Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1

A lot will be said and written about tonight’s eighth inning. Like whether plate umpire Angel Hernandez made the right call (he did, according to Andre Ethier, who was tagged out). Like whether Andre Ethier made a good or bad slide into the plate. (“You have to pick one side or the other,” Joe Torre said.). Like whether Larry Bowa should have sent Ethier in the first place (“I think so. You have to force them to make not only a throw, but a catch and a tag. I never even thought he would do anything other than that.”) But — and you have heard me sermonize on this subject time and time again — Juan Pierre, whether it was on his own or on orders from the bench, did the Diamondbacks a huge favor when he sacrificed the runners into scoring position. He put them one out closer to getting out of the jam, and he might have even put Bowa in a position where he felt he HAD to send Ethier on that shallow fly ball by Matt Kemp, which was the second out. Yes, Pierre might have GIDP’d (in which case there still is a runner on third with two outs). And no, there is no guarantee he would have gotten a hit or a walk or gotten on base any other way. But IMHO, you have to AT LEAST take a shot at it, instead of GIVING the opposition an out. Believe me, Brandon Webb doesn’t need any gift outs. Dodgers fall to 54-54 and two behind the Snakes. There is an old baseball axiom that every team will win one-third of its games, and every team will lose one-third of its games, and it’s what you do with the other one-third that determines your fate. Well, the Dodgers have now won one-third and lost one-third, with that other one-third all out in front of them beginning tomorrow night. So we’ll see. But even with ManRam coming, they can’t afford anything worse than a split in this series.

How this is all going to work …

… is anybody’s guess at this point, including, apparently, Joe Torre’s. He said he has no idea what he is going to do with all these outfielders. He also said they don’t know what the roster move is going to be and that it doesn’t have to be made until Manny actually gets here tomorrow. I’m guessing they DFA Delwyn Young, but they also could KEEP Delwyn Young and DFA Mark Sweeney if they think DY is going to be a better pinch hitter. But they are already going to have a deeper stable of pinch hitters because somebody (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones) is going to be out of the lineup every night.

Reports: Manny Ramirez to Dodgers

There are several reports, unconfirmed as of yet by the Daily News, that the Dodgers have acquired Boston’s Manny Ramirez in a three-team trade. According to a report by foxsports.com, the Dodgers will give up third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris, who will head to Pittsburgh along with Boston players Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen. Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay would go to Boston.

Dodgers 4, Giants 0

Chad Billingsley pitched his second career complete game and first career shutout, and the Dodgers shut out their opponents for the fourth time in the past five games and the 10th time this season, tops in the National League. Now, it’s on to the showdown, a four-game set with the Snakes beginning tomorrow night. The Dodgers go to 54-53, their first time above .500 since May 27, when they were 26-25. They still trail the Snakes by one game, and that will absolutely, positively change, one way or the other, tomorrow night. … Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 17 games, longest by a Dodgers player since Nomar’s 22-gamer June 16-July 13, 2006. … Billingsley is now 7-2 with a 2.60 ERA over his past nine starts.

Maddux headed this way?

Hey, it worked once, so why not try it again? This is in no way a probability, from what I understand, but it IS a definite POSSIBILITY. We’ll know by 1 o’clock tomorrow, so stay tuned. This is what I just filed for tomorrow’s paper.

By Tony Jackson
Staff Writer
With baseball’s annual non-waiver trading deadline looming at 1 p.m. today, the Dodgers might delve into their not-too-distant past in an attempt to upgrade their already-solid starting rotation. Although no deal was believed to be imminent as of game time on Wednesday night, the San Diego Padres seemed desperate to unload veteran Greg Maddux, with the Dodgers apparently the only possible club to which the four-time Cy Young Award winner, career 351-game winner and future Hall of Famer would be dealt.
The Dodgers acquired Maddux from the Chicago Cubs two years ago today. He responded by going 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 12 starts, helping the Dodgers to the National League wild card.
The Dodgers are said to have some interest in Maddux, but acquiring him probably would make the Dodgers responsible for the remainder of Maddux’s $10 million salary, which would come to about $3.3 million. Thus, a trade could depend on owner Frank McCourt’s willingness to add to his payroll. But such a deal probably wouldn’t require the Dodgers to give up a frontline big-league player or prospect because of the Padres’ eagerness to unload Maddux.
Playing in the Dodgers’ favor is the fact Maddux has an unlimited no-trade clause in his contract and doesn’t want to leave the West Coast.
“His position really hasn’t changed,” Padres general manager Kevin Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He only wants us to focus on West Coast, contending clubs. That kind of eliminates our options, other than one club.”
Actually, it also leaves the Angels as a possibility, but they don’t need starting pitching. And Maddux, who has spent his entire, 23-year career in the N.L., presumably isn’t interested in changing leagues at this point.
Maddux, 42, isn’t having his typical season. He is 4-8 with a 4.29 ERA and went a career-worst 14 consecutive starts without winning, a drought that ended on Monday night against Arizona. But his lack of success this season can largely be blamed on the fact he plays for a subpar club that entered the day 24 games below .500. The Padres have scored a total of 15 runs in Maddux’s eight losses this season.
Maddux would potentially bolster a rotation that presently includes Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda and Jason Johnson, with two-time All-Star Brad Penny due off the disabled list in the next week or so.
It doesn’t appear that the Dodgers will be able to acquire a shortstop — a position general manager Ned Colletti has identified as high on the club’s wish list — before today’s deadline. However, once the deadline passes, almost every player in the majors will be waived, and those who are claimed by other clubs will simply be pulled off waivers by their current clubs. Any player who clears waivers without being claimed can still be traded until Aug. 31.

Dodgers 2, Giants 0

Who knew Jason Johnson would give the Dodgers six shutout innings? This was a big night for him, his first big-league win since May 28, 2006, in his first big-league start since Aug. 18, 2006. Chan Ho Park and Jonathan Broxton finished off the five-hitter, giving the Dodgers’ their ninth shutout win of the sason and third in their past four games. All nine of those shutouts have come at Chavez Ravine. Matt Kemp ran his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest by a Dodgers player since Andre Ethier hit in 16 in a row back in 2006 (this seems to be recurring theme here, does it not?). Juan Pierre stole his 100th base for the Dodgers and has now stolen at least 100 for three different clubs, something only four players in big-league history have done. And the Dodgers climb back to .500 for the second time in three days — and the second time since May 30 — at 53-53. Snakes won, so the Dodgers stay one back in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time since — yes, you guessed it — 2006.