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Dodgers-Marlins LiveBlog: It's about the Pitching Stupid

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Hiroki Kuroda and his translator Kenji Nimura during rookie hazing last season. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Hiroki Kuroda and his translator Kenji Nimura during rookie hazing last season. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tonight the Dodgers send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound. As discussed previously, Kuroda has been scuffling this season since coming of the disabled list on June 1. With a 2-5 record he has not gotten a win in his last three starts, the last coming on July 8 when he went 5 1/3 innings in San Diego giving up three runs. "He's healthy which is the best news for me and him," manager Joe Torre said of Kuroda. "He obviously knows how to pitch here. It's just a matter of going out there and breaking out of the so-call slump that he's in."

Torre continued philosophizing on the art of pitching and slumps.

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"Unfortunately it's like playing golf," he said. "You should deal with [fundamentals] on the practice range, and then once you get on the golf course you have to forget about it. It's something that hopefully we've got [Chad] Billingsley through because he was dealing with a lot of the same things."

But ultimately Torre wants to see a good game from Kuroda.

"He's not going to feel good until he comes off the mound and has a smile on his face," Torre said.

With Toronto Blue Jay's starter Roy Halladay being dangled about as trade bait, a lot of talk focused on the trade deadline.

"You never have enough pitching," Torre said. "Our sport, unlike any other sport, you can't freeze the ball. You can get as many runs as you want but there's no guarantee it's going to be good. Pitching is the only way you can control the situation."

Even though the Dodgers have the best record in baseball, Torre still refuses to sit on the laurels.

"I think if you add a quality starter it's going to make you that much stronger," he said. "I don't want to sit here and say, 'Yeah we're nine games in first place, we have all the answers and we don't need anything,' because I know better. "

The Dodgers will face Florida Marlin's Rick VandenHurk who is making only his second start of the season.

VandenHurk made his first start against San Diego in Petco Park and pitched six innings and was pitching a shutout until giving up back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning against Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff.

"Hopefully we can make him work hard," Torre said.

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With that said, here are the lineups:

Florida Marlins

  1. Chris Coghlan, LF
  2. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B
  3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
  4. Jorge Cantu, 1B
  5. Jeremy Hermida, RF
  6. Dan Uggla, 2B
  7. Cody Ross, CF
  8. John Baker, C
  9. Rick VandenHurk, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Manny Ramirez, LF
  4. Andre Ethier, RF
  5. Casey Blake, 3B
  6. James Loney, 1B
  7. Russell Martin, C
  8. Matt Kemp, CF
  9. Hiroki Kuroda, P

Bottom of the 9th



Walk off bloop single by Blake! Dodgers win!

The Dodgers tonight are 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position. That's part of the reason why they have twice as many hits as the Marlins but are in a stalemate.

3-2 the count to Ethier. The fans are on their feet cheering on Ethier. The 3-2 pitch is outside, ball four, bases are loaded.

As Vin would say, the deuces are wild. Two balls, two strikes, two on, two out in the bottom of the ninth.

Two outs and it's up to Ethier to bring home the runners. Can he do it again?

And Manny struck out swinging. Oof.

The crowd is standing with Manny at the plate.

Furcal with his nifty bunt that pulled everyone off of first.

And I lied. No business.

Loudest ovation of the game: Juan Pierre. Most of the crowd are still here. I'd say there are 48,000 people remaining.

I think we might be back in business.

Top of the 9thAnd Broxton struck out Ross to end the inning. Let hope the Dodgers score so this doesn't go into extras.

I wonder if Scott Stapp-infection left the game.

Jonathan Broxton is in the game. I'm glad they settled on his intro music, "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath.

Well the goddamned site is down so I can't give live updates. Let's just pretend.

Bottom of the 8thBoth Loney and Martin flied to right. I fear this could be an extra innings game. If so I might just go crazy.

Top of the 8thAnd Kemp runs to the warning track to nab Hermida's fly ball. And cue Steve Perry and Journey. I guess I was wrong. Ugh. I wish I had a time machine and had Steve Perry assassinated by ninjas and pornstars back in 1974.

Kuroda and Mota have kept Hanley Ramirez relatively quiet tonight. He's 1-for-4 with a single, a stolen base and three strikeouts.

So the attendance has been high for this series. Last night was over 51,000. Tonight it's 50,248.

Bottom of the 7thSo instead of Steve Perry (Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'") it's Katy Perry tonight.

Casey Blake: Rally Killer. 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk.

I love when they play "Hava Nagila" at the Stadium. It makes me very happy for some reason, and I'm not even Jewish. Uy!

The Dodgers are taking the Angels approach at scoring. Ethier hits a bloop single to left. Manny to second.

Manny hit a single to left. What did Manny say during spring training? That he's the new Dave Roberts? Heh.

By the way, Manny poster night will be Wednesday, August 5. It will commemorate the grand slam he hit on Wednesday.

Both Furcal and Hudson ground to second. The crowd is cheering in hopes Manny can give the Dodgers the lead.

Brian Sanches is in to pitch for the Marlins. He has made 22 appearances and has a 1.17 ERA. Opponents are hitting .225 off of him.

Top of the 7thAnd Scott Stapp-infection came out to sing "God Bless America". In the middle of it one of the phones in the press box started ringing. Lee Klein said, "Let it ring. It'll drown out this crap."

