Four in a row

…that is, days with the same lineup. Plenty more below:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF (baseball hottest hitter finally qualifies for league leaders)

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Kent, 2B

Ethier, LF

Betemit, 3B

Martin, C

Billingsley, P (second-best ERA among MLB starters since the break)

Here are some game notes to snack on:

STAYING HOT IN AUGUST – The club record for wins in August was 20, set by the 1983 Dodgers. The team is five victories shy of that mark with nine games to go.

LOOKOUT LEADERBOARD – Kenny Lofton has now tallied the necessary amount of plate appearances to qualify for the league leaders and is tied for seventh in the NL with a .319 batting average. He leads the NL with a .350 average (27-for-60) in August and is 10 points short of the club record for highest average in a month. According to STATS, LLC, Lofton’s current mark would be the third-highest by a Dodger in any month behind Pedro Guerrero (.460 in July 1985) and Willie Davis (.459 in August 1969).

NOT JUST THIS SEASON OR THIS MONTH – 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. Miguel Cabrera (.329) and Albert Pujols (.328) are just above Lofton (.327). During that span, Lofton has stolen 46 bases and has been caught just six times for an 88 percent success rate. He also has a .384 on-base percentage since the start of last year.

WILSON TOPS RUSSELL – Wilson Betemit is now 16-2 in his starts for the Dodgers, including victories in his first 14 starts. Russell Martin was 15-2 in his first 17 starts, including a 5-0 mark to start his big league career.

OUTFIELD OF DREAMS – Since the Dodgers’ began their recent hot streak on July 27, J.D. Drew has led the team with 18 runs batted in while playing in 21 games during that stretch. Andre Ethier is second on the club with 15 RBI during that span. Combined with Kenny Lofton, the trio of outfielders is batting .352 (77-for-219) with seven homers, 41 RBI, 38 runs scored and eight stolen bases in the Dodgers’ last 22 games.

SLAMMIN’ SAMMY – Takashi Saito came on yesterday with the bases loaded in a 5-1 game and struck out three of the four batters he faced for his 14th save in 15 chances. Saito lowered his ERA to 2.24, which is the lowest mark of any National League pitcher with 50 or more innings, ahead of Billy Wagner (2.27). Saito joins the Twins Joe Nathan (25/26) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Gonzalez (21/21) as the only pitchers in baseball with 10 or more saves and one or less blown saves.

45 Comments

Saito’s been a godsend, think of were we would be WITH OUT HIM? wow.

This team is playing great ball right now. Even Drew is contributing (no matter how shocking). Lofton has been great and Saito is lights out. If everything stays the same , there’s no reason why we shouldn’t make the post season.

i love this lineup, now the only piece missing is jeff kent, imagine if hes back to his old self, this team would be unstopable.. i hope he gets going fast… hopefully bills is on like his last start, and pitches a gem..

BELIEVE IN BLUE!

Not to sound redundant or negative (both of which I shall), but didn’t anyone notice Jeff’s impersonation of Bill Buckner last night? Just about scared the Blue out of me! Maybe it’s a good thing he is taking a break tonight.

Good lineup, although I would rather see Lugo playing right and 4, 5, 6 being Kent, Ethier, Lugo

I’ll take Drew in right he seems to be waking up and Lugo is no Right Fielder he’s been cold with the bat. I don’t see why were not using Lugo as a late inning replacement for Kent when we have a lead, that’s where I see him helping the ballclub. We need to take game1 tonight to send a message. Lets Go Dodgers!!!!

1) I’m gonna get in on the chat tomorrow, and the first thing I am going to ask is where Ethier came up with “Sammy” as a nickname for Takashi Saito.

2) I think that at a certain point, Julio Lugo needs to qualify as a late inning defensive replacement for Jeff Kent. Not only the error, but another ball got right by Kent that looked playable on the highlight reel of the Giants’ attempted rally.

3) JD Drew has come around a bit this month, putting up a cool .298/.388/.456 line. Jeff Kent is hitting the ball hard (6 of 10 hits this month for extra bases), but not often, as his .233/.283/.488 line would indicate. I would expect to come around soon and put up a killer September.

