Angry Birds Attack Dodger Stadium
64 years ago Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he crossed the line at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY. Aside from every player wearing the number 42 and a nice pregame video presentation complete with Don Newcombe throwing the ceremonial first pitch, the game didn’t have a ceremonial vibe their 11-2 loss against the St. Louis Cardinals notwithstanding.
“There’s no one here,” a fan told me.
With the only promotion being a fireworks show, only 36,282 bought tickets to the game. Fewer showed up. But of course that’s no surprise for a team that bats .255, tenth in the National League. And with those soft punches, it’s also no surprise they couldn’t overcome a two-homer performances from both Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.
Of course not everything could be laid at the feet of Dodgers’ starter Jon Garland (L, 0-1). After all he only gave up the two homers to Berkman - he got Pujols to fly out to centerfield both times he faced him.
“I felt pretty good at the start of the game,” Garland said.
In his first start off the disabled list for a strained oblique muscle, it was an adventure. In the second inning it started with Berkman’s homer on the first pitch of the inning. David Freese and Yadier Molina followed with singles - runners on first and third - which set the stage for shortstop Jamey Carroll’s misadventures.
Skip Schumaker hit a line drive to second baseman Juan Uribe that Uribe trapped. He threw it to Carroll covering second base, but for some reason Carroll hesitated completing the double-play. By the time Carroll made the throw to first baseman James Loney, Schumaker was safely in at first.
And just to make things even stranger, Garland after 2,030 1/3 innings made his first career balk allowing Freese to score.
“There hasn’t been a balk my entire career, and it’s still not a balk,” Garland defiantly said. “I think [second base umpire Angel Hernandez] blinked or did something and didn’t saw me turn. I turn and look at the runners every time there’s someone on base. I still don’t think it’s a balk.”
Both Garland and Hernandez had a long discussion.
“He said I started [my pitching motion],” Garland said. “Which is weird because when I start to get in my set I go back. He said I went forward.”
Manager Don Mattingly asked home plate umpire Chad Fairchild what he saw behind the plate on that balk.
“He said he didn’t’ really see it,” Mattingly said. “He basically said there’s something going on but he didn’t see it as a balk.”
After pitcher Kyle Lohse grounded to third base, Ryan Theriot hit an RBI single to right centerfield scoring Schumaker. But Theriot should have had a double had he not slid past second base getting tagged by Carroll - a good play.
And just to add to the weirdness, the fourth inning started similarly as the second. Berkman homered to right, Freese and Molina singled. And once again Carroll bungled a double play ball from Schumaker: this time Loney caught Schumaker’s line drive at first. Loney threw the ball to Carroll covering second who had Molina out by a step - had Carroll not dropped the ball. Garland got out of the inning thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Lohse and by striking out Theriot.
After a leadoff double to Colby Rasmus in the fifth inning, Garland was yanked after 83 pitches. He described his troubles simply.
“Just pitches over the middle of the plate,” Garland said. “You can’t do that to big league hitters, especially a team that’s catching fire right now.”
And they are on fire right now with 19 hits tonight, their fifth consecutive game with 14 or more hits.
With Garland giving up nine of the 19, the other 10 hits were spread between Kenley Jansen, Blake Hawksworth, Matt Guerrier and Lance Cormier. Jansen gave up Pujols’ first homer while Hawkworth accounted for the second. Guerrier pitched a scoreless eighth, and Cormier had problems finding the strike zone in his four-run ninth.
Against the Redbirds’ starter Lohse (W, 2-1) the Dodgers couldn’t muster more than a two-run fourth inning. Casey Blake and Loney both had talks with home plate umpire Fairchild after striking out looking.
“I’d love to sit here and it’d probably make me feel a lot better to say we got hammered back there,” Mattingly said. “But at this point it’s not going to do us any good. The game’s over.”
LA Angels defeat Chicago White Sox 4-3. A four-run fourth inning before the rain delay before the sixth inning gave the Angels all the runs they needed. W: Jered Weaver - 4-0 (7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4K, 1 HR, 1 HBP). L: Philip Humber - 1-1 (5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP). S: Jordan Walden (2).
Anaheim Ducks defeat Nashville Predators 5-3. Two power-play goals 38 seconds apart helped the Ducks get out to a 2-0 lead. It got close in the end, but the Ducks managed to hold the lead to tie the series 1-1 as it heads to Nashville.
LA Kings at San Jose Sharks. Game 2 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sharks lead series 1-0. 7:00 p.m. FSWest, AM 570 KLAC.
St. Louis Cardinals at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.
LA Angels at Chicago White Sox. 1:10 p.m. FOX, AM 710 KSPN.
Chivas USA at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 4:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 690 W Radio.