April 2012

Chipper Jones Is Clutch For Braves Over Dodgers

 

LOS ANGELES – Thanks to a Atlanta Braves third baseman celebrating his 40th birthday with a home run and a win on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to rebound and grab a good win in the final game of the three games series.

It was a very solid pitchers duel between the Dodgers Ted Lilly and the Braves Brandon Beachy as neither one gave any runs in the first three innings. Lilly ended up giving up the first score, after Freddie Freeman doubled to right, Brian McCann grounded out which advanced Freeman to third base. Dan Uggla blasted a single to left, that caused Freeman to score, Braves were up 1-0.

Just an inning later with Tony Gywnn Jr. and A.J. Ellis on third and second base, Dee Gordon grounds out to second, allowing Gwynn to score and tied up the game.
In the bottom of the sixth in the rain, Matt Kemp bashes a solo home run, his 10th on the season, that gave the Dodgers the lead.

Kensley Jensen came in for Lilly who pitched an outstanding game, seven strong innings.

Jensen set it up for closer Javy Guerra to do what he does best, get three outs and the victory for the Dodgers. Not so fast, as the ninth inning proved to be the game clinching inning for the Braves. Freeman singled to right to get on base. McCann reached on an infield single that ricocheted off of Guerra’s face, to advance Freeman to second base. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and the Dodger Training staff came to the mound to check on Guerra who continued the inning.

Next batter Dan Uggla hit a single to right center, Freeman scored and advanced Wilson to third base. Chipper Jones had a big clutch RBI single to right that scored Wilson, and moved Uggla to third base. Jason Heyward also hit a key single to left that caused Uggla to score and at that point, it was Jason Lindblom time as Guerra was replaced in the inning by Mattingly.
Lindblom ended the inning while getting Juan Fransisco to ground out into a double play. The Dodgers had one last inning to at least tie or win the game and take the series lead.
However that wouldn’t happen on this night, as reliever Craig Kimbrel struck out A.J. Ellis, and got Gordon to ground out to third base to end the game, as the Braves stole two out of three in this series from the Dodgers 4-2.

Chipper Jones left Dodger Stadium for the last time with more great memories to add to his collection.

Lilly threw 79 pitches, allowing a run and three hits, while Beachy allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, ironically a year ago he picked his first victory at Dodger Stadium.

Chipper Jones talked about his final trip at Dodger Stadium “I mean, that’s what you play the game for moments like that. You don’t know how many times I’ve rehearsed that very moment in my backyard growing up, only I was a Dodger.” He also added “It’s been a storybook season so far, it’s been one highlight after another.  I’m savoring each and every one of them because you never know when the last one is going to come. To have revered this ballpark and this organization the way I did as a kid, and to leave it here tonight like this, it’s awfully special.”

Dodger first baseman James Loney spoke about the toughness of closer Javy Guerra “That just shows you how tough he is and how much he wants to be out there and compete. And you want a guy like that on your team! He has the mentality of a closer. You just shake off the last bad day and come out ready for the next one.”

*Jonny Venters picked up the win for the Braves as Guerra (1-3) was handed the loss for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will have to indeed shake this loss off and prepare for the Washington Nationals who come to town on Friday for a weekend series, as they prepare to win the next three games.

Dodgers Dominate At Home Against Braves

 

After a 3-3 road trip coming off a terrible outing on Sunday in Houston, the Dodgers look to return to familiar territory, Dodger Stadium where they have done their best work.

Chris Capuano had the responsibility of keeping the winning streak alive against the young Atlanta Braves’ Jair Jurrjens.

Jurrjens allowing Dee Gordon to hit a single to center, which later allowed him the opportunity to steal second base, was a not a great way to start off the game. Mark Ellis flew out to right field, Matt Kemp was walked. Things didn’t get any better for Jurrjens as the reliable Andre Either hit a big single to center, that caused Gordon to score.

Capuano at the top of the second inning gave up an unnecessary home run to David Ross to tie the game at 1-1. Capuano would settle down and concentrate to get out of the inning unscaved, however the Dodgers would need run support and fast. James Loney who seems to be getting in stride hit a timely double into center, and Juan Uribe hit a single that caused Loney to score. The Dodgers weren’t done as A.J. Ellis singled to center, Uribe scores as they continue to pile on runs.

