Andre Ethier is now halfway to Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio’s iconic 56 game hitting streak. For the second consecutive night the hit that extended the streak was on a ball that hit off a defenders glove and didn’t leave the infield. Ethier’s single capped a 3 run inning for the Dodgers that saw them defeat the Cubs 5-2.
Ethier summed up getting halfway to the 56 game mark by saying with a grin,
"“Only halfway? It’s nothing to get too caught up in or excited about right now. There’s still a long way to go. I’m more happy about Kershaw getting back on track and us bouncing back after two tough losses to San Diego. It’s neat to be a part of this and keep it going, but I’m not going up there every at-bat just to extend the streak. I want to get my knocks and do my damage offensively. I mean, if the streak wasn’t going on, I’d be just as [upset] if I got out no matter what the situation was.”"
The Dodgers actually allowed their first run of the season during the first inning of a home game tonight, but it didn’t take them long to respond. They scored 2 runs in the second inning when Matt Kemp singled, stole second and came home on a double off of the right field wall by Juan Uribe.
Rookie Ivan DeJesus Jr., whose father played shortstop for the Cubs and Dodgers and is now the Cubs third base coach, drove in Uribe with a single inside the first base line for his first career RBI. IDJ should have been credited with a double but an idiot fan reached over from his front row seat and grabbed the ball. The Dodgers were fortunate that the umpires allowed Uribe to advance 2 bases while they made IDJ stop at first.
The Dodgers failed to get another hit until the fifth inning, when Rod Barajas led off with a double off of the left field wall followed by some controversy. Clayton Kershaw struck out on a pitch in the dirt and as he attempted to run to first base the ball clearly hit his bat and bounced away allowing Kershaw to reach base. Cubs manager Mike Quade argued to no avail that Kershaw should not have been awarded the base, and the Dodgers caught a break.
Don Mattingly then gambled by attempting a squeeze play with his slowest runner, Barajas, who was thrown out at home when Jamey Carroll bunted the ball right at pitcher James Russell who easily threw out Barajas. However, Dodger rookie Jerry Sands bailed out his manager by lining a ball into the right center field gap scoring Kershaw and Carroll.
Sands had previously missed a home run by inches as he was robbed by a great catch by Marlon Byrd. The stage was now set for Ethier who delivered with his seeing eye single to keep his streak alive and score Sands.
Clayton Kershaw allowed a 7th inning home run to Alfonso Soriano, but managed to pitch 7 solid innings on a night when he clearly didn’t have his best stuff. Kershaw summed up his outing by giving credit to the Cubs,
"“It was more of a testament to their aggressiveness. I mean, it’s good not to walk anybody and make them beat you, especially with a lead. Tonight was a battle. I didn’t really have anything to put guys away with. It wasn’t great, but I got the job done. And we got some runs early, which was nice.”"
The Dodgers bullpen saved the fans from their usual drama by retiring all 6 batters they faced, as both Vicente Padilla and Jonathan Broxton pitched a 1-2-3, 8th and 9th innings respectively. It was Broxton’s first 1-2-3 save since April 1, the second game of the season, and a nice break for Dodger fans who have seen more than their fair share of bullpen struggles.
The win ended the Dodgers 2 game losing streak and was a welcome respite to all of the off field distractions the club has faced the past few weeks. For once it was the performance of the players on the field that made the headlines and not their front office mess. Let’s hope this trend continues.
- Ethier is batting .393 during his streak with three homers and 17 RBIs, a stretch in which the Dodgers have gone 13-15.
- Dodgers rookie Ivan DeJesus got his first career RBI which will hopefully earn him more playing time.
- The Dodgers have scored 32 runs in four games against the Cubs this season, and 3.23 runs during all other games.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has established the James Loney jar in an effort to get his struggling first baseman going. Loney must put a dollar in the jar each time he hits a fly ball to left field, and Mattingly must contribute a dollar each time Loney hits a line drive to left. It’s sad that it’s come to this with Loney who up until the all-star break last year was one of the Dodgers most reliable hitters.
- The fan who interfered with the ball in play hit by IDJ was escorted out of the stadium, an expensive mistake as he managed to enjoy a whole 2 innings from his expensive front row seats. Keep an eye out for the culprit as one of Lasorda’s Lair Twitter followers luvthedodgers23 has promised a photo of the fan for us all to make fun of. He also noted that he may have been a Cubs fan as he was sitting by a bunch of Cubs fans, which may help explain his actions, no offense Cubs fans.
Chad Billingsley will look to make it two wins in a row for the Dodgers as he faces off against Ryan Dempster of the Cubs.
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