4) A lot of this month’s success has been due to pitching, but don’t forget the offense. Kenny Lofton has been absolutely huge this month, but don’t forget Furcal, who’s been hitting .338/.410/.500, or Ethier, who this month has a .338/.364/.514 line. Also, Nomar has come back from injury with a .364/.452/.545 line for August. Their success has been the anchor for the offense this month.

5) Grady Little decided to make Chad Billingsley the first starter in the rotation after the all-star break. Since then, he’s been 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA. His walk numbers have improved slightly, though they continue to be troublesome. His strikeout rate, 7.25 K/9, is not only encouraging but just plain good. What I like the most about when he’s on the mound is how he is so good at getting himself out of jams if necessary. I’m looking forward to watching him on ESPN 2 tonight.

mitleid@herzeleid.net

when i saw hillenbrad (sp?) bust a Bill Buckner impression i thought it was funny, but when Kent did it my heart pumped a little faster than i’d like it too.

We take our five-games-under-.500 road record into a stadium where the resident team is six games under .500.

However, we are supposed to be the better team here. This is a heck of an important series. We have the worst matchup, Hendrickson against Peavy, tomorrow. It is very important to win tonight’s game, from that perspective. The Padres have been slumping a little, we can’t afford to be bad-team tonic for them now. They are the team that led the West the longest, time for us to show we’re the real deal, not pretenders.

What does make me optimistic is that I hear the team as a whole say “After what happened to us, from seven games off the lead to four games clear, we realized that things can change that quickly, and you can’t afford to slack up, you need to apply yourself and win”. That’s the attitude that wins ballgames and divisions, not the “still a lot of baseball left” and “well, fortunately it is a weak division” attitudes.

Go Blue!

so does anyone know if andy laroche is ok?.. i hope hes not hurt.. the arizona fall league rosters were anounced, and only scott elbert and chin lung hu are worth mentioning, i was surprised that blake dewitt is not going to take part in it.. hey patiotact, where do u live?

BELIEVE IN BLUE!

Ray where did you find the list of Dodger reps in the Arizona fall league?

heres the link to the rosters

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060821&content_id=120935&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

the dodgers affiliate is the mesa solar sox

Thanks. All Dodger players from Jacksonville. Also surprised Dewitt not there as his bat hasn’t been big at AA. Would like to know how the selections are made for the fall league. Perhaps Josh could fill that in for us.

i heard on Dodger Thoughts, that Tim Stauffer was gonna start over Park because of the blood trans.

josh, can u let us know how the organization decides on who is send to the arizona fall league?.. and yess euhlman, dewitt has been really strugling..i hope he turns it around fast.. maybe **** be a late add to the roster…

BELIEVE IN BLUE!

no park, no problem.

Ray, the Las Vegas Review-Journal website said he left the game in the 7th inning Saturday with a neck and shoulder injury. No comment on how bad it was.

has anyone noticed that when the dodgers are on espn or something that ethier chokes alot.im just sayin.

Stupid *** Drew. He rutinly goes at half speed on D and wines more then he tries on O.

Come on guys, stop being rattled by the late change in opposition starting pitchers and focus on the game! That goes for Bills too, of course.

Drew has played some pathetic defense. Reminds me of that game I saw in DC where he misplayed a leadoff out and let it become a double.

i don’t wanna be negetive here but Drew should have at least showed more effert on that easy catch that he missed.

Well, looks like weWell, looks like we get to see how this team performs under some pressure the next couple days. Hendrickson against Peavy will be very tricky. Pity the offense couldn’t change gears against a guy whose stuff is generally considered a bit short of major league level.

Yet, have to lose games and series sometime …

Maybe, if anything, they threw away focus going to lower-key San Diego from high-key San Francisco. Whatever the reason, the offense is slipping slowly, and this team better shape up – time is getting short in the season!

Since Hendrickson ***** really bad why not take a flyer on David Wells? He cleared waivers and he would be another pitcher with playoff expierence!He also would not cost much ,he would be a 2 month rental and the Dodgers need a lefty starter if they are going to go deep into the playoffs! Billingsley continues to take 1 step forward and 2 steps back he cannot be counted on during the stretch! The Dodgers now find themselves on the verge of losing this padres series with Hendrickson pitching tommorrow.That would **** because you lose all the mommentum built up from beating the giants this weekend!

