April 2007

Today's lineup

Sorry I was M.I.A. over the weekend. Seems to have worked out without me yesterday. Here’s the lineup for today, with a little bit of a rest for Russell.

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzalez, LF

Betemit, 3B

Ethier, RF

Lieberthal, C

Wolf, P

Today's game in SD

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Valdez, 3B

Hendrickson, P

Time to snap out of the funk. It’s a speed bump in a long season, but no one likes going over them slowly, right?

Tonight's game

It’s the start of in-stadium All-Star balloting tonight so if you’re coming out, punch out your favorite Dodgers (not literally). Or you can vote online up to 25 times.

Also, in case you didn’t see it in the comments section of the last post, the three-second radio delay on KFWB is gone, thanks to new leadership at CBS Radio. I know many of you have posted comments about that and I’m glad that we could all work together to get it fixed.

Here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Betemit, 3B

Ethier, RF

Penny, P

Tonight's lineup and community efforts

Most of you probably saw a lot of references to Derek Lowe’s new commitment to the community, as it was covered in several media outlets yesterday, including the L.A. Times, Riverside Press Enterprise and dodgers.com. Derek and the Dodgers Dream Foundation have teamed up with Mattel Children’s Hospital on several events, including the annual bowling tournament on July 30. Coincidentally, he’s also playing in the annual golf tournament and there are still a few foursomes left if you’re interested in coming out and playing a round with some of the current and former Dodger players and coaches. Just call 323.224.1413 for more info.

But I certainly don’t want people to think that just because Derek’s meet and greet with the kids from the hospital yesterday got all the ink that he’s the only person doing stuff this year with local community groups. A bunch of players are doing this, including Rafael Furcal, whose group starts tonight and you can read more about it here.

Among the others with personal community initiatives that they have started are tonight’s starter, Randy Wolf with the Children’s Miracle Network, Juan Pierre with the Blazer Youth Center, Manny Mota at high schools throughout Southern California and several others that have yet to be announced, including programs from Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson, Brad Penny, Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez, Jason Repko and several others. It’s been very refreshing to see so many guys volunteering their time and money for good causes, so be on the lookout for more about the other programs in the near future.

Anyway, as for tonight, here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzalez, LF

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Martinez, 3B

Wolf, P

Tonight's lineup

Same as earlier in the week. Sixth time Grady has used this one in 20 games. We didn’t use the same lineup six times last year until Aug. 28. Nice to see a "little" continuity.

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzalez, LF

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Betemit, 3B

Lowe, P

Last night's event

Thanks to all of you who came out last night. I hope you agree, but I thought the shows were really great and definitely showcased some of the fantastic programming that FSN Prime Ticket is providing the fans. Having Luis, Raffy, Manny, Ned, Dave Jauss and others there also seemed to make the event even more special.

For those of you who got to chat with those guys, you realize just how down to Earth they both are and Tony Jackson’s story in today’s Daily News definitely shows that side of Luis. I can definitely attest to the fact that he’s among the best people I’ve ever met, inside or outside of baseball.

And for the person who mentioned how much they liked the game notes, you can actually sign up to get them from MLB’s Press Pass. It’s free and there’s a ton of info you can get by signing up.

Don’t forget about De Jon’s Waton’s chat today at 2 p.m. PT

Lineups to come later in the day.

Live chat tomorrow

I know a lot of you guys keep up with the minor league system, so don’t forget to ask your questions to De Jon Watson tomorrow at 2 p.m. PT.

And I can’t remember if I mentioned that Russell Martin is having fans pick out his music when he walks up to the plate, but you can vote on that, too, at the Fan Forum.

All is not lost…

Despite dropping the finale of a series for the first time this year, we did get some good news after the game. Jason Schmidt’s wife, Bethany, gave birth to the couple’s third child today – son Madden. According to Jason, they have the same hair.

Enjoy the day away from baseball for those of you not coming tomorrow night to the FSN Premiere event.

Today's game

Here’s today’s lineup, followed by some notes for the game.

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Saenz, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzalez, LF

Martin, C

Clark, RF

Valdez, 3B

Tomko, P

BUCS STOP HERE – The Dodgers have a 35-11 mark against Pittsburgh since 2001. Los Angeles has won 26 of its last 33 games against the Pirates and seven of the last nine meetings.

