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