Friday, August 24, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Dodgers 11, Marlins 4
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- On the cusp of one of the biggest trades in franchise history, the Los Angeles Dodgers gave their fans another reason to feel good with an 11-4 win over the Miami Marlins to snap out of a three-game losing streak.
The Dodgers, reportedly on the verge of a megadeal with the Boston Red Sox centered on All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, remained three games out in the NL West and 1 1/2 games out in the wild-card standings.
Fisherman. Before the game, Andre Ethier showed reporters his new grip now that he's dealing with a painful blister injury on his right palm. He's choking up a bit. The way things are going, he may want to make it his permanent approach. Ethier hit a missile of a three-run home run in the first inning to help the Dodgers escape the cycle of falling behind early. Ethier, who had three more hits and another RBI later, likes fishing for Marlin. He is a .387 career hitter against Miami, best in the majors.
Take that. Since the Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, he has made them pay a price. In four games against Miami, Ramirez is 6-for-18 with seven RBIs. He hit an impressive opposite-field home run off the guy he was traded for, Nathan Eovaldi, in the third inning. Does it get better than that for a traded player? The Marlins probably don't regret trading Ramirez since they were looking to change course, but he's doing everything he can do give them some doubts.
Well-timed relief. After an injury-shortened outing by Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers could have easily got into a back-and-forth, high-scoring game that can deplete a pitching staff. But relievers Jamey Wright, Scott Elbert and Brandon League held things down until the Dodgers could blow the game open in the seventh inning. Those guys aren't the most prominent names on this roster, but they played a key role Friday.
Uh-oh. Billingsley left the game in the fourth inning with what the Dodgers described as a "tender" elbow. It comes at an inopportune time for the Dodgers, but especially for Billingsley. He was pitching as well as he had all season, having not allowed a run in his previous 15 innings and riding a six-start winning streak. The Dodgers still need a solid No. 2 behind Clayton Kershaw and Billingsley looked as if he were emerging as that guy. Now what?
Shane's world. Assuming the Dodgers consummate the trade as it's reported to go down, with Carl Crawford as part of the package, it looks as if Shane Victorino won't get his wish to stay with the Dodgers after this season. Crawford could return as soon as midseason next year and Victorino is a free agent this fall. Meanwhile, the Dodgers would like a little more production out of their scrappy leadoff guy. Victorino is 2-for-16 on this homestand.
Last call? As usual, Juan Uribe was booed after his eighth inning strikeout. Dodgers fans may not Uribe to kick around any longer. If the trade is completed, the Dodgers will need three roster spots to make room for Crawford, Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto and it's highly likely Uribe would lose his spot. If he's not outright released, Uribe could accept a minor-league assignment and be back in September, a la Bobby Abreu, but his days of having a prominent role appear to be over.