Dodgers-Mariners LiveBlog 6/28/09
The Dodgers continue to be mired in their offensive slump for the second consecutive day and lose the rubber game of their series against the Seattle Mariners 4-2. It was the final game of their interleague schedule where they went 9-9, their first non-losing interleague record since 2004 when they went 10-8.
Hiroki Kuroda went 6 1/3 innings giving up four runs on eight hits while walking no one and getting five strikeouts in his fourth loss of the season. Kuroda extended his streak of not walking a batter to 26 1/3 innings.
"I guess we have to understand that he's not all the way back," manager Joe Torre said regarding Kuroda's performance. "He missed his spots a couple of times, and it wound up hurting him. But after the three-run inning he settled down and made better pitches."
As for the offense, only the five, six and seven hitters did any damage for the Dodgers including Matt Kemp's booming solo home run in the fifth inning.
"We haven't been able to put enough pressure on the opposition in the last few days," Torre said. "It's something we continue to work at."
They now look forward to a three game series against the hottest team in the Major Leagues - the Colorado Rockies winners of 20 of their last 23 games. Torre knows they present a hurdle, but feels confident they can get through it.
"They're the hottest team in baseball," Torre said. "We played them early and had good luck with them, so tomorrow night we start from scratch and try to right our ship. The best way to do that is to come out here and control the game pitching wise."
Bottom of the 9thNevermind.
Russell Martin is 1-for-2 today with a walk and a double. Maybe my interview helped him?
Ok. So David Aardsma is in to get the save for the Mariners. The Dodgers did get him off kilter a little bit last night, so let's see what happens here.
Top of the 9thAnd the Carp strikes out.
Here's some Mariner's trivia for you. They only have one retired number: Jackie Robinson's 42 which was retired league-wide. Is that right?
Mike Carp is pinch hitting for Lowe. I think it's appropriate somehow that a player for the Mariners is named "Carp".
Bottom of the 8thSorry there. I was admiring the little Webkinz toy giveaway from today. It's a little koala bear, and it's the cutest thing! I think I'm going to keep this one. Oh and the Dodgers did nothing.
Well it looks like the Dodger bats stopped believin'. They're awful quiet right now.
Mark Lowe is in to pitch for the Mariners. I don't think he's of any relation to Derek Lowe.
Top of the 8thI hate "Don't Stop Believin'". I really do.
Today's attendance: 49,355.
Man Blake is good. That slow roller off a broken bat by Lopez and he made a great throw. Good stuff.
Griffey's gone 0-fer in this game so far.
They're playing B-52's "Rock Lobster" in between innings!!!!! I'm just grooving by myself here in the box.
Bottom of the 7thAnd that ends the Dodger threat. Onto the 8th with Ramon Troncoso pitching.
That was a basehit for Furcal.
The wind is blowing from left to right field, but it didn't look like it would make that big a difference for Ichiro to field Kemp's fly ball.
Top of the 7th Loney made a slide to first to get Beltre out.
Leach just hit Branyan with a pitch inside. Torre is now going to Ronald Belisario. Let's see if his arrest early yesterday morning will affect his pitching.
Tommy Lasorda has now made an appearance in the box here.
So let's make that 26 1/3 innings without walking a batter for Kuroda.
Brent Leach coming in to pitch for Kuroda. Not a bad outing for Kuroda, but it wasn't great either.
Batista strikes out on bunts. See? I don't get this.
And with an 0-2 count on Batista, Kuroda has thrown 100 pitches.
I don't get this move by Wakamatsu. Why have your reliever get an at bat? This is really baffling.
Bottom of the 6thAnd then he was caught stealing. I don't think it was supposed to be a hit-and-run with Kemp at bat. Was it?
Martin just worked a two-out walk. He really has been seeing the ball better recently.
Don Wakamatsu must not have liked what he saw from Olson in the fifth inning. He yanked him after making only 72 pitches.
Top of the 6thKuroda has now thrown 97 pitches in the game. And some really fat kid is dancing on the big screen. People seriously need to invest in some shirts. And the Dodger fans should not encourage him.
The Dodger board is now telling us about the 1969 Seattle Pilots who played in Seattle just one year before leaving for Milwaukee to become the Brewers. What it's not telling people is that it was the used car salesman Bud Selig who yanked away baseball from Seattle.
How was that only a fielder's choice? It looked like Kuroda's foot was on the bag and was in time for that double play. Did I miss something? Nonetheless we play on.
Kuroda has now thrown a first pitch strike to the last 11 batters. Unfortunately he gives up a single to Lopez.
Bottom of the 5th
Oops sorry. There was only one out. He's .277 with runners in scoring position with less than two outs. Nonetheless he hits a sac fly.
I guess Olson didn't get that memo. He has three balls on Ethier.
Ethier is .196 with runners in scoring position with two outs.
And Pierre lines a single to right. Castro wasn't going from second so he only makes it to third. Now Ethier is up.
I thought Pierre just got rung up. I guess he got a piece of that nasty slider by Olson.
Castro is jumping all over the place at first. Kuroda lays down a good sac bunt to get Castro over to second.
Castro just lined a single. It looks like the Dodgers are getting something started. Let's hope so.
That's the 10th homer for Kemp this season.
MATTY ICE!!!!! That one was out of there no doubt about it.
Top of the 5thKuroda is settling down nicely. He only threw nine pitches this inning.
Beltre just swung at a pitch that was wayyyyy outside. Remember those days Dodger fans?
By the way Kuroda has not given up a walk in 24 innings.
