Everything sounds good, but he isn’t going to be on the field today. Other than that, nothing new so far, and no lineup so far. Dodgers looking to complete their first three-game sweep of the season, but the Rockies have their ace going in Jeff Francis. … Was leaving the ballpark last night, and when I got to Top of the Park, there was a spectacular view of the big fire up in the Angeles National Forest. I stood and watched it for a while, and it really gave you a sense of how big it was. Hope there wasn’t too much damage. The sky is still a little hazy off in that direction, and I’m guessing it’s smoke from the fire rather than smog because it seems to be clear everywhere else. Other than that, it’s a beautiful day at the yard, going to be in the 90s. Perfect day for a ballgame.
They are still awaiting some test results on Kerwin Danley, but apparently he is going to be released from the hospital tonight. Not sure if that means he’ll be on the field tomorrow — I’m going to guess not — but this is really good news considering how bad it looked on the field a few hours ago. Thanks to Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers’ PR chief, for the update.
Good news on Kerwin Danley, the home plate umpire who was immobilized and carted off in an ambulance in the fourth inning when Russell Martin apparently got crossed up on a pitch from Brad Penny and missed the ball, resulting in it hitting Danley in the jaw. He was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary examination, and the fact the word “precautionary” was used is a really good sign. That’s probably as much of an update as we’re going to get. Danley is a Los Angeles native and attended Dorsey High School. … The boys exploded for 10 runs in the first inning, sending 13 batters to the plate. The amazing thing is, Rockies starter Mark Redman STAYED IN THE GAME, wound up pitching six innings and didn’t give up another run. That saved Clint Hurdle from having to wreck his bullpen, and Jose Capellan, called up earlier today from Colorado Springs, ate up the final two innings. … Dodgers got a sac fly and a grand slam, all in the first inning, from Matt Kemp, who had never hit a grand slam and who came into this game 1 for 17 in his career with the bases loaded. After that first inning, when the Dodgers led 10-2, the game pretty much devolved into a fast-paced series of one-two-three innings, and the Dodgers only other run scored on a pinch-hit single by Delwyn Young in the seventh. Brad Penny, who went seven strong innings for the Dodgers, was the only Dodgers player who had two hits in the game. … Dodgers go to 11-13 and have a chance to complete their first three-game sweep of the season starting tomorrow. They actually gained a game in the standings because San Diego beat Arizona. Dodgers now in second place alone, six behind the Snakes.
Was talking to Ned and Rick Monday by the water coolers when DeWitt came over to get a drink. Ned said, “I told you you’d be back.” Blake just laughed. Said he spent one night in the hotel in Las Vegas after arriving at 3 p.m. on Friday, then played in the game that night (he went 1 for 2 with a double, three walks and three runs in a 12-11 win over Portland), after which all the players gathered in the lounge to watch the rest of the Dodgers game on TV. When Nomar got hurt, Lo Bundy, the 51s’ manager, told Blake, “You better stick around for a while,” or at least that’s what Blake said. Anyway, the inevitable call finally came, and here he is, back in the majors after a two-day absence.
Here’s tonight’s lineup
Juan Pierre is taking bunting practice on the field, with Rob Flippo pitching tohim. Chin-lung Hu is down there too, standing between the mound and first base and using his bat to try to stop the balls JP is hitting so no one will have to walk very far to pick them all up later. … Now Hu is getting into the cage himself, also to bunt. … No news so far, but I’m guessing it’s DeWitt back up and Nomar to the DL, based on what it sounded like last night. Padilla covering again tonight.
The winning run scored on Russell Martin’s sac fly, plating Matt Kemp in the bottom of the 13th at 12:19 a.m. But the real hero for the Dodgers tonight was Chan Ho Park, who got over the fact he was passed over again for the fifth starter’s spot and turned in three shutout innings at a point when the slightest mistake could have led to disaster. He stranded two runners in scoring position during that time and fielded his position well, logging four assists. … Andruw left the game with a bruise and tightness in his left calf, Nomar left with a strained left calf. Nomar’s injury sounds serious, which probably means Blake DeWitt is on his way back to the majors. He doesn’t have to stay in the minors the minimum 10 days if Nomar goes on the DL. … Martin went 4 for 4 with two walks and was on base every time he came to the plate except for the last one, when he endd the game with that sac fly. … Dodgers go to 10-13 and pull even with the Rox for third place, seven behind the Snakes. Giants are 6 1/2 back.
He gets the nod over Chan Ho Park. Kuo goes back to the bullpen. … Meanwhile, the club has released veteran reliever Mike Myers, who agreed earlier this month to go to Triple-A Las Vegas until the Dodgers needed. I guess the fact they called up Cory Wade from Double-A on Thursday came across to Myers as a message that the club would never need him, so he requested his release. The Dodgers have a full 40-man roster that doesn’t have a whole lot of guys on it that club officials want to risk losing through waivers, and that’s probably why Myers didn’t get the call. There simply wasn’t a way to get him onto the 40-man. … Padilla is covering the game tonight. I’ll be working ahead on other stuff, but I’ll also be blogging.
Pierre is playing, Kemp isn’t.
It was a two-game split, but when one of those teams leads the division by six games and the other is seven games back, the effect is that the rich get richer. Every D-backs win gives the rest of the division one less day to catch them over the next five-plus months. Billingsley got a tad testy — or as close as the mild-mannered Billingsley ever gets to being testy — when I asked him after the game about the similarities between his fifth-innings struggles in each of his past two starts. In fairness, he DID strike out a career-high 12 tonight, shattering his previous high of nine. He actually pointed out that unlike Saturday against Atlanta, he had actually run into trouble BEFORE the fifth inning tonight. Maybe so, but the effect on the outcome of the game was the same. Saturday, he led 1-0 before giving up four in the fifth. Tonight, it was 3-3 before he gave up two in the fifth, but that was too much for the Dodgers to overcome. Not that it was all Billingsley’s fault. The Dodgers went 2 for 8 w/RISP and stranded seven runners, five of them in scoring position. They also failed to score after loading the bags with one out in the sixth, largely because Matt Kemp struck out on a breaking pitch that broke about a foot off the plate. It also would have been interesting to see what would have happened if James Loney HADN’T curiously tried to tag and take second on Andre Ethier’s sac fly in the fourth, which plated Jeff Kent with the tying run. Not only did Loney almost get thrown out for the final out of the inning BEFORE Kent crossed the plate, which would have negated the run, but even by barely sliding in safely, Loney left first base open so No. 8 hitter Matt Kemp was walked intentionally to bring Billingsley to the plate. Chad grounded out to end the inning. … Dodgers fall to 9-13 and back into third place, seven behind the Snakes. Rockies in for three starting tomorrow night.
Blake DeWitt was eventually going back, and there was no way around. But he took it like a pro, even engaging a group of us hacks for a few good quotes on his way out the door. When we were done with him, we headed out of the clubhouse and ran into Cory Wade on his way in, and he engaged us for a few quotes, too. Said he had no clue this was coming. He was only added to the 40-man this winter, and his best hope for 2008 was a remote chance at a September callup. Well, it ain’t September yet, and he is in the majors. This guy is a strike-throwing machine, and he can go multiple innings at a clip, so he was the perfect guy to cap off what is now a seven-man bullpen. He had six appearances at Jacksonville. The most recent on, on Monday night at Montgomery, lasted just one-third of an inning. Of the other five, the SHORTEST one was two innings, and the longest was four. … Still no decision on a Sunday starter, but I’m guessing it’ll be Chan Ho Park.