Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lowe Just Good Enough

When the Dodgers' Derek Lowe is on his game, he's inducing a lot of ground balls. After inducing two ground outs and a strikeout in the first inning against the Washington Nationals last night, it appeared it was going to be another typical night for D-Lowe. The Dodger offense would stake Lowe to a 2-0 lead in the first inning as they parlayed three singles and a walk into runs by Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre off of Nats starter Mike Bacsik.

In the top of the second, the meat of the Nats lineup quickly changed things. Da' Meathook, Dmitri Young hit a Lowe offering deep into the left center field seats. After an Austin Kearns single, Wily Mo Pena powered a ball the other way and into the left field stands for his fourth homer in just 10 games for the Nationals. Unfortunately for the Nats, on the pitch prior to his homer, Pena hit a foul ball off his left foot and he had to leave the game after literally limping around the bases.

D-Lowe made some personal history of sorts in the top of the fifth inning as Ryan Zimmerman lined a high fastball deep to center field for his 22nd home run of the year, to give the Nats a 4-2 lead. For a ground ball pitcher like Lowe, giving up three home runs in a game is indeed a rare event. The last time it happened was over two years ago on August 16, 2005 against the Atlanta Braves courtesy of Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and the aforementioned Furcal.

Bascik pitched well after his rocky first inning, only giving up two hits and a walk, while being aided by two double plays. In the bottom of the sixth though, he ran into some trouble. Jeff Kent led off the inning with a hard grounder that Felipe Lopez was able to range to his right on and stop, however he could not control the ball and Kent reached base on what was scored an infield single. Andre Ethier then singled to right. Russell Martin would then single to center to score Kent and knock Bacsik out of the game. Jesus Colome relieved Bacsik and promptly gave up a single to James Loney to score Ethier and tie the game. Ramon Martinez then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Martin to give the Dodgers their first lead of the night at 5-4.

From there on, the offenses were silenced. Mark Hendrickson and Scott Proctor relieved Lowe and pitched scoreless frames, while Ray King, Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch all did the same for the Nats. Takeshi Saito closed out things for his 35th save, and gave Lowe his 11th win of the year. For the Dodgers, it was a very much needed win as it keeps them 3 1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres for the wild card spot in the playoffs. For the Nats, it was yet another frustrating loss and fourth straight of the road trip. The only solace that the Nats can take out of this loss is that the three home runs now have them at 95 for the year, and no longer alone and last in the league in that category - they are now tied for last with the Dodgers in that department. Game two of the three game series begins at 10:10 ET/7:10 PT tonight as Brad Penny takes on Jason Bergmann fresh off the DL. You can catch the game in D.C. on MASN2 and on Prime Ticket if you're in L.A.


Angels ace John Lackey had been struggling coming into last night's game against the Seattle Mariners. After allowing 39 hits and 14 earned runs in his previous four outings covering 25 2/3 innings, many were wondering if perhaps the Angels' "bulldog" was being overworked... Thankfully, for the Angels, Lackey was back on his game last night throwing only 109 pitches in a complete game 6-0 shutout of the Seattle Mariners in the first of a crucial three game series between the top two teams in the American League West... Lackey scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out five to record his 16th win of the year. The win increased the Angels lead over the Mariners to three games. Garret Anderson continued to be red-hot, slamming his 10th homer of the year and singling to drive in three runs. "G.A" now has four homers and 14 RBI's in his past seven games. Two pitchers with some interesting history pitch the second game of the series. Ervin Santana takes the mound for the Angels, while Jeff Weaver pitches for the Mariners.


In other games, how about those Tigers??? The team from Detroit completely demolished the visiting New York Yankees... How bad was the demolishment? Well it turned out to be a 16-0 shellacking of the Bronx Bombers - the worst shutout loss in the ENTIRE history of the Yankees!!! Justin Verlander went severn strong innings for the Tigers, only giving up three hits and two walks, while striking out six. Yankee starter Mike Mussina was pummelled again, giving up six runs, nine hits and a walk in his three innings... Sean Henn took the brunt of the Tigers abuse, giving up nine runs (sevent earned), eight hits and five walks in his 2 2/3 innings of work. The loss drops the Yankees eight games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East race and two games back of the Mariners in the AL Wild Card chase. The Red Sox travel to Yankee Stadium today to begin the much-awaited and critical three game series against their arch rivals. Daisuke Matsuzaka takes on Andy Pettitte in game one of the match-up.


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