The reign of runs didn’t stop in the bottom of the fourth inning Loney has another timely hit, Uribe singles to advance Loney to third base. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had seen enough and called in reliever Livan Hernandez for Jurrjens. Which didn’t prove to be any better, as Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to left, Uribe scored to give the Dodgers the huge 5-1 lead.

In the top of the eight inning, Josh Lindblom relieves Capuano who pitched seven strong innings on six hits, and five strikeouts. The first batter Lindblom faced was slugger Dan Uggla who hit a home run deep to right field that cut the lead 5-2. But the Dodgers would soon answer back as Uribe would hit a huge bases loaded single, sending Kemp and Either in to score. Uribe tied a career high with four hits and drove in three runs on the night for the Dodgers, a magnificent night by the third baseman.

Dodger reliever Scott Elbert came in to close out the game and pick up the victory as the Dodgers took the first game of this three game series 7-2.

Juan Uribe talked about his stellar play against the Braves Monday night “I was hurt last year, but I wanted to play and show the guys I could play and help the team. For me, it was just important for us to win the game.”

Chris Capuano picks up the victory to go 2-0 on the season and spoke about his performance “It was a battle, but luckily I had a pretty decent cutter working, and that helped me out in that last situation. I was struggling with my command early, and I wasn’t able to get those calls on the inside of the plate to right-handers.”

Jurrjens pitched terribly, gave up five runs and nine hits in three-plus innings of work. Surprisingly this was the first time Jurrjens failed to record a strikeout in 42 starts.

The Braves all star third baseman Chipper Jones sat out of the game nursing a sore left knee, on the eve of his 40th birthday, but is expected to be in the line up on Tuesday. He announced earlier last month that this will be his final season with the  Atlanta Braves. He’s had an outstanding career that spans 19 season, that included him being the 1999 NL MVP.

Dodgers Continue to Ground Astros

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers look to continue their winning ways as one of the hottest team in Major League Baseball, as ace Clayton Kershaw looks for his first win against the Houston Astros starter Kyle Weiland.

Kershaw started out solid as usual, allowing no runs as he continued to focus on the mission at hand, a victory. However Weiland had his work cut out for him, starting with giving up a solo home run to an offensively awaken James Loney.

Weiland continued to hold his own against Kershaw, even striking out Kershaw at an at bat. Weiland on misguided bunt play, allowed Dee Gordon to get on to first base in the top of the sixth inning. Then Gordon took off for second, but thanks to bad guided throw that resulted in an error, allowed the speedy Gordon to make it to third base. Can we say deja vu all over again, as slugger Matt Kemp bashes another two run home run as he did yesterday.

Kershaw continued to dominate, the same could not be said for Weiland as he was replaced in the eight inning by Rhiner Cruz. Cruz immediately walks AJ Ellis, Kershaw bunted into a double play that got Ellis out at second base. After walking Adam Kennedy, Cruz was relieved by David Carpenter who loaded the bases with a Matt Kemp walk. And of course Andre Either cashes in on single to right, allowing Gordon and Kennedy to score 5-0.

The Dodgers bullpen has had trouble throughout the young season, showed it struggles, as Mike MacDougal relieved Kershaw, only to give up a center field single to Justin Maxwell. After that walking both Jordan Schafer and Jose Altuve, which made Dodger manager to make a quick personnel change bring in Kensley Jensen to finish out the inning. By then the damage had been done after walking J Martinez, Maxwell scored to avoid the shutout. Jensen was able to get out of the inning with out any further runs to set up Jamey Wright to close out the ninth inning and grab the save and victory for the Dodgers 5-1. Kershaw finally gets his first victory of the season, as Kemp has homered in three consecutive games.

Kershaw spoke about his great outing “I didn’t have great fastball command tonight. I struggled with my fastball. I didn’t exactly know where it was going all the time. I was fortunate to get some outs here and there. It was a battle tonight.”
Kershaw struck out nine and allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings for his first win this season after experiencing no decisions in his first three games of this year.

Weiland pitched seven innings, struck out six with two home runs. Weiland talked about that monster home run by Matt Kemp “I did the exact opposite of what we wanted, coming out there in that situation, you can’t give him anything close to hit. I dropped my elbow a little bit there and the pitch just spun up there.”

Dodgers Continue Their Winning Ways in Houston

A new city, a new series, and a great way for the Los Angeles Dodgers to get back to their winning ways, in a weekend series with the mediocre Houston Astros.

Coming off a great win against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers send Ted Lilly to continue their winning ways against Astros’ pitcher J.A. Happ.