Bottom of the 4thWell that was a little better. Now the Kiss Cam and the obligatory marriage proposal. I hope they both turn into cows those heterosexual oppressors.
Goddamn the wave.
That at bat to Blake was the first three-ball count Olson pitched. And it was the first walk issued in the game. Blake is the second base runner for the Dodgers.
Two outs, eight pitches.
The Dodgers have to be a lot more patient at the plate. They've got to get Olson to start throwing 20-pitch innings.
Top of the 4thNow six consecutive hitters he's gotten a first pitch strike to. 1-2-3 inning for him.
Kuroda won that nine-pitch standoff with Johjima with a strikeout. He's now gotten a first pitch strike to the last five batters he's faced.
Mariano Duncan tried to barehand that foul ball in the Dodger dugout. I guess he's still trying to show that he's a G.
Bottom of the 3rdThis was the most work Olson put in an inning so far. 12 pitches.
Juan Pierre gets hit by a pitch. Is this retaliation for Kuroda coming inside to Ichiro? If so, this can get very ugly very quickly.
Top of the 3rdAnd Kuroda got aggressive against Gutierrez to end the inning, but the damage is already done. This is looking awfully like last night's game.
And Lopez hits a double that's just out of the reach for Kemp.
What was Kuroda throwing? Really?
Beltre hits a single scoring Ichiro. Like I said, Kuroda isn't attacking the zone.
Branyan did not lay off the 3-0 pitch by Kuroda. Kuroda isn't attacking the strike zone like he normally does.
And Ichiro has an 11-game hitting streak by beating out that throw. He is a fast one that Ichiro.
Bottom of the 2ndWell Olson threw on 10 pitches in this inning. The Dodgers will end up like last night if they aren't careful.
And Russell Martin gets the first hit for the Dodgers, a double to right-center.
Sorry. Connection issues here. But Blake and Loney really didn't make Olson work much, did they?
Top of the 2ndAnd Gutierrez steals the base.
And Gutierrez singles to drive Lopez home.
With Jose Lopez stealing his first base of the season, Kuroda is having a hard time getting Gutierrez out.
Kuroda has only thrown one first-pitch strike. That was to Ichiro to start off the game.
That was a complete prayer single for Lopez. He just stuck his bat out there and somehow the gods answered.
The Dodger fans have been very nice to Griffey. While there have been some booing, they've been drowned out by the cheers.
Bottom of the 1stEasy 1-2-3 innings for both pitchers. Given the weather we're having I'm expecting to see a lot of balls to get out of here.
Pierre just scorched that into Beltre's glove. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Beltre didn't nab that one.
By the way Brazil is now leading 3-2. There's a lot of hubbub going on here in the box.
Top of the 1stBlake made a great catch stretching into the Dodger dugout. That was an easy 1-2-3 inning for Kuroda who has now gone 21 innings without giving up a walk.
Beltre doesn't get booed as much as he did last night. Maybe the heat has tempered the emotions here to start the game.
They're putting the shift on for Branyan. Nothing weird like how they did it for Ryan Howard. And he flies out to Pierre in left field.
89 degrees at first pitch. There's a nice breeze coming into the press box so it's not too sweltering.
Russell Martin on defense. AP Photo/Ben Margot
Dodgers catcher Russell Martin is probably the best person to talk to about the pitching staff. He's the one calling the game for the pitchers and knows in and out the make up of the team.
He has seen the young pitching staff mature from their inconsistencies last season.
"The pitchers that we've had last year that are on the staff this year, they've grown up a little bit," Martin said. "[Chad] Billingsley is turning into an ace. [Clayton] Kershaw has just pitched more innings and has a better idea of what his strengths and weaknesses are."
Most notably the Dodgers pitchers have not been overpowering but have the best ERA in the National League at 3.63 and has kept opposing batters to an NL low .236.
"We're aggressive in the zone early, and we're not afraid to use our defense," Martin said of this fact.
While manager Joe Torre and just about every Dodger fan out there has been worried about the overuse of the bullpen, Martin doesn't worry too much about it.
"You always want your starter to go as far as possible," Martin said, "but I don't know if I'm concerned about it. It's a long season, it's a grind, and you don't want to overuse your bullpen which has been so strong for us. I know that our starters can go deep in games."
When asked to judge his season he feels he's getting back on track.
"Behind the plate I feel like I've gotten better at my throws and the defensive part of my game has been solid for me," he said. "I feel like I'm getting better at my game calling. I've been working at it with Brad [Ausmus] trying to gain as much knowledge as I can. It's a part of the game no one really sees, but it's probably the most important part of my job."
"As far as offense goes, it's definitely not where I want to be," Martin continued. "Right now I feel good at the plate. I've just got to find a way to keep grinding it out and keep having fun. I definitely wasn't having fun earlier this year especially at the plate when I wasn't feeling too good, but now I'm starting to see the ball better."
For Martin, the bottom line is wins.
"As long as we're winning ballgames, I'm happy."
Here are the lineups for this afternoon ballgame:
- Ichiro Suzuki, RF
- Russell Branyan, 1B
- Adrian Beltre, 3B
- Ken Griffey, Jr., LF
- Jose Lopez, 2B
- Franklin Gutierrez, CF
- Kenji Johjima, C
- Ronny Cedeno, SS
- Garrett Olson, P
- Juan Pierre, LF
- Andre Ethier, RF
- Orlando Hudson, 2B
- Casey Blake, 3B
- James Loney, 1B
- Russell Martin, C
- Matt Kemp, CF
- Juan Castro, SS
- Hiroki Kuroda, P