J.D. Drew is absolutley horrible. That 11 million has been totally wasted. He is a total piece of garbage, both on offense and defense. His error took the life out of the team. Get rid of his worthless butt!!!!!

Frustrating night. We gave this one away. So much for Drew taking it to the next level. Come on princess, at least hustle on defense. What a bum.

When it is all said and done you guys will love J.D.Drew!!!!!!!!!!!!

it will be interesting if grady has the gall to put drew back a clean up tomorrow. hopefully, he needs another one of his patented once a week days off, which would be fine by me. facing peavey tomorrow with the stiff hendrickson on the mound will be quite a challenge if we have an automatic out hitting at the four spot.
By the way, has anyone noticed that we basically traded Mota and LaDuca for Hendrickson? DePo-Dork-sa said Navarrow was the reason he made that deal.

let’s just shake this lost off & luck to tomorrow.

Randy,
Also Duaner Sanchez as he went for Seo and Seo went for Hendrickson. But we did get Penny in the LoDuca/Mota deal.

ray – I’ve mentioned it before, but I live in Virginia. Needless to say, I don’t see a lot of Dodger games broadcasted over here, unless they’re nationally broadcasted. I’ve been to one game at Dodger Stadium, and I saw them once at RFK this year.

davidb – I wouldn’t say Drew is absolutely horrible, but he is rather human. He had the kind of night that Jeff Kent did last night. The difference is that Chad Billingsley didn’t have the kind of game that Derek Lowe had last night, but got bogged down with inefficiency in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. If you throw 77 pitches over 3 innings, on average your next one will be 25, which would have put him at 120 pitches, so that was the right call to remove him. Billingsley’s game score is a 49, while Lowe’s last night was 71.

randy – “By the way, has anyone noticed that we basically traded Mota and LaDuca for Hendrickson?”

No, because we also got Brad Penny, who is pitching pretty well for the Dodgers. Penny is making $5.5 million this year, which is less than what we’re paying Odalis Perez to play for the Kansas City Royals, and he’s still quite young. Besides, we have Russell Martin.

I agree that Hendrickson isn’t that great (although he’s actually better on the road than in Dodger Stadium), but I’d give Depo credit for the LoDuca deal. Mota hasn’t been much lately (and middle relievers come and go). It probably would not have been so painful if we never had to see Jason Phillips.

Thought I’d try my hand and throw in my five points in observation of tonight’s game… plus one bonus forum critique.

1) Billingsley pitched well enough to have won the game, but didn’t get any run support. He still needs to work on his pitch count, getting deeper into his starts, and stop trying to be so perfect with his target. He can still be a positive factor for the teams’ push to the post-season.

2) Where was JD Drew when we needed him the most? Where is his talent? Why does it seem like he loses focus when the game is on the line? These are questions I don’t care to see answered when it’s too late. Grady Little is joined “Till Death Do Us Part” with Drew in the cleanup spot, and it scares me.

3) I really think it’s time for someone to step up and ask Wilson Betemit to put his right-handed hitting to rest. It’s not helping his cause any to be leaving men in scoring position when he’s batting .050 from the right side. He can be a force left-handed and I’m sure it wouldn’t be that much of an adjustment for him to hit from the left side against left handers. Just look at Andre Ethier against lefties. It can be done.

4) It’s time for Hong-Chih Kuo to come up for early middle relief. We desperately need someone who can come in a couple of times a week and put up two innings if a starter has to shut it down after five or six innings like tonight.

5) The Dodgers are 1-45 when trailing after 7 innings. That’s more than just a glaring weakness… that’s a huge weakness. Show me a team that can win in the late innings, and I’ll show you a championship team. It’s time to knuckle down in the late innings guys. Scoring runs early is nice, but the pitching is going to get much better against our hitters really quickly as the season goes into overtime. Runs will be at a premium really soon.

Bonus 6) It’s a shame that Billy Buckner will forever be linked to one ball that he let get away. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for even brining that play up. Bucks was a much better player than that… and you know it. Let it go. Jeff Kent went Jeff Kent last night, and it amounted to a couple of runs. So what. We still won the game. Period. Kent’s allowed a mistake here and there.

