Sabathia Better Than Advertised

Brewers continue West Coast swing through Los Angeles with three-game set against Manny and the Dodgers.

Inside pitch

It might have been the understatement of the year.

"I feel like I'm pitching pretty good," CC Sabathia said Wednesday night after leading the Brewers to a 7-1 victory in San Diego.

Pretty good? How about 7-0 with a 1.55 ERA in eight starts since coming from Cleveland in a trade July 7? The Brewers figured they were picking up a pretty good pitcher, but Sabathia has been far more than that.

Simply put, Sabathia has been the best pitcher in baseball. In 64 innings, Sabathia has allowed 49 hits and 13 walks while striking out 60 hitters. Opponents are batting .160 against him.

"He's been everything we thought he would be," right fielder Corey Hart said. "When he's out there, we feel like we don't have to score a lot because he's not going to give up a lot. He has been pitching as well as anybody in the National League. I think we're more relaxed when he pitches because the pressure isn't on to score five runs."

The bad news for the Brewers is that Sabathia is pitching so well that they probably have no chance to re-sign him on the free agent market this winter. But he may lead them to their first playoff berth since 1982.

Padres 3, Brewers 2

Jake Peavy was just a little better than Ben Sheets. The Brewers got the pitching duel they expected when Sheets and Peavy clashed in the series finale, with the score 0-0 going into the seventh. The Brewers scored a run off Peavy in the top of that inning, but the Padres rallied for three in the bottom of the inning off Sheets, and that was enough to avoid a sweep.

The loss snapped the Brewers' eight-game winning streak, which matched their longest of the season. Mike Cameron drove in both runs for the Brewers with an RBI single in the seventh off Peavy and a homer in the ninth off Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.

Notes

--Left fielder Ryan Braun, who hasn't played since Saturday because of strained intercostal muscles around his lower ribcage, did some baseball activity for the first time in the pregame workout. Braun hopes to return to action this weekend in Los Angeles.

--Outfielder Laynce Nix started in left field, his first since being recalled from Class AAA Nashville the previous day. Gabe Kapler had started four consecutive games in place of Braun.

--Infielder Craig Counsell started in place of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who snapped a 0-for-20 slump the previous night with a single. Hardy suffered through a 0-for-28 slump from July 28-Aug. 5. His average, .300 after a three-hit game July 24, is down to .273.

--Center fielder Cameron, who played for San Diego the previous two seasons before being allowed to leave via free agency, showed the Padres what they were missing during a three-game series at Petco Park. Cameron went 5-for-11 (.455) with two home runs and three RBIs, and he made a series of run-saving catches in the spacious outfield.

--Left-hander Brian Shouse, who had a 5.63 ERA in 12 relief appearances in July, has pitched five scoreless outings in August, covering 4 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Inside pitch

Left fielder Manny Ramirez finally got his trademark dreadlocks cut in loose compliance with manager Joe Torre's request--emphasis on the word "loose."

Several strands of locks still extended down Ramirez's back after his cosmetology visit, continuing to give the impression Ramirez hadn't taken the request all that seriously.

"If I come back (to the Dodgers) next year, it's going to be shorter," Ramirez said. "Right now, I'm focusing on making the playoffs and stuff like that. (Torre) told me he was fine for now."

Torre did his best to be diplomatic after seeing what Ramirez considered a haircut.

"As Billy Crystal says in ‘Analyze That,' it's a process," Torre said. "He took a little bit off. When I made the initial request, I asked him to clean it up a little bit. He is within the rules of cleaning it up, I guess."

The somewhat-shorn Ramirez went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk in the game, just the second time in 13 games with the Dodgers that he has failed to hit safely.

Dodgers 3, Phillies 1

Hiroki Kuroda pitched seven dominating innings, allowing only two hits, striking out seven and throwing just 79 pitches. Hong-Chih Kuo pitched the final two, retiring six of seven batters, for his first major league save.

The Dodgers' first four-game sweep of the Phillies since July 1962 was helped along by a bullpen that pitched a combined 11 shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was 1-for-14 with a home run in the series.

Notes

--Righty Brad Penny was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Thursday's game, just six days after he came off of it following a stint of almost two months. Penny suffered a recurrence of the shoulder inflammation that sidelined him back in June. He was sent for an MRI. In his past 10 starts going back to May, Penny is 1-7 with an 8.24 ERA.

--Righty Cory Wade was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Wade had been battling the condition for several days and hadn't pitched since last Friday. The rookie reliever has a 2.56 ERA in 40 appearances this season.

--Righty Tanyon Sturtze's contract was purchased from Class AAA Las Vegas. In a combined 39 appearances for Class AA Jacksonville and Las Vegas this year, Sturtze was 2-2 with five saves and a 4.38 ERA. The 37-year-old journeyman last appeared in the majors with the Yankees in 2006. He has also pitched in the big leagues with the Cubs, Rangers, White Sox, Devil Rays and Blue Jays.

--Lefty Eric Stults was recalled from Las Vegas, where he was 7-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts. Stults also made six starts for the Dodgers earlier this season, going 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA.

--Kuroda didn't issue a walk and now has walked two or fewer in 18 of his 23 starts this season. He is averaging 2.14 walks per nine innings. He is 5-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 starts at home, including two complete-game shutouts.

--Outfielder Matt Kemp went 1-for-4 with a home run in the sixth inning, his team-leading 14th of the season. He is hitting .335 (18-for-51) with two homers, a triple, three doubles and 12 runs over his past 11 games. In the four-game sweep of the Phillies, Kemp went 7-for-17 (.412) with a double, a homer and four runs scored.

--First baseman James Loney went 1-for-3 with a walk and hit his career-high sixth triple of the season. Loney also stole his sixth base of the season and is fifth on the club in that category. He has been successful on each of his past five stolen-base attempts after being thrown out on three of his first four.

By the numbers

11--Outfield assists this season for Kemp, tying him with Philadelphia's Pat Burrell for the National League lead through Aug. 10. Kemp, a third-year major leaguer who has always been a bit of an adventure defensively, had two assists Aug. 9 at San Francisco. He gunned down John Bowker at the plate on a shallow fly ball by Omar Vizquel in the fifth, then threw out Vizquel trying to stretch a single into a double in the seventh.

Medical report

--Center fielder Andruw Jones (irritated patellar tendon in his left knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 10. He could start a rehab assignment with Class AAA Las Vegas in mid-August.

--Righty Takashi Saito (sprained right elbow ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 13. He is expected to be out until at least late August.

--Shortstop Rafael Furcal (lower back tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 4. He was expected to be activated May 23 but was sore that morning. He started a rehab assignment with Class AAA Las Vegas on June 30, and he felt discomfort in his back the next morning. He had surgery July 3 to have a disk in his lower back partially removed. He won't return before September.

--Righty Scott Proctor (sore right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on Aug. 2, but was shut down a few days later due to renewed soreness in the elbow.


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