Happ started out very shaky, as Justin Sellers singled to right, however M Ellis flew out to left for the first out. Matt Kemp who has been playing out of this world since the season began, connected on a deep two run home run to give the Dodgers the 2-0 advantage. In the third inning, the Dodgers continued their offensive slaughter as Ellis singled to center and after walking Kemp, Happ was able to get Juan Rivera to ground out into a double play which got Kemp out at second. Ellis moved to third base, Andre Either smashed a single to center, allowing Ellis to score.

Lilly was magnificent on the mound, throwing a variety of pitches, that the Astros line up simply could not get into rhythm offensively. Until the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs, Brian Bogusevic singled to center and later stole second. Chris Snyder singled to left, that caused Bogusevic to score, ironically on the third out Lilly got Happ to fly out to third to end the inning.

Lilly remained focused, allowing no more runs, and was replaced in the eight inning by Kensley Jensen. Jensen pitched a solid inning which set the stage for closer Javy Guerra who held on for his seventh save to capture the victory as the Dodgers defeat the Astros 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.

Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp who not only hit a home run, but had three hits and two RBI’s talked about his team’s success “We’re having fun, I think as a team we’re having fun. I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to help us win games now.”

Lilly had another solid outing as he allowed four hits, and one run in six innings of work got his second victory of the season. Happ allowed eight hits and three runs while walking four in six innings.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spoke very highly of the new bash brothers Either and Kemp “We talk about Matt because he’s hitting way up there, but Andre’s right there driving in runs with him every day. Those two together have been pretty special.”

Dodgers Avoid Sweep Thanks to Kemp And Either

 

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers looked to avoid a sweep by the Brewers at Miller Park, something had to change to prevent them from not picking up a road victory.
Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang who pitched a record setting game at Dodger Stadium last week, answered the call to throw against former Dodger and current Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf.

In the opening inning both Wolf and Harang looked sharp for their impressive clubs, and one knew that this would be another close yet dramatic game as this series has proven to be by the previous two games.
Thanks to a wild pitch by Wolf that hit batter Jerry Hairston Jr, and walked James Loney to load the bases with Hairston and Andre Either respectively at second and third, Wolf had to figure his way out of a jam. After Matt Treanor hit a brilliant sacrifice fly allowing Either to score, and the Dodgers took the early lead 1-0.

Harang got into a bit of trouble as well, with George Kottaras and Alex Gonzalez already on base in scoring position Travis Ishikawa doubled to right center scoring Kottaras.
To further his own cause, pitcher Randy Wolf hit a sacrifice fly to right allowing Gonzales to score and the Brewers took the lead.

Wolf made a huge mistake by letting Kemp single to get on base, then allowed Juan Rivera to to single to right causing the tying run in M Ellis to score. The Dodgers weren’t done as a big time slugger Either hit a good single to right, Matt Kemp scores to take the lead. Wolf gets out of the inning by a pop up by Loney.

Kemp was far from done, after the damage he caused earlier against Wolf, in the top of the fifth it only got worse for the Brewers as he hit a big home run deep to right field his seventh on the year to give the Dodgers some added run support. Harang continued to pitch well, and the Dodger defense held up beautifully, until the sixth inning with Gonzalez and A Ramirez on base, Ishikawa came back to haunt Harang, hitting a single to deep right, scoring Ramirez.

With the Dodgers only leading by one run in the eighth inning, Hairston Jr. made a key defensive play at third base with a runner on third and two outs. Hairston dove to grab a sharp ground ball by Gonzalez then made a long throw to first base from an awkward angle to get the out and end the inning.

After pitching strong innings, reliever Jamey Wright came in to pitch for Harang, and the bullpen held up along with the spectacular defense of the Dodgers to hold on for the win. Reliever Javy Guerra picks up his sixth save on the season as the Dodgers get a much needed win and go to 10-3 on the season.

NL MVP Ryan Braun was a total 0-11 in this three game series, and struck his on his two final at bats at Thursday’s game.

Brewers’ Wolf (now 0-2) went six innings, giving up four runs and seven hits with a walk, a strikeout, while Dodgers’ Harang went six innings, gave up three runs and eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talks about his team’s key win “Its a fairly significant win. Really, we came in and could have got swept but we could have swept them just as easily.”
On how concern his MVP Ryan Braun didn’t show up in this series Brewers manager Ron Roenicke stressed that “Braunie, we’ll get him going real soon. He’s been playing a bit under the weather.”