SLAM THEM HOME – Last night’s walk-off grand slam by Russell Martin brought back memories of Steve Finley’s homer with the bases loaded clinched the NL West for the Dodgers on Oct. 2, 2004. Among those in uniform that day were Dodger coach Manny Mota, then-manager Jim Tracy and coaches John Shelby, Jim Colborn and Jim Lett and Dodger infielder Olmedo Saenz. The starting pitcher for the Giants that afternoon was Brett Tomko while Yhency Brazoban, who is currently on a rehabilitation assignment, earned the victory by the same score of 7-3. Last night’s homer was Martin’s first career grand slam and the 11th walk-off slam in franchise history, joining Hack Wilson (5/14/33), Dolph Camilli (8/23/42) Jackie Robinson (6/24/48), Tommy Davis (6/2/61), Davey Lopes (7/6/78 and 9/2/79), Mike Marshall (9/7/83), Dave Hansen (6/28/93), Finley (10/2/04) and Nomar Garciaparra (9/24/06).

EXTRA-INNING YARDWORK – Last night’s game-winning shot was the seventh extra-inning grand slam in Dodger franchise history. The only others to accomplish the feat previously were Dolph Camilli (8/23/42), Arky Vaughan (7/6/43), Tommy Davis (6/2/61), Davey Lopes (7/6/78), Mike Marshall (9/7/83) and Steve Finley (10/2/04). Each of the grand slams came in the 10th inning with the exception of Lopes, which was hit in the 11th inning.

BIG TIME RELIEF – The entire Dodger pitching staff has gone 58.1 consecutive innings without allowing a home run, led by a bullpen that has allowed just three in 58.1 innings this season. With 4.0 scoreless innings last night, the ‘pen has an ERA of 2.16 (14 ER/58.1 IP), which is good for third in the National League. The group has struck out 44 batters and is led by set up men Joe Beimel and Jonathan Broxton and closer Takashi Saito. The trio owns a combined 0.66 ERA (27.1 IP/2 ER) with six saves and 23 strikeouts in 25 outings. Broxton has not allowed a run in 15 consecutive outings dating back to Sept. 20, 2006, striking out 16 and walking just one during that span. Saito has converted 16 consecutive save opportunities dating back to 2006, which is the third-longest active streak in baseball behind Mike Gonzalez (24) and Billy Wagner (21).

BRADY’S BUNCH – Brady Clark’s run-scoring single on Wednesday was the 200th RBI of his career. He has started out the year on fire, batting .368, logging seven hits in his first 19 at-bats.

BIRTHDAY BOY SET TO CHAT – The Dodgers would like to wish a happy 41st birthday to De Jon Watson, the club’s Director of Player Development. Watson, a graduate of Santa Monica High School, played baseball at West Los Angeles Community College before playing in the minor leagues, will host a live web chat with Dodger fans on Tuesday at 2 p.m. PT on dodgers.com.

THREE IS THE KEY – So far this season, when the Dodgers have scored more than three runs they are 10-0 and when they have allowed three runs or less, they are also 10-0. There has yet to be a Dodger game this season in which both teams have scored more than four runs.                           Source: Dodgerthoughts.com

SWASHBUCKLING – Despite starting the series 0-for-2, Olmedo Saenz has enjoyed tremendous success against the Pirates in his career. Last year, Saenz batted .524 (11-for-21) with three homers and nine RBI and his career numbers are .449 (22-for-49) with six homers and 21 RBI. Saenz will start at first base today as Nomar Garciaparra gets a day off.

A LITTLE STABILITY – Last night the Dodgers used the same lineup for the fifth time in the first 18 games this season. Last year, the Dodgers did not use the same lineup five times until Aug. 12, which was game No. 117. Up to that point, Grady Little had used 90 different lineups during the season. The magic lineup that appeared for the fifth time on Aug. 12 was Rafael Furcal (SS), Kenny Lofton (CF), Julio Lugo (2B), J.D. Drew (RF), Andre Ethier (LF), Wilson Betemit (3B), Russell Martin (C) and James Loney (1B).

A SHORT STAT – Today’s game features two of the top-hitting shortstops in the NL over the past two-plus seasons. Since 2004, only Jimmy Rollins (597) has more hits than Rafael Furcal (530) and Pittsburgh’s Jack Wilson (513).

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST – The Dodgers have yet to lose a series finale this year. In the final game of a series, Los Angeles has posted a 6-0 record. Los Angeles has won five of its seven series this season.

Unsung heroes

Though most people don’t realize it, the MVPs yesterday in addition to Randy Wolf were the Dodger Grounds Crew, which somehow managed to get the stadium in very good playing condition despite rain all day. The game was played and the team pulled off another win and everyone went home happy.

Today’s lineup is the same as yesterday with Penny in place of Wolf. He’s looking to become the first Dodger starting pitcher to begin the year 4-0 since Kaz Ishii went 6-0 in 2002.

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