The boys went up against one of the best pitchers in the league tonight and got schooled. But they let Brandon Webb get through seven innings on 90 pitches. Same old story, so don’t get me started. But for a pitcher who didn’t need any help, the Dodgers hitters made it awfully easy. Meanwhile, Randy Wolf was off from the start, and the obviously tired bullpen showed signs of wear, even though Joe Beimel retired all four batters he faced at garbage time. Tomko WAS held back from his side session, as I predicted, so he could pitch an inning in lieu of a side. But true to form, he didn’t make it through that inning, walking two batters, giving up three hits and allowing two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. When Grady came out of the dugout to get him, Tomko picked up the rosin bag and heaved it to the ground in frustration. Kind of summed up the Dodgers’ entire evening. … The boys fall to 15-11 and trail the now-first place Snakes by a half-game. Nighty-night.
This one was over before it started, because Webb is totally locked in. Of the 18 outs he has recorded, 12 have come via the ground ball. The Snakes will leapfrog the Dodgers into the division by a half-game. … On the positive side, both Hong-Chih Kuo and Yhency Brazoban had successful rehab outings at Triple-A Las Vegas yesterday. Brazoban will pitch on back-to-back days later this week, after which he MIGHT be ready to come off the DL. Kuo is slated to start again on Thursday and go longer than the two innings he went this time. … D-backs 7, Dodgers 0, middle 7
The Dodgers just blew a scoring chance after Ethier led off the third with a double, breaking up Brandon Webb’s perfect game. Lieberthal struck out, and after Wolf’s grounder to the right side moved Ethier up and Furcal walked, Pierre grounded back to the mound. Dodgers are now 0 for 3 with RISP, and you wonder how many more RISPs they are going to get on a night when Webb appears to be in Cy Young form. Webb has a 3.91 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio since the start of 2002, the best in the majors during that span. Of the six outs he has recorded tonight, six have come on the ground. The National League West’s OTHER Chris Young hit Randy Wolf’s second pitch of the game just over the wall in right-center, and the Snakes have runners on first and second with none out now. D-backs 1, Dodgers 0, bottom 4
Grady had planned before the 17-inning game yesterday to go with Russ Martin behind the plate for the 11th consecutive game. But understandably, the marathon changed that. Lieberthal catches tonight, but everyone else is back in there as usual. As a result, Wilson Betemit and his .133 average (that’s 0 for 11 from the right side) were moved up to sixth in the order.
SS Furcal — 5 for 12, 1 HR against Brandon Webb
CF Pierre — 6 for 17 off Webb
Got home at half past midnight. After a day game. That started at 1:05. Actually, part of that was my fault, as I stayed in San Diego to have dinner with a couple of friends, and it was worth it because we had a nice time. But I slept in a little this morning and managed to get a few menial chores done around the house, and here I am at the old yard, ready to watch some more ball tonight (hopefully only nine innings of it). I’m working on a freelance piece tonight and a couple of other odds and ends the next two days, so my colleague Billy Witz is going to cover the entire Snakes series for the Daily News. But I will be blogging regularly. There is a smoggy haze hanging over the park right now. The field is set up for BP, but nobody is out there yet, although one of the D-backs pitchers is throwing a side session in the visiting pen. … BTW, a couple of you have commented on this blog about the strange blue tape that Furcal was wrapping around his head yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to ask him yet, but I’ll try this afternoon.
Random stuff I didn’t get into tomorrow’s paper. … The Dodgers and Pods drew 130,448 for the series, the highest attendance for any three-game series in Petco Park history, although that history only extends back to 2004. … Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez connected consecutively on the third inning, the first set of back-to-back homers by the Dodgers this year. They came off David Wells, against whom Gonzo is now batting .448 (13 for 29) with four homers and nine RBI, and against whom Kent is now hitting .500 (9 for 18), although this was his first homer off Wells. … This was the Dodgers’ fifth game of at least 14 innings in the past year, and it missed by five days being their sixth (they went 14 at Houston last April 25). It was their second 17-inning game in the past year, as they also went that long last June 17 at Oakland. … The Dodgers had 63 at-bats and fell one plate appearance shy of going all the way through their lineup eight times. For the mathematically challenged, that computes to 71 plate appearances. … After combining to throw 190 pitches in Saturday night’s tidy little two hour, four-minute affair, the Dodgers and Padres combined to throw 458 pitches today in a game that lasted 4:55. … I’m out. See ya tomorrow.
