You really have to hand it to Charlie Haeger. He came in and made his MLB debut against a team that generally kills us and, while he lost the game, he still put up a very solid performance, going 7 IP with 3 ER. Today, against the Cubs, he one ups that and gives the team another 7 IP, but totally shutting down the Cubs, giving up 0 ER, 3 H, while walking 4 and striking out 7. The control wasn’t quite as sharp today as it was on Monday for Haeger, though that isn’t necessarily the worst thing, either. Given that he’s a knuckleballer, that also meant that the ball had more movement on it and he was completely baffling the hitters. Haeger has given plenty of reason to keep him pitching until he shows otherwise. His results have been beyond reasonable expectation and the Dodgers would be foolish to not continue to ride out what he’s been doing. He looks totally legit and, while he’s not going to go 7 IP every start, he’s definitely earned more starts.
On a side note, given how well he’s been pitching, doesn’t he deserve the opportunity to change his name to, say, I don’t know, Charlie Lee Roth? It just seems so wrong for a talented pitcher to have to be called Haeger. I’m even fine with Haegermeister or Haegerbomb. But, come on, not Haeger.
From the offensive side of things, the Dodgers weren’t particularly great, but they did do enough to leave us with two memorable moments, those being the solo HR’s by Matt Kemp and Casey Blake. Kemp’s in particular was very memorable, as he hit a 449 FT. utter monster shot behind the bullpen. In fact, after several replays, I’m not even sure exactly where it went, but it definitely cleared the bullpen and the walls there. It was very similar to Matt Holliday’s shot in 2005. I’d take a stab at saying that Kemp’s shot is probably the farthest one hit this year at Dodger Stadium and certainly one of the farthest traveling balls I’ve seen hit there in a while. Although I’m sure Dick Stockton could have found some ball that Eric Karros hit 395 FT. sometime in 1995 and argue that Karros’ HR was better because somehow the pavilion was further back or the wind was blowing harder in that day or something.
Oh yeah, there was one other memorable moment. Mark Loretta stole third base, his first SB since 2007. That was a shocker. I mean, WTF?
On a side note, let’s give some props to Joe Torre for the way he handled the bullpen at the end of the game. Yes, that’s right, Joe Torre is actually getting praise for his bullpen usage. For those who missed, he went to Broxton in the 8th inning to face the Cubs’ heart of the order and then used Sherrill in the 9th inning, who closed out the game. Broxton pitched well and looked like the Broxton of old for the second consecutive night, while it was Sherrill who wasn’t in particularly dominating fashion, but the Bellhead behind the plate didn’t help matters much. It was Sherrill’s first save as a Dodger and, according to Eric Karros, whose hair is increasingly looking like Marge Simpson, the first time he’s ever saved a meaningful game. Hear that, George?! Congratulations!
Mommy, wow! Sherrill’s a big kid now!
By the way, do you need more evidence that Eric Karros is a dolt? Last I checked, Sherrill also had 3 saves in addition to setting up J.J. Putz for the 2007 Mariners, who won 88 games.
But hey, I guess that doesn’t qualify as “meaningful.”
Nonetheless, that won’t spoil the sweetness of today’s victory. The Dodgers win three in a row for the first time since the sweep of the Reds which occurred exactly a month ago today. Billingsley on the mound, tomorrow. A sweep would sound awfully nice heading into Colorado on Tuesday.