Dodger Story Again Starts with LOB

Los Angeles is flirting with a .300 team batting average but are quite careless about leaving their teammates on the bases. "No Runner Left Behind" is certainly not their motto. They left on base again Wednesday night, running their total to 83 against only 60 left by their opponents. The Dodgers are on a rhythm, winning every other day.

The Dodgers again frittered away an early 3-0 lead, rallied to tie the game at five and then watched their explosive bullpen give the game away in the seventh and eighth.

Brett Tomko struggled throughout his five innings of work but he kept the damage to a minimum until the fifth. Although he threw a gopher ball in the fourth he was leading 4-1 the following inning when he surrendered a triple, homer, walk, homer good for four runs and the Dodgers never saw the lead again.

Hong-Chih Kuo put a pair on base in the sixth but kept them out there but then in the seventh a walk and a homer earned him the loss. He also allowed three stolen bases in his two inning stint.

Yhency Brazoban quickly put the game out of reach in the eighth, allowing three hits and two runs on six pitches, only one of which was a called strike. But at the end of he day he had the best earned run average of the three L.A, hurlers. He finished at 5.40, Tomko 6.55 and Kuo 6.75.

The offense came into its share of the blame despite finishing with outlandish batting averages. Cruz was 3-for-4 (.371), Drew had a pair of hits (.333), Saenz continued to pound the ball in Pittsburgh, finishing with two hits (.389), Bill Mueller had two hits (.469), Sandy Alomar also had two (.474) and despite going 0-for-3, Jason Repko kept his average at .314. Pinch-hitter Cody Ross, who may be out of a job in a week or so, doubled in a run and ran his average to .429.

The problem, and the men left on base, can be blamed on the shortage of extra base hits. Through nine games they have 28 extra base knocks out of 97 hits, a .289 average. The National League average last year was .667 and even the punchless 2005 Dodgers collected a third of their hits in doubles, triples and home runs for a .333 mark.

At this point in the season, they are a bunch of swinging singles hitters.

Cruz homered (#1) in the first and Jeff Kent broke a 1-for-18 skid with an RBI single in the third. Saenz followed with another RBI single but Mueller left two on when he bounced into a force play.

Ross' pinch-hit double scored a run in the sixth and he scored on a Furcal single to left. But after Cruz doubled, Drew was called out on strikes.

In the eighth, with the score tied 5-5, Saenz, Mueller and Alomar singled with one out but Repko (who left five runners on base) hit into a double play to end the final real threat of the game.

Pittsburgh, came into the Dodger series with a 1-6 record and has won two of three games with the finale Thursday (today) afternoon.

And poor Grady Little, who had no bullpen in Boston, has, at least for the first part of the season, the same problem in Los Angeles. How much longer will he wait for someone to step up and get some outs in the final four innings before dipping into the Las Vegas bullpen for help?.
 Dodgers  ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss  5 0 1 1 .243
Cruz lf    4 2 3 1 .371
Drew rf    5 1 2 0 .333
Kent 2b    5 0 1 1 .233
Saenz 1b   5 0 2 1 .389
Mueller 3b 4 1 2 0 .469
Alomar c   4 0 2 0 .474
Repko cf   3 0 0 0 .314
Tomko p    1 0 0 0 .000
 *Ross ph  1 1 1 1 .429 
Kuo p      0 0 0 0 .000
 *Ledee ph 1 0 0 0 .182
Brazoban p 0 0 0 0 .000
  Totals  39 5 14 5
  Pitts.  37 9 14 9

 Score by innings
Dodgers    102 002 000- 5
Pittsburgh 000 140 22x- 9

  Errors- Alomar. 2b hits- Cruz (3), 
Ross (1). HR- Cruz (1).  SB- 
Pittsburgh 3. DP- Pittsburgh 
2. LOB- Dodgers 10, Pittsburgh 8.

  Dodgers     in h r-er bb so era
Tomko        5.0 9 5-5  1  4 6.55
Kuo (L, 0-1) 2.0 1 2-2  1  1 6.75
Brazoban     1.0 3 2-2  0  0 5.40
  T- @:49.  Att-13,2237
Lofton Returns, Whither Ross?-- Center fielder Kenny Lofton is working out without pain and the Dodgers will activate him from the disabled list in time to begin the homestand Friday against the San Francisco Giants. He may not play immediately, however. With Jason Repko playing excellent defense and hitting .323, it has complicated the Dodger outfield -- in a nice way. Either Repko or left fielder Jose Cruz Jr. no longer will play every day. And Cody Ross may have to be designated for assignment. Ross is 2-for-6 with a triple and a stolen base after a particularly productive spring training. But it appears he cannot win a job from Repko, Cruz or veteran Ricky Ledee and because he is out of options, he can't be sent to the minors unless he clears waivers. If that occurs, it would give them 10 days to trade him. He will spend 72 hours on waivers at some point during those 10 days. Only if he goes unclaimed can the Dodgers keep him and send him to the minors. Manager Grady Little said it would be "a shame because of what we've seen so far out of him, But that's life." In addition, Ross' presence has kept top prospects Joel Guzman and Andre Ethier -- who have been hitting well at Las Vegas --from being rushed to the big leagues.

Dodger Blue Notes-- First baseman Nomar Garciaparra is some time away from being ready to come off the DL. having only recently hit off a tee. …Jeff Kent came into today's the game 1-for-17 without an RBI since knocking in four on opening day. …In the first eight games, the Dodgers have scored at least two runs in the first inning six times and have won only three of them. … Dodgers manager Grady Little is puzzled by the fact that in the first eight games, his club has scored 51 runs, an average of 6.4, but somehow has only a 4-4 record to show for it. …The Dodger bullpen, minus Eric Gagne, is still in a state of confusion. It is a collective 0-3 with a 4.45 ERA, and Little cannot put his six relievers (excluding Danys Baez who is now the stopper) into specific roles until the actions define those roles for him. "We certainly need better results in that area," he told the L.A. Times. "(But) we're not pushing any panic buttons after the eighth game of the season." …Olmedo Saenz was 0-for-1 in the Dodgers' 7-6 loss Tuesday after a 3-for-3 (two singles, a run scored and a two-run homer) in the first game of the series with the Pirates. The big guy owns PNC Park, hitting .550 (11-for-29) at the six-year-old field. Against Zach Duke, the Pirates young ace, Saenz is batting .857 (6-for-7) with two homers and five RBI.