Same old, same old. Dodgers went 1 for 9 w/RISP and the one hit didn’t even get the run home, a single by Luis Maza in the fifth on which Blake DeWitt could only move up one base to third. Two strikeouts and a fly ball later, DeWitt still hadn’t moved, and the Dodgers still hadn’t scored. They have now scored a total of two runs in their past three games, both of them on sacrifice flies. And Jason Repko’s first major-league game since October 2006, when he pinch ran in Game 1 of the NLCS? He went 0 for 5 with four Ks that would have been five Ks if plate ump Gary Cederstrom hadn’t called a balk on Jose Valverde as Repko was striking out for the fifth time. Repko also misplayed a ball in CF, a key moment in a decisive, three-run fourth for the ‘Stros. Eric Stults wasn’t going to dominate forever, and this ballpark isn’t kind to lefties with its short porch in left field. If that got in Stults’ head, he wouldn’t admit it afterward. But that fourth-inning rally did start with a one-out walk to Lance Berkman, who had taken Stults off the ivory-colored wall ABOVE the leftfield paviliion in the first inning. With half the season still to come, Berkman looks suspiciously like the N.L. MVP. … Dodgers fall to 38-44. The bad news is the Snakes won, so the boys fall to 3 1/2 back. The good news is the Giants are getting hammered at home by the Cubs, so they’ll stay 2 1/2 behind the Dodgers.
As Joe Torre said, it could have been a lot worse. JP should be able to start doing some form of exercise in about six days. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp is out tonight, and possibly tomorrow as well, with an infection in his right eye. He couldn’t get his contact lens in this morning. And Angel Berroa, who went 4 for 28 on the homestand, also is sitting. … Finally, an I call ’em or what? Repko leading off.
And hold the phone on what I reported earlier today about Pierre, because he may NOT be the everyday LF. In fact, he may be headed to the DL. Or not. He isn’t flying to Houston with the team tonight, and he will have an MRI tomorrow. If it shows nothing, I’m guessing he’ll fly to Houston on Tuesday and maybe play that night. If it shows something, he’ll probably go on the DL for the first time in his career, and the Dodgers undoubtedly will recall Jason Repko from Vegas and put him in the leadoff spot until Furcal is activated in a week. Torre said after the game that Delwyn Young is the most likely candidate to lead off tomorrow night, when the Dodgers will operate with 24 players, but he didn’t commit to that. Said Matt Kemp is a remote possibility, too. If you didn’t see it, Pierre stole second in the sixth inning, sliding in headfirst as always, and Erick Aybar fell on the back of Pierre’s left knee. Pierre rolled around in agony for a few minutes, then tried to walk it off, then tried to talk Torre into leaving him in the game, but that wasn’t going to happen. … Dodgers fall to 38-43 and stay 2 1/2 behind the Snakes. Meanwhile, the Giants are creeping up again. They’re just 2 1/2 behind the Dodgers, whom they will host for three starting Friday.
Torre just told us this morning, although he said Rafael Furcal would probably go back into the leadoff spot when he comes back, with Pierre dropping to second.
“(Pierre) has been that consistent guy for us every day, and he refuses to acknowledge any bumps or bruises, even though you know he has them,” Torre said. “He has been great. Juan is going to be our left fielder, and Andruw will be our center fielder.”
That means, of course, that Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp will compete for playing time in RF. Although Torre wouldn’t acknowledge that was part of the plan, it is apparent that those two benefitted from pushing each other early in the season. Ned Colletti is a big proponent in the value of having players compete, his thinking being that it brings out the best in the players doing the competing.
This morning’s other news is that Chan Ho Park is out of the rotation. It isn’t that Joe is backing off on his plan to go with a six-man rotation. It’s just that it won’t start until Brad Penny comes off the DL, probably on Saturday at San Francisco, when he is tentatively slated to pitch UNLESS he suffers some sort of setback in his simulated game on Tuesday at Houston. Yes, Chan Ho has had two really good starts in a row. But they weren’t going to go with seven starters, so somebody was going to have to go sometime, and Joe wants Chan Ho as a long reliever, a role he has been really good in all year.
Here’s today’s lineup