JC's Dodger Line Drives | Apr. 12: Wolf Howls in Open Desert
The Los Angeles Dodgers took the rubber game of the seasons' second series in Arizona with a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks. Randy Wolf battled Dan Haren in a classic pitchers duel to send the Blue Crew home happy and ready to face the San Francisco Giants in their home opener.
Let The Sun Shine In
A sunny Easter Sunday in Arizona saw this game played with the roof open on at Chase Field. The official weather was listed at 76 degrees with a mild five mph drifting in from right field. The shadows that crept in during the late innings may have played a role in the Dodgers holding onto their lead.
Waves Converge and Crash
In a match-up of Pepperdine University graduates Randy Wolf and Dan Haren, fans were treated to an excellent pitching exhibition. They combined for 13+ innings, six hits and three runs. Wolf turned in the most effective start by a Dodger pitcher so far this season, after struggling in his first outing in San Diego.
New Cleanup Hitter
Dodger manager Joe Torre moved the blazing hot James Loney into the fourth spot in the Dodger lineup. Loney delivered a line drive single to right which plated Rafael Furcal with the eventual game winning tally. He ripped another single to right in the sixth inning and is hitting .370 so far this season. Here's to hoping he keeps Loney hitting behind Manny Ramirez for the sake of the team as well as the players as it is this reporter's opinion James will provide better protection in the lineup for Manny.
Obscure Fourth Out Rule Helps LA
The Dodgers first run of the game came about on a bizarre double play. With Andre Ethier on third and Juan Pierre on second, Wolf lined back to Haren, who turned and threw to second. Either dashed home while Felipe Lopez walked past second base and tagged Pierre for the third out, but not until Ethier had crossed home. By not touching second nor appealing Ethier's not tagging up before they left the field defensively, Arizona lost their ability to appeal, and Torre's protest was upheld by the umpires.
Pierre Gets Start
Juan Pierre, the reluctant fourth outfielder, was in the starting lineup for the first time this year, giving Matt Kemp a rest. The center fielder went was 1-for-3 with a stolen base before being replaced by Kemp in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kemp doubled into the left field corner to drive home Russell Martin in the ninth. Matt is the only Dodger to collect a hit in every game this season.
Bullpen Delivers Pt. One
Hong-Chik Kuo came on in the eighth with Ryan Roberts on first and made a nice play to foil an attempted sacrifice by Chris Snyder. After striking out pinch hitter Tony Clark with three fastballs, he surrendered a single up the middle to Felipe Lopez. The inning ended when Chris Young grounded into a force play, Furcal to Hudson. Kuo's efforts were rewarded with his third hold of the year.
Bullpen Delivers Pt. Two
Jonathan Broxton dominated the ninth to record his third save, throwing 12 pitches for 10 strikes. Stephen Drew tapped out to second, then Conner Jackson's line drive to center was flagged on a nice running play by Kemp. Mark Reynolds stepped up to the plate and took two balls, then two strikes, all 97 mph fastballs. He swung and missed a 99 mph heater to end the contest.
Scanning the West
The San Diego Padres completed their three game sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 6-1 victory. Chris Young picked up his second victory of the season while reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was saddled with the loss. Meanwhile, a couple of late two-run homers by Chase Utley and Matt Stairs propelled the Philadelphia Phillies over the Colorado Rockies. Former Dodger Chan Ho Park surrendered five runs in 3.1 innings and new Rockie closer Hudson Street took the loss.
The Dodgers host the Giants Monday at 1:10 PM Pacific in their home opener. Chad Billingsley opposes Randy Johnson, who has never lost at Dodger Stadium, going 7-0 in 11 starts with an ERA of 2.08. The parking lot will open early at 10:30 AM to help ease access of what should be a full house. Prime Ticket will start their coverage at 12 noon.
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