On his performance thus far beyond this series, a very humbled Matt Kemp said “I’m just doing what I’m supposed to be doing, driving in runs, trying to help my team win,”

Now the Dodgers head down to Houston for a weekend series with the Astros, the Dodgers send Ted Lilly to mound to battle J.A. Happ on Friday.

Dodgers Blow Opportunity to Win Again

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Coming off a disappointing loss the night before to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers looked to rebound sending Chris Capuano to the mound to face Zack Greinke.

After being the hottest team in baseball, this Dodger team has seem to come back to earth, losing a heart breaker on Wednesday, it was time for the Dodgers to step up and simply get it done.
Greinke seem to start out more than he last outing, where he was roughed up from the start against the Cubs, after striking out Dee Gordon, Mark Ellis tripled deep to right field.
Then NL Player of the Week for the second consecutive time Matt Kemp hit a nice single to left allowing Ellis to score. Greinke made it out of the inning, but as everyone expected this would a very tight game as it continued.

Chris Capuano looked sharp in his home away from home, pitching solid until the second inning with Cory Hart already on base, gave up a single to Mat Gamel tying the game 1-1. Capuano maintained his composer and settled down to continue his exceptional pitching as each inning progressed.
The Dodgers added more more run support, after Greinke gave up a single to Tony Gwynn Jr. in left field, which advanced Hairston Jr to third base. AJ Ellis ended up grounding to third, they Brewers defense forced Gywnn out at second, however allowed Hairston Jr to score to take the lead again in the fifth inning.

That lead wouldn’t last long an inning later Capuano gave up an unnecessary solo home run to third baseman Aramis Ramirez who hit it deep to center, tying the game once again. It was 313th home run of his career, which puts him in eight place on the all time home run list.

It was a pitchers duel that headed into extra innings, neither team wanted to give up a run or even an opportunity for a run. Kameron Loe dominated the the ninth for the Brewers not allowing a run to send into the tenth inning. The Dodgers in the tenth inning, in relief for Kenley Jensen who was solid, Matt Guerrier walked Johnathan Lucroy, which allowed speedy Nyjer Morgan to run for him. Cesar Izturis popped out on a bunt attempt, causing Morgan to steal second base. With Ricky Weeks at the plate, thanks to a bad throw by catcher AJ Ellis, Morgan advanced to third base. Dodgers intentionally walked Weeks, which brought up Brewers catcher George Kottaras as a pinch hitter.

At that point, the Dodgers made a defensive shift making a five infielders and two outfielders, Guerrier walked Kottaras which brought up slugger Ryan Braun. With one out, Braun hit a huge sacrifice fly to left causing Morgan to speed around to home plate, just avoiding the tag by Ellis to win the game again in dramatic fashion 3-2.
Morgan was greeting by a celebration from all of his teammates as the Miller Park crowd went ballistic.

Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts, while Dodger starter Chris Capuano pitched six innings, six hits, one home run, four strike outs. Brewers reliever Kameron Loe picked up the win (1-0).

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talked about the tag of Morgan “I had the luxury of seeing the replay, we should still be playing.”

Vin Scully Is Back………..In The Dodgers Booth

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Hall Of Fame Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully returned Sunday for his first broadcast of the season at Dodger Stadium. Scully had missed every game of the home stand due to recovering from flu like symptoms. He missed the team’s home opener for only the second time in his 63 year broadcasting career. Scully (84) was back in the booth sounded greater than ever, and waived at fans across the stadium.

The Tuesday of the Dodger home opener, Scully accounted that e was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed, and the doctor told him he was step away from pneumonia. Scully said he felt better way before Sunday’s game but was urged by doctors not to return due to the cold weather, to avoid a relapse of the symptoms.

Scully said even while terribly ill, he was humbled by the outpouring of support and the on-air mentions during telecasts of the games he missed. He was also humbled and honored by a tweet sent by Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who sent Scully well wishes.

What a day to return to a sunny Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day, a man whom he watched for seven season and became good friends be honored across the league. Scully also called and witnessed a great walk off single in the bottom of the ninth by Dee Gordon, the way only he could’ve called it.

*Scully began his broadcasting career in 1950, and since then has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was behind the microphone for Kirk Gibson’s enormous game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series.

Welcome back Vin Scully, it’s always great to hear that Golden Voice of summer, the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium wouldn’t be the same without you.

