The last time we hosted the Dodgers, it was early in the season and hope was in the air for both teams. Padres fans chanted "Beat LA Beat LA". Dodger fans were proud and brash. It was a weekend series which lead to big crowds. This time around we have a weekday series after a season of disappointments for both teams. The Dodgers' fans have withstood a messy divorce of their owners, the pillaging of the teams financial coffers, a bankruptcy and overall weak play by their team. This time around, Dodgers' fans sitting near us spent as much time riding James Loney as they did cheering the amazing talent of Matt Kemp.
On Monday, the Padres jumped out to an early lead on Clayton Kershaw when lefty killer Jesus Guzman stroked a two-out RBI plating Cam Maybin. After the first Kershaw gained his command and used his slider to escape danger throughout the night. Aside from the two hits by Guzman, the Padres offense again was feeble. Recalled OF Cunningham looked overmatched. Jason Bartlett got picked off once and was caught stealing another time. Hudson hit a laser that found the Padres' bullpen in a hurry to account for the only other Padre run. The Dodgers banged out 10 hits against Cory Luebke in 7.1 innings.
Rookie Erik Hamren arrived from San Antonio and recorded his first strikeout in a scoreless inning. A side note on Hamren. He was a 37th round pick of the Cubs in the 2008 draft. The Cubs dropped him after the 2009 season. He pitched for the KC T-Bones in the independent league in 2010. For those unfamiliar with the minor leagues, going from independent league pitcher to Major League pitcher in less than a year in almost unbelievable. It shows me that Erik has a lot of heart and confidence even when the odds of him ever making it to the bigs seemed insurmountable. I am rooting for him to stick on this team.
On Tuesday, Hiroki Kuroda and two relievers shutout the Padres and held them to six hits. Surprisingly, three of the hits were by rookie Blake Tekotte who doubled his hit count for the season. The Padres' had multiple opportunities to score that were snuffed by the Dodgers' making diving or shoestring catches in the outfield. Josh Spence continued his dominance by throwing an inning and a third of scoreless relief. He has retired the first batter he has faced in 20 of the 21 appearances he has made. He has also had at least one strikeout in 15 of his appearances.
A couple pics of Yoda's new friends:
|Bass with Stormtrooper|
|Hamren with his new buddy - R2D2|
Some other pics from the game:
|Tekotte had three of the Padres six hits|
|Guzman on first|
|Latos tosses the ball to Guzman for an out|
|Bud Black arguing that Maybin caught the ball in center|
|How not to lay down a bunt|
|Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Josh Spence|