This makes five in a row against the Pods and 20 of 29 since the start of last year. Dodgers might have taken this one in 11 if not for a baserunning gaffe by Russell Martin, who inexplicably tried to steal third on a 3-1 pitch to Jeff Kent with one out. Kent walked, but Martin was thrown out easily. Took them right out of the inning. And then, Brett Tomko took them right out of the game. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Hits to three of the first four batters he faced (the guy he retired was bunting). Gives new meaning to the phrase GAME OVER. Dodgers fall to 45-36 and two games behind the Pods (and still a half-game behind the D-backs). … Oh, by the way, Houlton isn’t going to start. He’ll work out of the pen. Hendrickson is going to take Kuo’s spot, but it only comes up one more time between now and the All-Star break. After that, it could be Mark Buehrle or some other person currently wearing the uniform of another club.
Hong-Chih Kuo was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas a few minutes ago, and D.J. Houlton was recalled from Vegas. That clearly means Houlton will start on Wednesday night against the Braves. It will be his first major-league appearance since 2005 and his first major-league appearance since Paul DePodesta, the former Dodgers GM who selected Houlton in the 2004 Rule 5 draft from Houston. D.J. apparently, judging by his minor-league numbers, is a much better pitcher now than he was then. We’ll find out soon enough. He has been on the 40-man roster since the day the Dodgers picked him up, essentially gathering dust, but that also made him the easy guy to call up when the club had exhaused all other options for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation.
According to Ken Rosenthal, reporting on the Fox national pregame show today, Mark Buehrle’s contract extension with the White Sox has fallen through because the club wouldn’t give him a no-trade clause. Kenny seemed to indicate that the Dodgers are the team hot on the trail to acquire left-hander. Not sure where this is going, but I’ll update when there is something to report. … Light blogging today, by the way. Jill Painter is covering the game, and I’m working on a fairly big project that I’m hoping to complete in one day, so if I don’t post the lineup or in-game updates, that’s the reason. I promise I’ll get back to all that stuff tomorrow.
Dodgers made a furious attempt at a comeback, scoring three in the eighth and one in the ninth. Trailing by one with two outs and the bases empty, Jeff Kent then doubled off Trevor Hoffman. But Gonzo then fouled out to the catcher, capping a night when he went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and zero balls hit out of the infield, and with that, the Dodgers had dropped six of 10 to the Pods this year. The Dodgers banged out 14 hits, the eighth time in their past 11 games that they have had at least 10. But they again stranded too many baserunners, eight of them in all, seven in scoring position and four at third base. The good news is that the Dodgers didn’t go in the tank after the Pods hung seven on Hong-Chih Kuo. The bad news is, they ran out of outs. Clash of the titans tomorrow, Penny vs. Peavy. Until then, the Dodgers are 45-35 and back to third place, a game behind the Pods and a half-game behind the D-backs.
In all the excitement today, I forgot to post this earlier. The Dodgers announced before the game that Marlon Anderson had been designated for assignment to make room for Chin-hui Tsao, giving the Dodgers a 12-man pitching staff. Probably the right move, but too bad about Marlon. This is one of the classiest guys in the game, and I can’t imagine he’ll stay in the organization and go play in Las Vegas. Wherever he goes, here’s hoping he does well. … Nothing has changed since we last spoke … and it doens’t look like anything is going to. Padres 7, Dodgers 2, bottom 5