Punchless Dodgers Punched Out By Astros

The Dodgers scored eight runs in three games against the Astros, the worst team in the National League. Six of those eight runs came on home runs, and they're not a power-hitting team. The only run Wednesday against Rule 5 draftee Aneury Rodriguez came on Matt Kemp's solo home run.

The Dodgers lost, 2-1, and this time it was Matt Guerrier giving up a walk-off single to J.R. Towles in the ninth inning. The offense continues to be the story though.

"We've really struggled offensively," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "Part of that is losing so many veterans. We've been hit hard by injuries. When that happens, a lot of factors come into play. I get frustrated when we don't execute."

Colletti used an example of how often the opposing starting pitcher is able to get deep into games against the Dodgers, eliminating the middle relievers who are the weakest link on any pitching staff.

Rodriguez averaged a little more than five innings in his four previous major league starts. He had walked seven in 20 innings a starter, and 11 in 28 total innings. He made it through six innings Wednesday with one walk and 96 pitches. Three relievers shut down the Dodgers the rest of the way.

The Dodgers are averaging 3.43 runs a game, second-worst in the majors entering play Wednesday. They are eighth in the National League in batting average, 11th in on-base percentage and 14th in slugging percentage.

Rafael Furcal is 1-for-18 since coming off the disabled list, and overall has a .136/.174/.159 slash line. First baseman James Loney's modest, quiet, eight-game hitting streak ended. Even with his "hot" streak, his slash line is .238/.286/.287 this year.

Four starters were out of Wednesday's lineup (Andre Ethier, Rod Barajas, Casey Blake and Juan Uribe) because of injury. All but Uribe are expected back in the Dodgers lineup Friday.

Colletti said he's always discussing available players with other teams, but the pickings are slim this time of year.

"The players that are available now have really under-performed to their contract," Colletti said. "The team is looking to get out from underneath a financial commitment that they're not getting the value on. Can somebody like that help us? Probably not. If they can't help that other team, they probably can't help us.

"And everybody wants Rubby De La Rosa or a Trayron Robinson or Dee Gordon or Jerry Sands. It's not what we want to do. We'll play it by ear. We have to get healthy. We have to get on track. Then we'll see where we're at."

--With his 100th homer on Monday, Matt Kemp became the sixth player in Dodger franchise history and the 28th active player with both 100 homers and 100 stolen bases. Kemp is tied for third in the NL with 11 homers and ranks eighth in the Majors with 13 steals. Kemp and Ryan Braun (12 HR, 10 SB) are the only players in the game with more than 10 home runs and 10 or more steals.  The 26-year-old is on pace to have just the third 30-home run/30-steal season in team history after Raul Mondesi's 1997 and 1999 seasons. Kemp is also tied for sixth in the National League with 33 RBI.

--RF Andre Ethier was held out one additional game, not starting Wednesday. Manager Don Mattingly figured that, with Thursday's off day and a night game Friday, it would almost be like three additional days for Ethier to recover from the elbow, back and toe injuries after crashing into the right-field wall Sunday in Chicago. Ethier is slumping too, managing two hits and one RBI in the Dodgers last 11 games. Ethier pinch hit for a third straight day, and was intentionally walked for a second straight day.

--LHP Hong-Chih Kuo has been throwing almost every day at the Dodgers spring training complex in Arizona. Kuo is on the disabled list because of an anxiety disorder, based on a case of the yips and perhaps other factors unknown. There's still no timetable for when Kuo will face hitters in a minor league game.

--LHP Ted Lilly allowed a home run on the first pitch of the game to Michael Bourn. His next 78 pitches were much better. He allowed five more hits, no additional runs, walked one (intentional), struck out two and left with the game tied, 1-1. He has posted a 2.30 ERA in his 14 career starts against the Astros, his lowest mark against any opponent. Lilly's seven wins over Houston also tie for his most against a single team.  

--James Loney went 0-for-3 with a walk last night to end his season-long hitting streak at 10 games and batted .324 during the run, which began on May 14. It was the second-longest hitting streak for a Dodger this season behind only Andre Ethier's 30-game streak. The Houston native has enjoyed playing in his hometown in his career and has batted .321 with six doubles, two triples, two homers and 11 RBI in 16 career games at Minute Maid Park. Loney is batting .429 (12-for-28) in close and late situations this season, which ties for the sixth-highest mark in the Majors.

--RHP Javy Guerra became the sixth pitcher to get a save for the Dodgers this month when he pitched a clean ninth inning Tuesday. The Dodgers have eight victories this month. There's been a save in seven of them. Vicente Padilla has two saves, and there's one each for Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Kenley Jansen and Guerra.

--RHP Ian Snell was signed to a minor league contract and will report to Triple-A Albuquerque. Snell will provide depth for an Isotopes pitching staff that really doesn't have any major league prospects and just needs innings. Snell comes out of retirement. With Triple-A Tacoma last year, he compiled a 6.66 ERA and 1.64 WHIP.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It feels good to get the kids being a part of it. We've kind of had to call them up out of necessity with injuries and things that's happened, and you don't really want to for that reason. But it is one of the benefits that these guys got a shot probably earlier than they would in another case, and that experience is going to be valuable for them." -- Manager Don Mattingly, on the team's youth movement. The rookies on the team are left fielder Jerry Sands, infielder Russ Mitchell, and relief pitchers Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra and Rubby De La Rosa.

The Dodgers have been one of the National League's best teams at stranding baserunners this season:

Percent of Inherited Runners Scored, NL
Atlanta Braves 			17.5
Chicago Cubs         		23.0
Colorado Rockies  		27.3
Milwaukee Brewers   		28.3
Los Angeles Dodgers  		28.6 
Highest Road On-Base Percentage, MLB
	(Min. 50 AB)
1. David Freese, STL 		.475
2. Joey Votto, CIN  		.474
3. Jose Bautista, TOR		.472
4. Matt Holliday, STL		.466
5. Gaby Sanchez, FLA  	        .461
6. Miguel Cabrera, DET 	        .459
7. Jerry Sands, LAD  		.451
Youngest to 100 Home Runs as a Dodger
Adrian Beltré		24 years – 365 days**
Duke Snider  		25 years – 309 days
Raul Mondesi  		26 years – 208 days
Matt Kemp    		26 years – 242 days
 **Leap year (one day before his 25th birthday)
Dodgers with 100 Home Runs & 100 Stolen Bases
Raul Mondesi  		163 HR – 140 SB
Willie Davis  		154 HR – 335 SB
Jackie Robinson	        137 HR – 197 SB
Zack Wheat      	131 HR – 203 SB
Pee Wee Reese  	        126 HR – 232 SB
Matt Kemp        	100 HR – 117 SB
Lowest ERA, May, NL
1. Tim Lincecum, SF     	0.91
2. Madison Bumgarner, SF	1.63
3. Jaime Garcia, STL      	1.80
4. Anibal Sanchez, FLA   	2.05
5. Homer Bailey, CIN      	2.08
T-6. Chad Billingsley, LAD 	2.25 
T-6. Jair Jurrjens, ATL   	2.25
T-6. Wandy Rodriguez, HOU 	2.25

 (Source: Dodgers Publicity)