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.
That announcement is that the 2009 World Baseball Classic semifinals and finals will be held at Dodger Stadium, with one semi March 21, the other semi March 22 and the final March 23. The press conference will be held on Thursday in the Stadium Club, several hours before that night’s showdown with the Snakes. I’ll be contentedly chronicling the daily doings of the Dodgers in Glendale, Ariz., on those days — that’s right around the time the opening-day roster should be starting to take shape — but some people actually find this WBC thing interesting. MLB president and COO Bob DuPuy will be on hand Thursday, along with several Dodgers officials, broadcasters and players.
Here’s tonight’s lineup. Jones still sitting. Martin also is sitting because Joe wants him to rest for one game before the Arizona series, because he is playing all four of those.
The boys looked for all the world like they were going to come back from a 7-0 deficit and win. But after scoring five in the fifth and one in the sixth — and leaving the tying run on third when Juan Pierre flied out — they never had another baserunner. Pierre’s fly ball began a string of 10 consecutive outs from that point until the end of the game. The last Dodgers’ hit was by, of all people, Andruw Jones, who delivered a pinch-hit, RBI single to drive in the final Dodgers run. Hiroki Kuroda was pretty much awful, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings. In three second-half starts, he is now 0-2 with a 13.11 ERA. Dodgers fall to 52-53, but the Snakes and the Rox both lost, so the standings remain unchanged, at least at the top. Dodgers stay one game back.