Hardball Weekly 6/8/09


Dodgers Help Lower Phillies’ Team ERA

The Dodgers offense has finally slowed down a bit from its torrid pace.  Whether it was with Manny Ramirez or without, they seemed to be able to string hits together at will and score runs in bunches.  Facing a Phillies’ pitching staff that boasts the second worst ERA in the National League, they probably expected to have four huge offensive games last week at home.

But the Phils put up a fight and held the Dodgers to just nine runs over the course of the four-game series.  While Andre Ethier seems to have finally awoken from the slump he fell into when Manny went out, Orlando Hudson, Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal, and Russell Martin are all now slumping.

As for Juan Pierre, who is hitting .362 in Manny’s stead, the Dodgers will likely try and trade him for pitching help while his value is still sky-high.  Pierre is in the final year of one of many terrible contracts the Dodgers have signed over the past few years and is making $10,000,000 this year.  Clearly Manny Ramirez’ job is waiting for him when he comes back, and Matt Kemp and Ethier are part of the “untouchable” group that the Dodgers have repeatedly said they won’t move.  Plus Ethier makes just $3.1 M this year and Kemp $467,000 (yes, you read that right).

The Gang’s All Here

Although the Halos were just 3-3 on last week’s road trip in Toronto and Detroit, they have to be thrilled with the pitching they got from Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar

Santana had missed the first six weeks of the season with an elbow injury and allowed 15 runs in his last two starts over just 6-1/3 innings.  He was back to his All-Star form against Detroit, scattering six hits and seven K’s over 8-2/3 innings, and allowing only 1 run to score for his first win of 2009.

Escobar took the mound for the first time since 2007 and allowed just four hits through five innings, taking the loss as the Angels fell 2-1 a day after they’d beaten Detroit by the same score on Friday.  With their stellar rotation of Jered Weaver, John Lackey, Santana, Escobar, and Joe Saunders back together, and the offense continues to improve, the Angels have only given Texas a 4.5-game lead and will look to make that up by the All-Star break.

I Wouldn’t Want To Pitch To The Phillies Either

Since winning a Major League Baseball season-high 10-straight last month, the Padres are just 3-8 in their last 11, and have slipped back to a double-digit deficit behind the Dodgers.  They play five games in Los Angeles this week, facing the Dodgers twice and Angels thrice.

Jake Peavy left after just one inning against the Phillies last week (upper respiratory infection), but will be back on the hill twice this week.  Peavy is just 5-6 with an ERA over 4.00 this season, though his 84 strikeouts put him fifth in the National League.  The lone bright spot for the Padres continues to be Adrian Gonzalez whose 22 homers lead all of baseball.

The Lineup (9 Things To Watch This Week)

Major League Baseball’s Draft (Tuesday-Thursday)

Padres at Dodgers (Tuesday-Wednesday)

Angels at Rays (Tuesday-Thursday)

Dodgers at Rangers (Friday-Sunday)

Mets host Phillies (Tuesday-Thursday) and visit the new Yankee Stadium (Friday-Sunday)

Red Sox at Phillies (Friday-Sunday)

Oakland (6 straight wins) vs. Minnesota (Monday-Thursday) and at San Francisco (Friday-Sunday)

Ian Stewart (Colorado) has 4 homers and 12 RBI in his last 5 games

Edwin Jackson (Detroit) is 5-1 with 7 earned runs in his last six starts (at White Sox Thursday)