirably so far for the Dodgers. Bills has never pitched at Camden Yards or against the Orioles. He is 7-7 with a 4.24 in Interleague play (18 games started).
Jake Arrieta, a right-hander, will go to the mound for the O’s. The Dodgers have never faced Arrieta. Carl Crawford does have 7 at-bats against Arrieta with a homerun
and 2 RBIs. Adrian Gonzalez has hit him to a tune of .455 in 11 at-bats with a homerun and a couple of RBIs as well. Last time out against Tampa Bay, Arrieta picked up his first win of the season after allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits with 7 strikeouts and 5 walks over 5 innings. He’s been unable to make it into the sixth inning in any of his first three starts this year.
The Dodgers have scored just 47 runs in 17 games this season so far. That’s the second lowest in the National League and only better than the Miami Marlins who have scored 37 runs. The Rockies surprisingly lead the league with 100 runs scored. The Dodgers are also 13th in HRs with 10. Although they are second to last in the league in strikeouts with 114. Also worth noting, Hyun-jin Ryu leads N.L. rookie pitchers with 26 strikeouts.
Grab a cup of coffee and join us for some early morning Dodger baseball. First pitch is at 10:35 a.m. on Prime Ticket.