I have to say, when I saw the lineup that Joe Torre was rolling with today, I had a flashback to the dark days of Jim Tracy. Sure, I’m very pleased that Torre’s sticking with his pledge to get Russel Martin and Rafael Furcal regular rest, and aa day game after a night game is the obvious time to do it - but I had to wonder why today had to be the day that Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez (later revealed to have asked out to rest a sore hamstring) were taking a seat as well. It’s amazing how different this vaunted lineup looks when you see a fivesome of Loretta/Ausmus/Castro/pitcher/Pierre, doesn’t it?
Of course, after looking at the pitching rotation, it makes a lot more sense: who needs more offense, Chad Billingsley against the woeful Padres, or Eric Stults & Jeff Weaver the next two nights against the Diamondbacks? To Torre’s credit, believe it or not, the Dodgers took this one partially in thanks to the scrubs, as opposed to in spite of them. Ausmus, Castro, and Pierre combined for five hits and four runs, including all three of them singling (with Billingsley also getting one in between) with two outs in the sixth inning, which chased Chad Gaudin and really took the air out of the Padres.
As Vin mentioned several times, the Dodgers have now tied the NL record for most wins at home to start a season with 10, but it was two other stats that Vin had for us that really caught my attention:
1) This was the first time the Dodgers have ever swept a four-game series against San Diego. God, I hate the Padres. I’m really surprised to see that, though; the Padres have had a ton of lousy teams since they entered the league in 1969, especially in the early years, and the Dodgers have of course had some pretty talented teams since then. The lesson here, of course, is that I will be thrilled to watch them lose 106 games this year. Look, I know that the Giants are the traditional rivals of the Dodgers, but for the last few years, I just haven’t been able to muster up the vitriol towards them that I do against San Diego. Must be the ugly uniforms.
2) Billingsley is now second behind only Roy Halladay for most wins in the last calendar year. I know, I know, I’ve been railing against using wins for pitchers as any sort of metric for a while here, and that hasn’t changed. I’m not saying that Billingsley is the second best pitcher in baseball, and I’m not ignoring the fact that if Tim Lincecum was on any sort of team last year he’d have won 27 games; I’m just saying, that if anyone out there still had any doubt that Chad Billingsley is a bona fide ace, it’s time to wake up. This kid? He’s good.
Carrying on the streak against Arizona tomorrow…