As for Billy Buck, he had a career .991 fielding percentage. Translated even further: Bill Buckner played in 1,555 games at first base, and out of 13,901 chances, he made only 128 errors. Yet he is solely remembered for letting a ball get by in one of his biggest games near the end of his career. Does anyone ever blame Calvin Schiraldi or Bob Stanley for giving up those three runs to the Mets, and wasting Dave Henderson’s two run shot in the 10th inning? No. Buckner deserved a better fate.

Dave roberts is one trade that I still don’t know about…wasn’t even a trade really we just kinna gave him to the Bo Sox and HE won that series for them with the SB and score.I was Really Glad to see him get the ring but at the same time sorry to see his glove and speed go.After Maury Wills departs this team and retires I’d really like for Dave roberts to come back as a Running coach.He has been taught by the best and will haunt us til he retires.Can’t Boo him as a Padre and even if he went to the giants still couldn’t because he a flat out a class act. No big contracts no hoopla just flat out fast and agreat base stealer i hope somehow in some time he becomes Hall of Fame.Same as our Current CF K Lo But why wasn’t he taking 2nd with pizzaman behind the plate?Do we now have a leash or was it that the padres have better scouting? Martin got taken but we never tried except the fools play of hit n run with Chad at the plate… Martin can run but pitcher at the plate mustard is gonna be on the ball….I keep hearing about the great scouting the Dodgers have but when it comes to situational play I see them come up short and Especially on the AL teams.If we make it to the playoffs I’d Really like to see the scouts Come thru and Find the weak links to help our guys take the Crown.GL with Hendricks Team gotta Score 6 to stay in the game.SD doen’t have much but ya have to hit em to Win GO Blue!

I hate losing games like last night, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Tough call bringing back Billingsly in the 6th. I would have kept him in and had bullpen ready in case a runner got on base. I would always rather see Chad in there instead of Elmer.

Why does it seem like whenever a pitcher is called up for an emergency start, they always pitch a good game?

Let’s steal one tonight…..

So I didnt see the game, but I have 2 questions:
1 Why can’t we beat this team? they STINK- someone please tell the Dodgers the ‘pods are 7 (seven) games under .500 in games they have played VS the rest of the MLB.

2. How are we not running wild on Piazza? Looks like we didnt have many base runners, but how are we 0-1 in stolen bases when Piazza (love the guy, but still)can’t throw anyone else out all year?!

Kssparkkuhl,
I could not agree with you more when it comes to Bill Buckner! He was my favorite player growing up!Even though i have always bled Dodger Blue i have lived in chicago my whole life so as a young teenager i saw Billy Buck play every day in Chicago!He was a good defensive player and an outstanding hitter! Did you know he never struck 3 times in a game ever? He also has the most lifetime hits off Steve Carlton(25)! Lefty vs. lefty that’s pretty impressive.I could go on about his hitting stats but that would take forever.Besides anybody that is a baseball fan and/or purist knows it was not Buckners fault for the 86 world series,that was only a tied game 6 and the Redsox had a 2-0 lead in game 7 and blew it!

Were you ever able to get pictures of the flags in SF?

The only thing that makes sense about Drew constantly batting cleanup , is that JD must have naked pictures of Grady and Honeycutt doing strange things to each other.

kssparkuhl and mattmathey. Thanks for pointing out how good a player Bill Buckner actually was. Those are stats that I expect most of us weren’t aware of. Just as some of our posts felt Lugo should have gone in for Kent late in the game and it was the manager’s fault that he didn’t, many felt Stapleton should have subed for Bill late in the game. It was the manger’s fault he didn’t. Bill’s error didn’t lose the series. It simply deflected the attention away from the other things that happened to contribute to the loss. I too think it is time that Bill gets a break and the recognition he deserves as an outstanding player. It must have been very demoralizing to have played so well for so long and be defined by that play. I saw an interview some time ago with Bill. Like the pro he is, he accepted the responsibility for his error but has not let it affect his life. Other things, like family, became and are more important. It is interesting how one play can overshadow other causal ones. Another example, I love Kirk Gibson’s homer but also am grateful for Mike Scioscia’s against the Mets. Without his, most likely Gibson’s never occurs.

i know furcal is on a tear of sorts, but his batting style still is quite maddening.

