Greetings from one of my favorite stops on the tour. If you have never been to Philadelphia, it’s well worth the trip just to take in the history of the place. I once took a guided tour of Independence Hall, and they take you right into the room where the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Or was it the Declaration of Independence? All those history classes I took, you would think I should know that. The room has been preserved to look much the way it did then, and the tour guide even claimed that the ink well sitting on the table in the front of the room was the ACTUAL ink well that they used. Even more interesting than that, though, is to walk around in the Society Hill neighborhood and check out some of the old townhouses that are there. Many of them have the dates they were built posted on the outside, and a few of them have been standing since the 18th century. From the press box at Citizens Bank Park, you can see the downtown skyline in the distance, beyond left-center field, and you can very easily spot the 37-foot-high statue of William Penn atop the City Hall spire. Oh, and the cheesesteaks aren’t bad, either. Wonder if the boys sent out for a few of those while they were working on the Constitution (or was it the Declaration of Independence?)
This is a game the boys really needed to win, and they did, finishing their second consecutive 7-3 homestand, and this one wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive at 6-4 because that would have meant it ended with a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rockies. Big game for D-Lowe, a run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven. A big game for the bullpen, too, especially Broxton. He gave up a leadoff double to Ian Stewart in the ninth, suggesting another shaky outing, and later threw a wild pitch. But he struck out the next three batters, and that was that. Dodgers hit the road with a 65-62 mark, with the Snakes hosting the Pods tonight and Brandon Webb on the hill. This is a grueling trip for the Dodgers, not just in terms of length (10 games in 10 days) but in terms of travel logistics. Assuming they get out of here by 5, they’ll get to Philly around 1 a.m. with the time change, and that means it’ll be 2 by the time everybody settles into their rooms. Philly ends with a night game on Monday, then a bus ride to DC. DC ends with a night game Thursday and then a redeye to PHX (why can’t you go East to West on a commercial redeye flight?). The whole thing ends with a day game in PHX, but then there isn’t an off-day before the next homestand either.
Light blogging today. Padilla covering the game, and I got a lot of little stuff to clear from my to-do list before catching the redeye tonight.
The boys lost this one in the bottom of the fourth, when they got runners to second and third with one out and left them there when Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp struck out in succession. Although they still led 3-1 at that point, there was a sense of impending doom after that, and it held true. The very shaky Jonathan Broxton imploded again in the ninth, hitting Matt Holliday to begin the inning, and it led to what hitting a batter to begin an inning almost always does. The Dodgers committed four errors in a game for the first time in more than three years, and it is worth noting that all four of them were committed by catcher Danny Ardoin, third baseman Russell Martin and first baseman Casey Blake — all three of whom were part of an elaborate musical chairs in the starting lineup that all resulted from manager Joe Torre wanting to sit James Loney because Loney was 1 for 15 against Jeff Francis. This is one instance where Torre might have outsmarted himself. … Dodgers fall to 64-62 and are now two games behind the Snakes, the biggest deficit they have faced in two weeks. It all lends an undeniable touch of urgency to tomorrow’s series and homestand finale, especially given that the upcoming, 10-game trip begins with a dicey, four-game series in Philly.
He stepped in a hole while chasing a fly ball for Las Vegas at Fresno last night and left the game with discomfort in his knee. He isn’t playing tonight at Colorado Springs, but he is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow. Joe Torre made sure to point out that Jones was scheduled to sit tonight anyway, even before stepping in the hole.
Pierre also is hitting .481 (13 for 27) for his career against Jef Francis, while Ethier is 4 for 17 (.235). I didn’t notice when I posted earlier that Loney is out, with Martin at third and Blake at first. This is because Loney is 1 for 15 (.067) against Francis, with five strikeouts.
The gap is widening. Pierre now hitting 152 points higher than Ethier (.354 to .202) against left-handed pitchers — although Ethier still has three more home runs against lefties this season than Pierre has against ANY pitcher since the start of last year (that would be ZERO).
