Record: 40-42. Change on last season: +10
Bit of everything in this game: a run-scoring balk; a run-scoring bunt; catcher's interference; and Luis Gonzalez toppling into the stands to rob Jason Phillips of a homer. Which would have been the seventh of the game.
"You just wish somebody would have forearmed him or something," said Phillips - I think he was joking, but this is a game in LA we're talking about. Said Gonzo, "Fortunately, where he hit that ball, there were three or four open seats. It was pretty crowded out there early in the game. I got very lucky the fans at Dodger Stadium leave early. They're usually hooting and hollering at me." And I don't think he was joking there.
For the third start in a row, Vargas was the beneficiary of good early run support; we took a 5-1 lead by the time he started his third innings of work. Tracy, Cruz, Cintron and Green all hit homers - the first time during his career Derek Lowe has allowed four in one game. Counsell tacked on another with a beautifully placed bunt single, even if it necessitated a head-first slide into first.
However, we'd need all those runs and them some, as the Dodgers clawed their way back, thank to Drew's two homers and three RBIs. In the end, a little bit of breathing space was provided by Gonzalez scoring on a balk by Duaner Sanchez [who was not a happy bunny as a result], and Gonzo's acrobatic heroics into the stands.
Gonzo was all over the place; as Otacon noted (thanks also to Daniel for his thoughts), we weren't wearing our usual road jersey. This was apparently at the suggestion of Luis, who wanted to "Just kind of switch something up." Going by yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised if our batting practice shirts saw some more use in the near future.
Vargas picked up his third win in a row, but this has been mostly because of an apparently supernatural ability to coax the offense into scoring runs. Here's what our offense has produced in total, during the last three games for each of our starters:
Estes: 6 runs
Needless to say, this does not seem a recipe for long term success. To Vargas's credit, over those three games and 16.2 innings, his ERA has been 4.86 which, though mediocre, is better than we saw from Russ Ortiz through May and June.
Two hits for Cintron, Cruz and Gonzalez - and three for Kelly Stinnett. Cormer, Lopez, Aquino and Bruney followed up Vargas, and allowed only one hit over the last four innings. However, that was to Lopez: three times in a row now, he has been our LOOGY and has failed to get the guy out. Since June 10th, he's faced eight batters, and six have reached base against him.
Brandon Medders was thanked for his services, and dispatched to Tucson, but with an ERA of 3.38 in six appearances, his name is likely to remain on the short-list. He was replaced by Mike Gosling, who was chosen because he can pitch long relief, which might be needed with Valverde currently off to his uncle's funeral in New York [I don't believe he was placed on the bereavement list, but I'm not certain].
Heroes and Zeroes for June will follow immediately, with today's (likely brief!) preview also imminent.