History in the making
If you’re sitting in your office right now, wondering why you’re at work and not at Dodger Stadium, I don’t blame you. Suddenly you feel a bit of a cold coming on and you walk, sniffling and coughing, into your bosses’ office and tell them that you’re not feeling well and that you’ll have to go home for the day. Somehow, on your way home, you happen to pass Elysian Park Ave. and before you know it, you’re watching history in the making from the reserved level or pavilions.
Does this sort of thing happen every time we have a day game? I don’t think I really have to answer that question.
Here’s the lineup:
Lugo, SS (he’s now played 2B, 3B, SS, LF and CF in two weeks)
Hendrickson, P (going for his fourth good start in a row)
I just grabbed the lineup card from last night’s game for our archives. If you haven’t seen the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, there’s a great two-page spread about the incredible historical stuff the Dodgers have saved over the years. This is how stuff like that winds up in the archives. Something big happens and someone in the offices snaps a photo, grabs an item or asks the ticket office for some ticket stock. Hopefully it’ll be on display for all of you to see sometime soon at Dodger Stadium. And then there’s Al LaMacchia, who has witnessed history from a scout’s perspective.
Here are a few game notes to keep people updated:
THREE WEEKS AGO TODAY – On July 26, the Dodgers were in last place, a season-high 7.5 games out of first. In the past 20 days, they have gained 11.0 games in the NL West standings, having won six straight and 17 of their last 18 games. That stretch was preceded by a 1-13 stretch. The Dodgers have either had the division lead or shared it for 23 days this season.
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1899 – In the modern era (since 1900), the Dodgers have never had an 18-game span like their current one. The last time they went 17-1 over 18 games was in May/June, 1899 when they were still called the Superbas and won 20 of 21 games. In fact, over the past 20 years, the only NL team to win 17 of 18 games was the 1986 Mets, who went on to win a World Championship. Source: Elias Sports Bureau
TO BE 18 AGAIN – During the last 18 games, the Dodgers have hit .297 as a team (181-for-610) with 99 runs scored for an average of 5.5 runs per game. They’ve been paced by Kenny Lofton (.429), Nomar Garciaparra (.350), Rafael Furcal (.347, 12 RBI) and Andre Ethier (.338, 12 RBI). During those 18 games, the pitching staff has a 2.37 ERA (41 ER/156.0 IP) with 136 strikeouts and 50 walks. Leading the way has been Brad Penny (3-0, 3.15), Derek Lowe (3-1, 2.93), Jonathan Broxton (0 ER/10.0 IP) and Greg Maddux (1-0, 0.90 ERA).
LOFTY NUMBERS – Since the start of the 2005 season, only two players in baseball have a better average than Kenny Lofton among big leaguers with 600 or more plate appearances. Albert Pujols (.331) and Miguel Cabrera (.328) are just above Lofton (.326). During that span, Lofton has stolen 43 bases and has been caught just six times for an 88 percent success rate. He also has a .381 on-base percentage since the start of last year.
HE’S ONE HALL OF AN INFLUENCE – Since Greg Maddux joined the Dodgers, the team’s ERA is 2.13 (32 ER/135.0 IP). Prior to that, the team’s ERA was 4.45 (465 ER/941.0 IP). Overall, the Dodger pitching staff has a 4.16 ERA this year, fourth-best in the National League.