On an afternoon where the Dodgers ran out a lineup that featured only three of their usual starters, Ted Lilly was going to have to be all but perfect to outduel Matt Cain. That worked out more or less okay until the fifth inning, when Lilly allowed four runs to score on four singles and a balk, and that was that. Mike MacDougal, Kenley Jansen, and Lance Cormier all made their season debuts to finish out the loss. Cormier just barely managed to get through the final three innings, thus sparing us the entertainment value of seeing A.J. Ellis come in to relieve him.
Not that it really mattered, of course, because the JV offense managed just five hits off Cain – two of which didn’t even leave the infield. (Though it should be noted that Matt Kemp did continue his nice start with a hard-hit double to the gap, and that Andre Ethier eventually collected three singles.) If this post seems to be lacking gusto, well, it wasn’t a very exciting game.
Particularly troubling was Jansen’s disastrous sixth inning. After issuing a walk to Brandon Belt, his outing went RBI double, popout, walk, single (which could have easily been an error on Aaron Miles), RBI single, RBI single, strikeout, strikeout. It took him 42 pitches to get three outs, and he walks away with an ERA of 54. As I noted on Twitter at the time, because relievers generally don’t throw a ton of innings, it’ll take him weeks – if not months – to get that ERA down to a more palatable number, so even if he’s totally perfect from here on out, people will still see that high ERA on their TV graphics and think that he’s lousy. Hooray, ineffective statistics! Also not helping himself was Ivan DeJesus, who struck out twice more while going 0-4 with a throwing error.
Still, the Dodgers are guaranteed at least a series split as Hiroki Kuroda faces Barry Zito in the finale tomorrow night. Juan Uribe is expected to return to the lineup to hopefully add some much-needed offense; Ethier and James Loney are expected to go o-for-9 against the lefty.