From worst to first
On July 26, the Dodgers were in last place, a season-high 7.5 games out of first. In the past 15 days, they have gained 8.0 games in the NL West standings, having won 12 of their last 13 games. Several comments on this blog were among the most positive of the thinkers and it’s paying off for you guys now. Remember, it’s a long season and much like we try not to get too down when we’re losing, we’re trying not to get overly excited about a half-a-game lead on Aug. 11. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but it’s nice to be atop the standings again.
And for those who continue to think Kenny Lofton isn’t pulling his weight, consider the following: With his third hit last night, Kenny raised his average to .309 this season and .323 since the start of 2005. That ranks fifth in all of baseball since the beginning of last year behind Miguel Cabrera (.328), Albert Pujols (.327), Joe Mauer (.325) and Derek Jeter (.323) among players with 600 or more plate appearances during that span. Since the All-Star Break, Lofton is hitting .351 (27-for-77), raising his career average to .300. And in the month of August, his .469 average (15-for-32) is third in the Majors behind Omar Vizquel (.531) and Brian McCann (.500) (minimum 30 PA). Suffice to say, it’s tough to take him out of the lineup right now and Grady has him in there today against a lefty.
Tomorrow, the Dodgers Dream Foundation will host the “Jerseys Off Their Backs” Live & Silent Auctions. If you’re at the game, you can bid on all the autographed game-used jerseys worn by all the players and coaches. The silent auction is on the Club Level behind the Vin Scully Press Box and ends at 2:45 p.m. A post-game live auction will consist of jerseys from several of the team’s All-Stars.
Nomar, 1B (1,500th career hit last night in his 1,152nd career game)
Drew, RF (back in the lineup)
Ethier, LF (14-game hitting streak)
Lugo, 3B (his .347 career mark against the Giants is the 3rd among active players with 75 or more plate appearances)
Hall, C (a night off for Russell with tomorrow’s day game looming)
Meanwhile, the Dodgers lead the NL with a .279 average, six points higher than second-place St. Louis (.273). The team also paces the Senior Circuit in hits (1,114), triples (39) and on-base percentage (.352). The Dodgers have never led the league in hitting since coming to Los Angeles, though they shared the league lead with Cincinnati (.270) in 1970 and were atop the NL in 1955 (.271). The last time their team average was higher was in 1953 (.285).