Lilly Dominates Padres While Dodger Bats Stay Hot

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Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly had a goal in mind and that was to continue the winning streak over the Padres. Fresh of the disabled list, Lilly struggled a little as he gave up a single to Cameron Maybin. He also gave up another key hit to Jose Guzman allowing Maybin to score and the Padres took the the 1-0 lead.

Lilly would settle down as got into a comfortable rhythm to get out of the inning.

Dodger bats hit often and early, as Padres pitcher Joe Wieland walked Dee Gordon, which is dangerous for any defense when Gordon gets on base. Tony Gwynn Jr, hit a deep sacrifice fly to center, Gordon advances to center. Next up Matt Kemp as the crowd loudly chants M-V-P, and Kemp connects on a two run homer, giving the Dodger the lead. The Bats didn’t cool off as Andre Either next up, hit a huge home run, to increase the lead. As James Loney made it on base, Adam Kennedy hit a great sacrifice fly, that caused Loney to score, 4-1.

Wieland wasn’t done handing out gifts, as Gywnn singled and got on base, Kemp reconnected with the ball hitting a monster home run, his second of the day to increase the lead 6-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Lilly was sensational, striking out batters, mixing up his pitches to keep the Padres bats shut off from any hope of scoring.

It was MacDougal time in the eight as Mike MacDougal relieved Lilly to strike out 2 and cause Parrino to fly out to center to end the inning.

Jamey Wright came in to close out the ninth, causing Guzman to fly out to right and end the game giving the Dodger the dominate victory 6-1 over the Padres.

Lilly pitched seven innings on 79 pitches for two hits, four strike outs and one run, while Wieland pitched five innings, on six hits, three home runs and one strike out.

Lilly spoke how he wanted to go more innings “For the most part I was throwing strike one, getting them in swing mode early and then expanding the zone. I felt like I could have stayed in there, but we had a couple of guys who could use some innings.”

Wieland also discussed his dismal performance “I would have liked to start out a little better, but I didn’t locate my fastball early. First-time jitters definitely affected me in that first inning.”

Billingsley’s Masterful Performance Causes Pirates Shipwreck

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Wednesday, was the night many waited for including the family of Clayton Kershaw, the presentation of his 2011 Cy Young Award. In attendance were also Clayton Kershaw’s wife Ellen and family, along with former Cy Young winner Fernando Valenzuela. Valenzuela received a much deserved standing ovation from the Dodger fan crowd, as did Kershaw when he raised his award up in celebratory fashion.

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The 27 year old right hander Chad Billingsley was lights out the first two innings, Pirates pitcher Erik Bedard also kept the Dodgers scoreless.
In the third inning Billingsley seemed to lose some focus as he gave up a home run to Clint Barmes out in left field for the Pirates to take the early 1-0. Billinsley seem to maintain his composer enough to get out of the inning without any further damage.

Bedard walked M Ellis, allowed Matt Kemp to single to second causing Ellis to move to second base. Juan Rivera steps up and hits a big single causing Ellis to score and tie the game 1-1.

The Dodgers continue to give Billingsley more run support as Kemp singled to left center off Bedard in the sixth inning. Rivera reached on an infield single moving Kemp to second. Andre Either slugged an RBI single, causing Kemp to score and capture the lead 2-1.

In the eight inning Tony Watson came in relieve, but quickly gave a double to Gordon. Watson was replaced by Meek who didn’t couldn’t be worse as he gave up hits to Rivera and Tony Gywnn Jr to extend the Dodger lead 4-1.

Guerra relieved Jensen in the ninth to record the save and secure the victory for the Dodgers. Billingsley struck out five, no walks and one home run to remain perfect at 2-0.

Andre Either spoke about the solid performance of his pitcher, “He really trusts his stuff. He’s pounding the strike zone and making guys miss. And when he gets in a jam, he figures out a way to get out of it — either with a big double-play ball or by forcing contact with a guy and coming out on top. It’s nice to play defense behind him because there’s not too many balls hit to you.”

Bedard gave up two runs and eight hits in five-plus innings and only struck out three in the loss. He has yet to win a game this season, after suffering his first loss at the hands of Roy Halladay.

 

*50 years ago the Dodgers played their very first night game in Dodger Stadium. Jim Gilliam hit the first home run on April 11, 1962.

JR65: Jackie Robinson -The Legend, The Icon

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