JC's Dodger Line Drives | Apr. 15: Walking in L.A.
The Los Angeles Dodgers followed the advice of the '80s New Wave rock band Missing Persons and walked their way to victory over the San Francisco Giants on Jackie Robinson Night in Dodger Stadium Wednesday night.
Key members of Missing Persons were Terry and Dale Bozzio along with Warren Cuccurullo, who all met through working with legendary musician Frank Zappa. Zappa's break through album was "Freak Out", which is what happened to San Francisco closer Brian Wilson (not related to the Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys fame), as he walked in the winning run on a 3-2 count to James Loney.
Honoring Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson meant great things to baseball as well as American society. Just about anyone in America today should be grateful for what he had to endure. In an effort to honor him, Major League Baseball decreed all players and umpires should wear Jackie's No. 42 on Wednesday. While it is proper to honor Jackie's memory, I am not sure this is the correct way.
Is It Really An Honor
I wonder how Jackie would have felt about everyone in uniform suppressing their identity in an effort to honor him. It does not seem to be something he would be comfortable with considering he did not even want his plaque in Cooperstown to reflect his breaking the color barrier. It did not, until baseball saw fit to rededicate a new plaque which did mention that achievement. How far will the deconstruction of Jackie Robinson go in terms of the interest of Major League Baseball, and it's commissioner of questionable repute?
Kershaw Follows Up
On the heels of an excellent outing by Chad Billingsley in the series opener, Dodger phenom Clayton Kershaw delivered a most impressive effort, striking out 13 Giants in seven innings. He allowed only one hit, a homer by San Francisco catcher Benjie Molina, and walked one batter. At 21, he becomes the youngest Los Angeles pitcher to strike out that many and second in Dodger history to Sandy Koufax, who struck out 14 as an 19-year old playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Historical Achievements in Victory
Ask any Dodger fan and they will tell you it's always a wonderful thing to beat the Giants. Dodger fans are also well aware the reverse is true for their Northern Californian counterparts. But the last two games have also seen historical achievements; with Orlando Hudson's cycle, the Dodgers first in 39 years, and now Kershaw's effort which lands with in putting distance of no other than the legendary Koufax. It's so sweet Dodger fans are courting diabetic shock.
The Dodger offense revisited it's struggles of earlier, by not cashing in on it's many opportunities in this game. As a team they were a measly 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12. The bases were left loaded in the first and three times two men were stranded, along with a double play hit into by the Loney.
Ends The Way It Started
James Loney forced home the game-winning run by walking in the ninth inning. He also opened the scoring by forcing in a run in the first inning. He cashed in a third run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, leaving him with a interesting scoreline of two at-bats, no runs, no hits, three RBI, and two walks.
If It Wasn't For Bad Luck
Giant's pitcher Matt Cain continues his string of tough luck. Quality efforts this year have been turned in by Cain, his 2.08 ERA easily is the best by any starter on the team. Yet the last two years of sub 4.00 ERA had resulted in a record of 15-30. In such a litigious state as California, Matt has an excellent case for non-support against his offense.
Bullpen Blues Pt. One
Neither team got what it really wanted from it's relievers in this game. The Dodgers Hong-Chik Kuo hit the first batter he faced, then gave up a single to the second. Ronald Belisario came in and gave up a three-run homer to his first batter, Aaron Rowand, resulting in the first run he has surrendered in his four innings at the Major League level. After closing out the inning, he was replaced by Jonathan Broxton who struck out two of the three hitters he faced and eventually was credited with the win.
Bullpen Blues Pt. Two
The Giants have to be bitterly disappointed to surrender the lead they took in the top of the eighth in the bottom half of the same inning at the hands of their two new bullpen acquisitions. Jeremy Affeldt, after a perfect seventh inning which included two strikeouts, allowed a lead off single to Andre Ethier. He was replaced by Bob Howry, who apparently entered the game with a gasoline can hidden in his glove. A double, sacrifice fly, and two singles later the game was tied.
Dodger third baseman Casey Blake cranked his third home run of the year on an amusing play. His fly ball to left-center hit directly on the top of the wall and bounced into the pavilion, much to the surprise of center fielder Aaron Rowand who seemed to be set to play the carom off the wall. Even Blake seemed a bit perplexed given the look on his face as he returned to the Dodger dugout.
The Hits Keep Coming
Even though many were not cashed in, four Dodger enjoyed multiple hit games. Orlando Hudson collected three singles on the heels of his cycle. Rafael Furcal collected a couple of singles as did Ethier. Matt Kemp stroked a double and a single, the latter driving home the tying run in the eight.
Around the West
Adrian Gonzales smacked his third homer of the season as the Padres fell in New York 7-2. The Cardinals outlasted the D-Backs 12-7 in Phoenix. Behind Jason Marquis, the Rockies topped the Cubs 5-2 in Chicago.
The Dodgers go for a series sweep Thursday as Eric Stults goes to the mound to face San Francisco's Barry Zito. Game time is 7:10 PM Pacific and will be televised in Los Angeles on KCAL channel 9.
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