I was completely off the grid for the bulk of the day and wasn’t even on email or Twitter for most of the time, which is a rarity for me. When I came back online a few minutes ago, I realized just what an outstanding day I’d missed. After all…
• Philip Humber – Philip Humber! – threw the 21st perfect game in big league history
• Aubrey Huff, quite possibly the worst fielder I’ve ever seen, played second base – in a game which didn’t even go extra innings
• The Red Sox, up 9-0 in the fifth inning against the Yankees, allowed seven-run innings in both the seventh and the eighth on their way to losing 15-9, with old friend Vicente Padilla being torched for five earned runs (four on a Nick Swisher grand slam) in just one-third of an inning
• A.J. Burnett, coming off a terrible season with the Yankees and a broken eye socket suffered in camp, tossed seven scoreless innings against St. Louis in his season debut
What an absolutely amazing day. However, not a single one of those oddities stack up against the most curious event of all: James Loney actually hit a home run. Sure, it came off of Kyle Weiland (31 earned runs allowed in 35.1 career innings entering the game) and it came on the road, as nearly all of his home runs do, but it still counted – and it made him just the fourth Dodger to hit a longball this season, tying A.J. Ellis for third on the team behind Matt Kemp & Andre Ethier.
Yet despite the various unusual and notable items we witnessed today, the 5-1 Dodger victory over Houston came down to these three immutable laws of nature:
1) Matt Kemp is out-of-this-world, indescribably good. Ho hum, another homer, his ninth of the season. He’s not going to match Sammy Sosa‘s record of 20 homers in one month, set back in June 1998, if only because the Dodgers didn’t start their season until April 5. But the record for April homers, currently shared by Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007), remains in reach at 14.
2) Clayton Kershaw is also, really, really good. In what was probably his first outing of the season that came close to vintage Kershaw, the reigning Cy Young winner held the hapless Astros to just three hits over seven scoreless, striking out nine. Houston never really had a chance, failing to advance a runner past second against Kershaw. It appeared he was going to come out for the bottom of the eighth inning after hitting for himself in the top of the eight, bunting into a double play which erased an A.J. Ellis walk. But after Dee Gordon doubled (one of his three hits on the night) and the Dodgers turned a two-out, none-on situation into an eight-hitter inning which netted two runs on an Ethier hit, Kershaw took a seat, and that led us to immutable law number three.
3) Mike MacDougal is really, really bad. MacDougal relieved Kershaw to begin the eighth and allowed three of the first four Astros to reach. With the bases loaded in a 5-0 game, that meant that Kenley Jansen had to be summoned, and after walking in one run he was able to eliminate the threat by retiring Carlos Lee & Jed Lowrie. MacDougal is basically the Adam Kennedy of the pitching staff.
Oh, and still no sign of Scott Elbert, who I assume will have his picture start appearing on the side of milk cartons any day now.
Chad Billingsley tries to finish off the sweep tomorrow in an 11:05am PT start.