The Dodgers return home after completing a very successful road trip. They won 7 of 8 games including a sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Even the one game they did lose on the trip on Tuesday versus the Cardinals was in reach before Brandon League came into the game, but we all know that once League comes into play the game is good as done. Friday night will not only be the first time that the Tampa Bay Rays have come to play at Dodger Stadium, but it will also be the first time that former Dodger James Loney comes back to Los Angeles to play in front of Dodger fans since being traded to Boston last season.
James Loney was a sort of enigma in 2012. The 29-year old left-handed hitting first baseman was an integral part of the Dodgers since he debuted back in 2006 for the Blue. Loney spent almost six seasons in L.A., and except for a disappointing and frustrating 2012 season, Loney always hit at least 10 homeruns for the Dodgers. His best years were 2008-2009 when he collected 13 homeruns and 90 RBIs while hitting .289 and .281 respectively. His defense is quite good, and with the glove Loney is remarkable. In 2012 his numbers fell off, and he only managed 4 homeruns and 33 RBIs with a line of .254/.302/.344 in 114 games before being shipped off to the Red Sox in August. Watching Loney fail every time he was up with runners in scoring position was absolutely frustrating. He was dubbed “the third out” by some after he ceremoniously seemed to make the third out in an inning which usually ended a potential scoring rally. Fans became frustrated with the first baseman, and the Dodgers had been looking for replacements for some time to fill the corner infield spots with some sort of increased power and offense.
Loney had been a first round draft pick by the Dodgers back in 2002, but he seemed to never quite live up to expectations. On August 25, 2012 number 7 was traded in the blockbuster deal which sent the first baseman along with Ivan DeJesus, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jerry Sands to Boston in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto. It was sad to see him go, but it had to be done to better the team.
After 30 games in Boston, Loney was granted free agency after the conclusion of the 2012 season. He signed a $2 million one-year deal with Tampa Bay where he has thrived and resurrected his career. With the Rays, Loney is hitting well (.307) with 10 homeruns and 51 RBIs in 109 games. I’m glad to see Loney succeed. This will be Loney’s first visit to Dodger Stadium since being traded away, and I hope the fans will welcome him with respect and maybe even some applause upon his homecoming.
|James Loney 109 games .307/.355/.449 10 HR 51 RBI 6 Errors|
|Adrian Gonzalez 111 games .293/.344/.452 15 HR 69 RBI 9 Errors|
The Rays are playing very well, and they are 2 games behind Boston in the American League East, but they are coming off of two losses to Arizona. The Rays will send David Price to the mound for game one, and the left-hander has only allowed one earned run in each of his last three starts. Last time out against the Giants, Price pitched a complete game and only allowed 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking none. This will be Price’s first start against the Dodgers.
Chris Capuano will be making his 15th start for the Dodgers. Capuano has had two very good
starts recently, and he has not allowed an earned run in those last two games versus the Reds and Cubs. Last time out in Wrigley Field, Cappy allowed 6 hits and struck out 5 while walking 1 over 6 1/3 inning for the win. The left-hander has only pitched 7 innings against the Rays in his career in one start when he was with the Brewers, and he is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA against them.
The Dodgers and Rays have both been hot, and each have climbed out of the cellar to reach first and second place in their respective division.
Not only will we see former Dodger James Loney, but Jamey Wright will also return to familiar territory. Wright pitched admirably with the Dodgers out of relief last season, and this season he has pitched successfully for Tampa Bay. The 18-year veteran has pitched in 47 games for TB, and he has a 3.42 ERA with 44 strikeouts. Man, do I wish the Dodgers kept Jamey instead of wasting money on new mop-up man Brandon League. Perhaps Jamey will finally get the opportunity to pitch in the postseason for Tampa Bay this year.
The telecast will be aired on Prime Ticket at 7:10 p.m. with Vin Scully to announce. Join us after the game for all our rants and raves. Go Blue!