Game story in tomorrow’s paper will provide all the reasons why, most of which you already know anyway. But there was a very cool story hidden behind this ugly loss by the Dodgers. Tanyon Sturtze, the veteran reliever whose contract was purchased from Las Vegas on Thursday, finally got into a game — his first major-league game since May 13, 2006, for the Yankees against the A’s. Since then, he has lost most of one season to right shoulder surgery and all of another season when his recovery from that procedure didn’t go as smoothly as he thought it would. He was in camp with the Dodgers in 2004, then was sent out before opening day and traded to the Yankees on May 15 of that year for the unforgettable Brian Myrow. I was new on the beat that year and didn’t arrive in camp until March 4, so I must confess I never made an effort to get to know Sturtze. But I met him for the first time on Friday, the day after he was called up, and he seems like a really good dude. And although he gave up a double to the first major-league batter he faced in more than two years, Troy Tulowitzki, he came back to get the next three guys in order, all on fly balls to the outfield, without Tulowitzki advancing, then took a seat. All in all, it was a triumphant return. Good for him. … Dodgers fall to 64-61 and a game behind the Snakes.
This will be in tomorrow’s paper
By Tony Jackson
History repeated itself on Tuesday. And so did Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.
“We had this conversation two years ago,” Colletti said to a small group of reporters, shortly after the Dodgers formally announced they once again had acquired veteran right-hander Greg Maddux. “He brings a lot more than just (pitching) every fifth day. He brings a lot to the party the other four days. too.”
Colletti was referring, of course, to leadership, and a degree of it that only a 23-year veteran with four Cy Young Awards under his belt can bring.
Two years ago, when Maddux came to the Dodgers in a trading-deadline deal with the Chicago Cubs, Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley, then a rookie, got a chance to learn from Maddux, both by watching him and by listening to him. This time, another rookie, lefty Clayton Kershaw, will get the same opportunity.
“(Maddux) adds more than just taking the ball every fifth or sixth day,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, virtually echoing Colletti. “What he has done in his career, and the way he has done it, I believe it’s going to add a lot, just his willingness to talk to the younger players and his presence.”
The Dodgers acquired Maddux from San Diego, along with what is believed to be about $1.3 million to cover slightly more than half of what remains of his $10 million salary for this season — the Dodgers appear to be on the hook for roughly $900,000. The Padres get two Dodgers minor leaguers to be named, which they will select from an already agreed-upon pool of five players, or they can simply choose to take one player and recoup some of the money.
To clear a 25-man roster spot for Maddux, the Dodgers optioned left-hander Eric Stults to Triple-A Las Vegas. Stults, who was in the majors for the second time this season, had been recalled from Las Vegas just five days earlier and hadn’t appeared in a game for the Dodgers. To clear a 40-man roster spot, the Dodgers moved reliever Scott Proctor from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. That still leaves Proctor eligible for activation as soon as Thursday, although he isn’t expected back anytime soon.
Maddux, who will make his first start for the Dodgers on Friday night at Philadelphia, downplayed his role as a leader.
“I don’t know what all that stuff means,” he said. “I’ll just try to be a teammate and do what I can to try to support guys. The coaching staff is usually good at teaching. I’ll just stay out of their way and let the coaches coach.”
While there is no denying Maddux’s Hall of Fame credentials — he has won 353 career games, including at least 13 in each of the past 20 seasons — there is a question as to how much he has left at age 42. Maddux struggled to a 6-9 record with the Padres this year, although his 3.99 ERA would suggest that has more to do with bad luck than anything else.
“Obviously, I’m not as strong or as durable as I once was,” he said. “It’s not easy for me to go out there and throw 120 or 130 pitches anymore. But you have to go out there and play with what you’ve got and hopefully give your team a good six or seven innings, then let everybody else do their thing after that.”
Maddux, who will be eligible for free agency in the fall, said he hasn’t decided whether to retire after this season.
“I’m not there yet,” he said. “A lot has happened in the last day or two, a lot of changes. I will worry about next year when the time comes.”
The Dodgers optioned lefty Eric Stults to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Maddux, and they cleared a 40-man spot by moving Scott Proctor to the 60-day DL. Stults had been recalled on Thursday and hadn’t made a single appearance in between. Proctor is still eligible to return as early as this Thursday, but he isn’t expected to do so for a while yet. … By the way, Maddux gets No. 36, same one he had two years ago. That was Danny Ardoin’s number, and he just showed up today and had a No. 28 jersey hanging in his locker because no one had even asked him first. “It’s all good,” Ardoin said. “I wasn’t attached to (36).”