Wilson Valdez reached on an error in the top of the 17th and scored on Brady Clark’s double into the leftfield corner. Brady was 0 for 5 with two walks in the game before that hit. Chad Billingsley, who had been perfect in the 16th, pitched around a one-out error by Ramon Martinez at third and his own one-out walk of Geoff Blum to strike out the final two batters with the tying run on second. Had Martinez made the play, it would have been his 11th assist in the game. … Franken-friar evidently doesn’t have much staying power. While most of us, including regular Friar, were here all the way to the end of this four-hour, 55-minute affair, Franken-friar was never seen after showing off his moves in the fourth inning. … They must have exhausted every piece of music in their collection here today, because now, 45 minutes after the game, they’re playing something by Hilary Duff. With apologies to my teenage daughter, who is such a big fan that she even has the Hilary perfume, that’s the musical equivalent of using pitchers to pinch hit. … Dodgers go to 15-10 and hold onto their half-game over the Snakes for at least one more day. The two teams begin a three-game series tomorrow night on the hill.
… in my scorebook, that is. Each sheet only goes to 14 innings. In all my years as a beat writer, I never had to do it until last season, when I had to do it THREE TIMES. And here we are not even through April yet, and I’m doing it again. … Dodgers have left 14 runners on base, eight of them in scoring position, which is as good a reason as any why I’m not halfway up the 5 by now. … I have to give credit to both managers or the way they have handled their benches in this game. Most of the time in the National League, when you have these marathon games, the game becomes a joke after about the 12th or 13th inning because both benches get emptied and you end up with pitchers pinch hitting and stuff like that. That hasn’t happened today. Grady still has not one, but TWO guys named Wilson on his bench. Bud Black has used everybody, but he hasn’t been forced to do anything weird yet. Nomar just GIDP’d to end the top of the 14th. Heart of the Pods’ order due up, so Bud might have to use a pitcher to pinch hit here. Billingsley coming on, so hold onto your hats. Dodgers 4, Padres 4, middle 14th
These are arguably the two best bullpens in all of baseball. Right now, the hitters on both sides are just props. The show is watching all these relievers match each other pitch for pitch, out for out, at a point when one mistake could be catastrophic. For the Dodgers, Beimel, Broxton, Tsao and Seanez have combined now for 5 2/3 hitless innings, including two perfectos by the unbelievable Tsao, who now has allowed no runs on one hit in 8 2/3 innings since his most recent callup. For the Pods, Doug Brocail, Heath Bell, Cla Meredith and Kevin Cameron have blanked the Dodgers on four hits over seven-plus innings, although Russell Martin just led off the 13th with a single off the leftfield wall. Dodgers 4, Padres 4, top 13
Derek Lowe began the seventh by walking Geoff Blum on four pitches. The same Geoff Blum who came into the day batting .074. He eventually scored the tying run on Marcus Giles’ single, which chased Lowe from the game. Don’t know about you, but I had the feeling at that point the Dodgers were done, and they have done nothing since that point to prove otherwise. Brady Clark led off the ninth with a walk, but Grady went by the book and had Ramon Martinez bunt him over. Hey, I have nothing against the proverbial book, other than the fact that it usually doesn’t work. The next two batters went out quickly, and Clark never got off second. Meanwhile, after the Dodgers got their first two runners on in the 10th, Cla Meredith retired the next two on a fly ball and a popup, at which point he had thrown a TOTAL of six pitches to those first four batters. Russell Martin then grounded out. Dodgers 4, Padres 4, bottom 10