For those who want a chance to meet James Loney and Matt Kemp, they’ll be signing autographs tomorrow from 12 – 1. Loney will be at a store in Los Angeles at 2333 Sepulveda Blvd. and Kemp will be at one in Torrance at 18201 Hawthorne Blvd.
And, there are still tickets left for tonight for those who want to come down and get their Furcal bobblehead doll. No collection is complete without it!
Here’s the lineup for tonight followed by some notes to whet your appetite:
Nomar, 1B (back at first for the day)
FURCAL TAKES ON BOBBLE HEAD CURSE – On April 26, Nomar Garciaparra went 1-for-5 to become just the second Dodger player to get a hit on his bobblehead night, joining Cesar Izturis who went 2-for-4 on June 1, 2005. Of the four previous games in which a Dodger played on his bobble head night, those players were a combined 0-for-11, as Fred McGriff went 0-for-4 on Sept. 12, 2003, Shawn Green went 0-for-3 on July 18, 2002 and Paul Lo Duca went 0-for-4 on May 31, 2002. Combined, all Dodger players have gone 3-for-20 when honored with a bobblehead.
LEAGUE LEADERS – The Dodgers have 48 victories this season, tying them with the Brewers and Padres for the most in the National League.
PAYING THE BILLS – Since joining the starting rotation, Chad Billingsley has held opposing hitters to a .167 average (9-for-54). That is the lowest opponents’ average in baseball among all pitchers with three or more starts. Source: STATS, LLC
HOME GROWN DODGERS – Of the 31 players on the 25-man roster and the disabled list, 10 were drafted and/or signed by the Dodgers (Tony Abreu, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Kemp, Hong-Chih Kuo, James Loney, Russell Martin, Jason Repko, Takashi Saito and Eric Stults), while three others were drafted in another organization but reached the Majors with the Dodgers (Yhency Brazoban, Andre Ethier and D.J. Houlton). That’s 42 percent (13 of 31) “homegrown” Dodgers on the current club. At this time last season, it was 25 percent (9 of 36); at this time in 2005 it was 24 percent (8 of 33) and at this time in 2004 it was 31 percent (9 of 29).
BEFORE THE BREAK – Over the last 50 years, only 20 Dodger pitchers have won 10 or more games before the All-Star Break including Brad Penny, who has now done it in consecutive seasons. Of those 20 pitchers who have accomplished the feat a total of 46 times, only two have done it while losing one game or less – Penny and Doug Rau, who went 11-1 in 1977.
AND A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM – On this date in 1979, the Dodgers purchased the contract of Fernando Valenzuela from Puebla in the Mexican League and sent him to Single-A Lodi. The following year, he reached the Major Leagues and his career included a Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year Award and a post-playing career as a Dodger Spanish-language broadcaster on ESPN Deportes 1330.
THAT “OTHER” LEFT-HANDER – On this date in 1955, Sandy Koufax made his first Major League start and did not earn a decision against the Pirates. He gave up three hits, eight walks and struck out four in 4.2 innings of work.
ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN – On Sunday, July 15, President George W. Bush will host a White House tee ball game in honor of Jackie Robinson’s 60th anniversary of breaking the color barrier, it was announced today. The game will host teams from the Inner-City Little League of Brooklyn, NY and the Wrigley Little League of Los Angeles, CA, the two home cities of Robinson’s team, the Dodgers. The Dodgers will be represented by Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda, Director of Community Affairs Don Newcombe and Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Howard Sunkin. This will be the 17th tee ball game at the White House and it will bring together some of Robinson’s original teammates and other notable baseball icons.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME – The Dodgers have a 25-18 record at Dodger Stadium, the second-best home winning percentage (.581) in the National League behind the Brewers (.698). Among the Dodgers batters faring better at home than on the road are Rafael Furcal (.313 to .231), Nomar Garciaparra (.324 to .224) and Olmedo Saenz (.323 to .114).
RUNNIN’ RUSS – Russell Martin has 16 stolen bases, an L.A. Dodger record and two shy of the single-season franchise mark set by Con Daily in 1892 (18). The only Major League catchers to steal more bases before the break since 1957 were Kansas City’s John Wathan (26 in 1982), Pittsburgh’s Jason Kendall (22 in 1999), Texas’ Ivan Rodriguez (17 in 1999) and Wathan (17 in 1983).
MEMORIES – On this date in 1933, the first All-Star Game was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The Dodger All-Stars were Tony Cuccinello (2B) and Max Carey, who was a coach.
SECOND CITY – The Dodgers have posted a 45-31 record this season when Jeff Kent starts at second base and a 3-7 mark when he does not. Kent is tied for the team lead with 10 homers and tied for second with 40 RBI, giving him 1,420 in his career, two shy of Jim Bottomley for 60th place all-time. He also has 521 career doubles, one behind Ed Delahanty for 34th place all-time.