Bring On the Replacements

Who needs Manny, or Blake, or Martin? Or DeWitt, or Ethier? The Dodger bats exploded for 16 hits, and when I say “bats”, I mean “a lineup I was terrified of before the game.” Not to take anything away from the 7 hits that lineup regulars Rafael Furcal, James Loney and Matt Kemp contributed, but look at what the bench did:

Ronnie Belliard: 3-5, 4 RBI, HR
Reed Johnson: 3-4, 2 R
Garret Anderson: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB

Plus Jamey Carroll and Brad Ausmus chipped in with a hit each as well. Though at first I was a little surprised that the entire bench played, it started to make more sense once we found out that Ethier was held out with a mildly sprained ankle. It’s no surprise at all to see Manny and Blake held out on a day game after a night game, and even if he hadn’t missed all of camp Martin likely wouldn’t have played either. I would have liked to have seen DeWitt thrown right back in there after last night’s error, but with a lefty on the mound I can see the reasoning behind it.

I do wonder, though, why Johnson was playing in LF with Anderson in RF. It was, as best as I can tell, Anderson’s first game in right field since the final game of the 2000 season, which was long enough ago that he was sharing a lineup with Mo Vaughn and playing against Mariners Alex Rodriguez and Rickey Henderson. Anderson’s played 1360 games in LF in his career, while today was just the 155th in RF. This makes sense, since you always put your worst outfielder in left (see: Manny), so I’m not exactly sure how he ended up over there while the superior Johnson (when he wasn’t trying to kill Matt Kemp, that is) ended up in LF. (Sam points out to me in the comments that it’s because PNC Park has a much bigger LF than RF. Fair enough.)

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t recognize Chad Billingsley, who left the game in the 6th with zeroes on the board (though Jeff Weaver did allow an inherited runner to score), having struck out 7. It wasn’t all roses for Billingsley, who did walk 4, and required 107 pitches to not make it through 6th. That said, he did work his way out of a tough bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 4th by getting Andy LaRoche and Paul Maholm to strike out looking. Considering Billingsley’s poor finish to 2009 and the rotation’s poor start to 2010, this was a desperately-needed performance.

On to Miami.