That was a quick inning for Mota making only 17 pitches.

Guillermo Mota, the birthday boy, is in for Kuroda. Let's hope for no bullpen meltdown like last night.

Kuroda went six innings gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. He made 95 pitches of which 61 were strikes.

Bottom of the 6thBlake DeWitt is coming in to pinch hit. I really want some of his frequent flier miles. I could use a nice vacation.

I really don't get that. I don't understand if there's no one on first and second, why do you play in? Especially when you're known as a team that's prone to errors! That was a boneheaded call by Fredi Gonzalez.



And Martin hit a single through the right side. If the Marlins were playing normal depth over there the Dodgers wouldn't have scored.

The Marlins infield is playing in, even on the right side. That part I don't get.

And Kiko Calero is in to pitch for the Marlins. Again.



Bad baserunning will kill you. Loney did good by hitting the RBI single. Loney did bad by getting picked off at first.

And Blake walks. Loney up and all he needs is an Earl Weaver (3-run homer).

Ethier singles up the middle. Blake has struck out twice, and the scorer who just read VandenHurk's line for us in the press box went way too fast and softly. Thankfully he repeated himself.

So some dude named Renyel Pinto is pitching for VandenHurk. I should feel bad for never hearing of any of these guys, but I don't.

Top of the 6th



And Hermida did the honors with a single and taking second on the throw.

As I was having my Chili Dodger Dog with onions and cheese, Hanley Ramirez hit a single and stole a base. Thankfully Martin didn't a throwing error or else the Fish would be leading by two now.

Bottom of the 5thManny hits a grounder that was fair by inches played nicely by Bonifacio. Rally dead. Time for Dodger Dogs for me! I'm hungry!

Damn I'm good. Hudson singles to right-center.

And Furcal killed the rally with a 4-6-3 double play. Maybe Hudson can start another one?

Kuroda just helped out his cause with a bloop single just inside the right field line.

Top of the 5thI go and get some water, answer a comment and the inning's over! Kuroda made only six pitches.

Bottom of the 4thSo Rick VandenHurk's full name is "Henricus van den Hurk". He is from the Netherlands. I have a really tawdry thing I want to say that has to do with fingers and dikes. How immature.

Top of the 4thIf Martin would have just let Cantu steal second, the Ross single wasn't deep enough to have him score. Sometimes it's better not to worry about a stolen base.



And that throwing error gives the Marlins the lead after Cantu scores on a Ross single to center.

Ah. The strike out with a stolen base and a throwing error on the catcher.

So they timed Mark Buehrle's outing during his perfect game. The game itself lasted just a smidge over two hours. Buehrle spend about 40 minutes of it on the mound. He works damn fast. I wish more pitchers were able to do that. Hint hint Kuroda.

As much as I hate them, I'm hypnotized by the beach balls that are being batted around throughout the Stadium during Hermida's at-bat. It was a very long at-bat so it gave me something to stare into the ether at. (Did that make any sense? I don't think so.)

Bottom of the 3rdAh. Nancy Bea is playing "My Guy". I feel like standing up and swaying.

And takes it away by getting Blake to strike out looking.

But VandenHurk promptly gives up a double to Ethier on the first pitch. D'oh!

That was a nasty pitch with late movement by VandenHurk to get Manny caught looking.

Ooh. I forgot to mention in the top of the inning that Hanley Ramirez has now struck out twice.

Top of the 3rdFurcal made a great play on Coghlan's hard hit grounder and Loney made a great pick in the dirt. Part of the mystery to why the Dodgers are doing so well can be seen in that play.

Bottom of the 2ndBack to the game, Martin and Kemp really went out meekly. Although VandenHurk just walked Kuroda with two outs.

I just checked. I think I did use part of that quote above. Maybe I should read what I write. D'oh!

So there really wasn't a place to put this in the prewrite above, but Torre told me before the game that he hoped to force VandenHurk to make a lot of pitches. With the 30 pitches he threw in the first inning, I would say that the Dodgers hitters are doing their job.

Top of the 2ndAnd Kuroda struck out the side. He has thrown 33 pitches and doesn't look shaky at all.

I wonder how far a ball boy will run just to grab beach balls that have fallen onto the field. Just curious.

Bottom of the 1stPee!

The crowd really needs to pay attention more. They started booing when they thought Hudson was caught stealing at second. No. Ethier walked, so no play.

Ethier is having a great at-bat, but I really need to pee.

By the way the Dodgers now have five players with more than 50 RBI: Ethier (61), Loney (58), Blake (57), Kemp (55), Hudson (50). They are the first team in baseball to accomplish this.



Hudson hits the first pitch up the middle for an RBI single bringing Furcal home. That was a very fast response by the Dodgers

A lead off triple by Furcal really has the crowd going. He didn't look at Larry Bowa once. He just took off and ran.

Top of the 1st



Jorge Cantu hit a double to the left field wall, and the Marlins have gone out in front now.

Wow. Hanley Ramirez struck out swining.

Bonifacio got a single off of Kuroda. Drats. No no-hitter nor perfect game.

So Scott Stapp-infection from Creed sang the National Anthem. It was very unbearable to say the least. Plus he looked like a cancer patient.



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