why are you bunting against a rookie pitcher with the 3b already half way in?!?

and why not take a few pitches to show the team what this guy has?!?

and yes, why are the dodgers not circling the bases on piazza?!? i know he has thrown out furcal, at least twice (including 3b), but geeez, they must know he has no arm…

and yes, i agree with the piling on of drew. i just can’t believe he will be here next year. i say eat half his salary and send him to the reds for freel. drew would flourish in the red’s bandbox stadium and we would get a hustle guy who can run and hit.

and please, please switch ethier with drew. drew at six

i can handle. the four hole really belongs to kent. we all know that except grady.

Let me just add a few thoughts to this constant JD Drew commentary. I get as frustrated as anybody with this $11 million man, but you can’t blame Drew for accepting that exceptional deal – so, he is probably “our” $11 million man for the duration of the contract. I too would gladly give him up to somebody else, but that is plain unlikely. Let’s realize, however, that with Grady’s handling he’s played the second most number of games this season and has the most RBIs to show for it. I don’t think the RBI number has necessarily come in needed game winning situations, but we’re probably getting as much out of Drew as he’s capable or willing of giving. I personally think he’s better suited to another spot in the lineup rather than #4. I don’t look for him to produce in the clutch, nor hit with much power anymore. You wish he would show more emotion, enthusiasm, or whatever that would really make you want to root for him. Let’s face it – you pretty much have to take what you get with Drew. That certainly is not $11 million worth, and maybe that’s where much of our disappointment with him lies. There are any number of $10 or $11 million players that I would prefer in his place, but he’s what we’ve got, and we’ll just have to live with it. So, I hope that within his capabilities he will help us to get to the playoffs and maybe advance a notch or two until one of our young guys is ready to take his place.

Yeah yeah we lose who gets blamed? Drew. Leave him alone. It’s a team sport. It’s not all his fault. He’s been doing pretty good in the past few games yesterday just wasnt that great.

kssparkuhl@msn.com

you have very strong feelings about Buckner I respect that.

Im not a big Drew fan, but we shouldn’t **** all over him all the time. He is a Dodger, and hes not THAT bad. I was at Telephone park last Friday for the only loss and I couldn’t believe the rinki-dink Giants fans were BOO-ing Armando in the 8th inning as he was warming up. Embarrassing. BOO-ing your closer as he warms up, that’s just baaaad ju-ju!!! They got what they deserved the next 2 games!

My perception ( which may or may not be correct ) of Drew is that he tends to walk in important situations, leaving the job to the bat behind him ( which is forgivable ) or strike out looking ( which is slightly more annoying ). One thing that can be said for him is that he generally has a very good eye and does not swing needlessly. Hence, I didn’t mind him in the Nr 2 spot. Nr 4 doesn’t cut it for him, I think.

This team is in danger of undoing their great push of the first half of August, and needs to knuckle down seriously against Peavy tonight. I hope every individual on the team has asked himself what to improve and do tonight to help the team, and is going to take the field with the mind to do it. The hitters need to take more pitches. The Yankees are rocking with their plate discipline. Handing the opposing pitcher easy first or second pitch outs is a way to get into a hole offensively. I don’t say don’t swing if it hangs over the plate, but don’t just hack away at the first thing you see either, if possible. Especially good starters, you have to wear them down as much as you can.

Read some quotes from Drew in the media recently – seems he lost that ball in the lights, and he’s also said something to the effect of trying not to get too worked up because dwelling on things may make you lose focus. That’s fair enough and makes me view his pulseless appearance on the field with a bit more tolerance.

My biggest worry about this team is their current inability to come back. You don’t win games by rolling over if you are trailing midway to late in the game. You win it by going out every inning expecting to find a way to get on, to get the runners home. The team needs to snap out of their “leave-it-to-someone-else” mentality, and make things happen late in the game. The 1-45 statistic somebody else quoted is very insightful here. Look at the Giants the other night, look at the rest of the NL West teams. They find ways to put runners on when they are trailing. The Dodgers can’t expect to always score some in the first third of the game or so and then hang on to that lead.

There’s talented bats in the lineup, but they have a lot of work to do.

Up and at them, boys! From now on, every game counts.

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