Ted Lilly, who has been out since May 24 with left shoulder inflammation, is finally starting to pitch close to 100%. He threw yesterday, and expected to feel strong again today. Lilly said that he was likely to throw one more solid bullpen session, then face hitters in practice, then finally head out for a minor league rehab stint. Once this happens, Ted will obviously be well on his way to being back in the rotation.
“I feel pretty confident I can start being aggressive with the throwing program,” said Lilly. “This was the most intensity I’ve had.”
With Ted being close to his return, what will that say about our rotation if the Dodgers acquire Ryan Dempster? It is easy to say that Nate Eovaldi would be sent down if we acquired Dempster now, but with the rotation of Kershaw, Bills, Cap, Harang and Lilly, will a move with Billingsley finally be made? My initial guess would be to send Bills to the pen, but with a lingering $9 Million contract just for this year alone, it’s too political to say for sure. If anything else, the Dempster move will shake things up if it happens. Only time will tell.
The Dodgers look to wrap up the Freeway Series and take their first series from the previous six. Aaron Harang takes the mound tonight as he looks to mimic Chris Capuano’s brilliant night last night as he went seven strong innings, while only allowing one run on seven hits, while striking out four. Dee Gordon also had a breakout night, which was fun to watch. He got two hits, stole a base, and also scored two of the Dodgers three runs. Before the game, Dee met with Maury Wills and apparently, whatever Maury told him…worked.
What I loved about yesterday’s game was the fact that it was the first time in a while that the Dodgers were working on all cylinders. Everyone was playing a role: Cappy was dominant on the mound, Hairston and Rivera had some key at bats, Dee was all over the place, on offense and defense, and Elian Herrera made an outstanding catch in Center that took a three run homerun away from Torii Hunter. Everyone was playing their part and I can say, despite the fact we scored on two errors by the Angels, that we earned that victory. Yes, we scored on errors, but the fact of the matter is, the Dodgers put themselves in positions to win all day by being aggressive on the basepaths. I really hope that we can carry this momentum into today, and more importantly, into San Francisco this week.
Today, Don Mattingly is giving Juan Uribe the day off (we’re all super bummed about that, I’m sure) and actually giving Herrera the nod at third! I thought this would finally be the day I’d get to see my dream lineup…but sure enough, Adam Kennedy is in at second instead of Hairston. One day! I’m still keeping my hopes up. Anyways — Here are the lineups Donnie scratched in for today.
1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Elian Herrera, 3B
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Bobby Abreu, DH
5. Juan Rivera, LF
6. James Loney, 1B
7. Adam Kennedy, 2B
8. Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
9. Matt Treanor, C
Aaron Harang, Pitcher
1. Mike Trout, LF
2. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Kendrys Morales, DH
5. Mark Trumbo, RF
6. Howie Kendrick, 2B
7. Erick Aybar, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, CF
9. Bobby Wilson, C
Garrett Richards, Pitcher
Mike Trout has been killing the competition ever since his promotion earlier in the year. The current competition between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, in my opinion, has been completely one sided, despite the hype that Harper has gotten. To say that he was the sole reason the Angels beat the Dodgers tonight is an understatement. From hitting the only homerun, to stealing two bases, to knocking in the tying RBI, scoring in the go ahead run, and even catching the last out, he was all over this game.
Chris Capuano had another decent outing tonight as he got the no decision and went 5+ innings, with 2 earned runs and 2 strikeouts. After Capuano was taken out, a bullpen duel would ensue as the game remained 2-2 until the ninth. Jansen gave up a single to Pujols that scored the go ahead run (Trout).
A lot of talk was given about the two leadoff men of this game. Dee Gordon for the Dodgers and obviously Mike Trout for the Angels. Dee really stepped it up tonight and had himself a great game, going 2 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
Andre Ethier would pad his NL Leading RBI total as he now has 53 on the year. He is now on pace for 139 RBI’s on the year. Speaking of which…
As most of you now know, Andre Ethier has officially signed a 5 year extension worth $85 Million. Vesting Options include a sixth year worth $17.5 Million puts that over $100 Million total. For more details read the previous post. Long story short, Andre Ethier is going to be a Dodger for at least half a decade and I like the sound of that!!
Dodgers get cinco on Cinco De Mayo,which is plenty for Capuano as he gets the job done with both the bat and the arm, as the Dodgers go on to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-1.
Capuano held the Cubs scoreless through 7 innings and also doubled in a pair of runs to help his cause. Capuano is proving that he can definitely be more than just a fifth spot in the rotation of the number one team in the national league west. With the 7 shutout innings today, that brings his consecutive scoreless innings count to 18 2/3. One of the few rare tough situations he got in tonight was in the first inning. After a Dee Gordon/Jerry Hairston Jr. mishap that allowed David DeJesus on board, a one out single to Starlin Castro, and finally a walk to Bryan LaHair, Capuano was looking at bases loaded with one gone. He stayed calm as can be and went on to strikeout the next two batters looking.
Bobby Abreu, in just his second game wearing Dodger blue, got his first hit for his new club and also got in the scoring mix as he knocked a double down the third base line, to later be driven in by…you guessed it…Chris Capuano’s two rbi double.
Matt Kemp let beastmode off the leash yet again, this time flashing his glove as he made a tremendous play to end the seventh inning and cap off capuano’s gem.
Ronald Belisario, making his first pitching performance since 2010, looked extremely solid throwing a perfect eighth inning, and only using 11 pitches to do so. He appears to have his velocity back and in control. His sinker was getting clocked consistently around 93 in the inning. “If we get the guy from ’09, the back-end guy that we can use earlier in the game, it’s a real addition,” said Mattingly. “It’s just another power arm if he’s throwing like that — a big bonus for us.”
If the game didn’t include a little of everything as is, there was also a moment of comedic relief in the fifth inning. With Abreu up to bat, the umpire was calling balls that were – well let’s just say interesting – that Ted Lilly didn’t seem to agree with. When Lilly decided to let home plate umpire Tim Timmons what he thought of it, Timmons would have no part of it and ejected Lilly. Mattingly, originally confused on who he threw out, ran out to argue. After he found out it wasn’t Matty or ‘Dre, it was all smiles and laughter in the Dodger dugout as Lilly walked down and into the clubhouse.
Dodgers wrap up the series tomorrow in Chicago as the rubber match starts at 11:20 PT. Aaron Harang is on the mound facing Travis Wood, making his Cubs Debut. You can watch it live on PRIME or on mlb.tv.