Get Ready Willie; Here Comes Andre

Andre Ethier flared a single to right field in the fourth inning last night to extend his hitting streak to 29 games and tie Zack Wheat (1916) for the second-longest hitting streak in franchise history. Ethier is batting .387 during the run and is now just two games shy of Willie Davis' Dodger-record 31-game hitting streak.

Mattingly lightens Loney's load
Games likes Monday's aren't going to make manager Don Mattingly's decision any easier on whom to start at first base.

Mattingly doesn't want to give up on first baseman James Loney. He's denying there's a platoon at first base, even though the left-handed-hitting Loney hasn't started against the last two left-handed starting pitchers the Dodgers have faced.

"If we're going to be a club that contends, we can't count on Matt (Kemp) and Andre (Ethier) to hit .390 all year," Mattingly said. "We're going to have to get contributions all over the lineup. And James is one of those pieces that we really count on to do that."

Jerry Sands moved from left field to first base both times Loney sat out, and Sands delivered an important two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning of the Dodgers' 5-2 win over the Cubs on Monday.

When Sands is at first base, it allows Marcus Thames start in left field, and it allows Tony Gwynn Jr. to enter defensively late in the game. Gwynn saved a game Friday night with a spectacular diving catch for the final out.

Mattingly talked with Loney on Sunday about keeping the ball low when he goes the opposite way.

For motivation, Loney will be fined $1 whenever he flies out to left field. For each liner to left, Loney takes a buck out of the pot. (As manager, Mattingly is judge and jury on what's a flyball and what isn't.) Of Loney's 22 hits this year, only five have gone to the opposite field. He's batting just .204 overall with two extra-base hits.\

"James is going to get hits," Mattingly said. "We just have to get him there. I believe in James. I've always believed in him and his ability. I'm trying to get him through a stretch and get him going. I don't want to break his confidence down by not playing him. In the same breath, I want him to keep working and get himself going."

Report: Dodgers to face insolvency
The Wall Street Journal
The Dodgers may not have enough cash to cover their expenses at the end of this month when a round of paychecks to players are due and will certainly face insolvency by July, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday citing sources.

As a result of the cash crunch, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has offered full cooperation with monitor Tom Schieffer, the former ambassador appointed last month by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig to oversee the franchise.

A lawyer for McCourt earlier this week sent a letter to Bradley Ruskin of Proskauer Rose, which is representing the league in the matter, to make it clear that Schieffer would have immediate access to all the financial material he needs for the ongoing investigation of the franchise's viability.

In the letter, McCourt attorney Robert Sacks pledges to make all financial documents available and to set up a password-protected computerized database for Schieffer and representatives of the league to review.

For McCourt, the speed of the investigation is crucial because Selig has said he will not approve a new broadcast rights deal McCourt reached with News Corp.'s Fox unit until the financial investigation is complete. The 17-year, $3 billion deal includes a $285 million upfront payment that McCourt needs to cover the team's cash needs. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal and NewsCore.

In an interview Tuesday, Schieffer said that despite McCourt's cooperation, it was not clear yet how long the investigation will take.

"It's a complicated web of companies, and we have to follow one dollar in the door and out the door," he said. "We have to figure out what's going on the best we can and get to facts everybody agrees on. Then the options will

--Chad Billingsley struck out eight over 7.0 innings and allowed only Carlos Pena's one-out solo shot in the seventh. Pena's home run was the first allowed by Billingsley in his last 31.1 innings, since April 12.

--RHP Jonathan Broxton pitched his second 1-2-3 inning of the season Monday for his seventh save of the year then last night he issued back-to-back one-out walks in the ninth and both came around to score on Geovany Soto's two-run double off Blake Hawksworth to give Chicago a 4-1 win over the Dodgers. The Dodgers lost for just the second time this season when leading or tied after 6.0 innings, falling to 14-2 (.875) in that situation.

--CF Matt Kemp stole eight bases in the first 13 games of the season. He hadn't stolen any in the next 16 games before swiping second base in the second inning Monday night. He's now 9-for-12 this year. Kemp would love to be the first 40-homer, 40-steal player in Dodgers history. He's on pace for 32 home runs and 49 stolen bases. Kemp's RBI single in the sixth brought home Jamey Carroll for the Dodgers' only run of the evening. It was Kemp's 20th RBI of the season and the center fielder entered play today tied for 11th in the NL in RBI.

--INF Aaron Miles is 9-for-56 batting left-handed (.161) this year, and 9-for-13 batting right handed (.692). Miles' career numbers are slightly better right-handed, but not this drastically. Miles didn't start Monday against a lefty, an indication that manager Don Mattingly isn't putting too much stock into early-season splits.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Consecutive games the Dodgers had gone without allowing a first-inning run until the Cubs scored one Monday. It was the first time LHP Clayton Kershaw allowed a run in the first inning this season. In his career, however, Kershaw's 3.84 ERA in the first inning is his largest of any outside of the ninth (in which he has only thrown 2 2/3 innings).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was kind of weird. I was watching the Philly game just kind of hearing it, and then I flipped over to CNN. I wanted to see the press conference. I like watching politics, but don't like really commenting on it very much. But I know it's an emotional thing. I don't think really only there, but the whole country (was relieved). We've paid a big price for that day." -- Manager Don Mattingly, who played his entire career in New York and coached there for four years, upon seeing the news Sunday night that Osama Bin Laden was killed.

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