Dodgers Lose More Than Game in Denver

When you hang your hat on 30-something players, you do so with the realization that there is a good chance somewhere down the line you will lose one or more of them during the season with an injury. In a 5-1 loss Tuesday night in Colorado, Los Angeles lost both second baseman Jeff Kent (sore back) and outfielder Kenny Lofton (tender hamstring) and Manager Grady Little said that with a day game following a night game, and with a day off tomorrow, neither of them would play today.

They both left in the fifth inning with the Dodgers already on the critical list, working on a 5-1 deficit. Kent went out with a stiff lower back he tried to play through and left when his pesky hamstring that had already put him on the disabled list earlier in the season, tightened up again while he was chasing the game-winning three-run homer by Brad Hawpe in the fourth inning.

Starter Derek Lowe received his usual pitiful run support and dropped his third game against a single victory. His sinkerball makes him perfect to pitch in hitter-friendly Coors Field. And in fact, he did just what he usually does, recording 15 of his 18 outs on ground balls while allowed only four fly balls.

However, the Dodgers are scoring 3.44 runs a game when Lowe starts this season. Excepting his horrible performance on Opening Day, an 11-10 loss to Atlanta, at average drops to 2.63.

It looked like it would be a good evening for the Dodgers when Rockies starter Byung-Hyun Kim walked the first three, threw three what would be wild pitches anywhere else in the league and allowed a stolen base but Los Angeles only got a single run out of that mess.

Three of Kim's pitches hit were thrown so badly they banged off the Coors Field backstop, is brick, and the Dodgers were not able to score from third on balls because they bounced directly back to the Colorado catcher.

J.D. Drew knocked in the only run of the inning, and, indeed the game, with a looping single to right field that dropped in front of the fielder. Rafael Furcal scored but third base coach Rich Donnelly waved the Lofton around third. In the first inning. The throw to the plate was well up the line but it arrived so quickly that the catcher caught it and easily tagged Lofton.

When Jeff Kent struck out and Jose Cruz bounced to first, a remarkable opportunity had been lost and with the Dodgers going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, it spelled the end of the Los Angeles threats for the evening.

Colorado tied in the second and a three-run homer in the fourth pretty much ended the game for the Dodgers and knocked Lofton out of action when he felt a twinge racing back to the wall in an attempt to catch the ball. A bloop single knocked in the fifth run in the fifth inning.

Lofton and Kent left in the fifth. Kent's replacement, Willy Aybar, collect two of the team's six hits. Russell Martin added a triple but was left out in the cool night air when the inning ended.

The Dodgers couldn't take advantage of the few chances they had, leaving a runner in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth.

Hawpe', who slugged the big three-run homer, came into the game 4-for-5 with a home run against Lowe and with a .408 career average against the Dodgers.

Lowe came into this game having pitched seven consecutive quality starts, with only one win to show for them. He wasn't feeling too sorry for himself after breaking that string.

Lofton swiped his 10th base before injuring himself and Furcal matched him to stay deadlocked for the team lead in stolen bases. They both are within one steal of the team-leading total by Jayson Werth and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Los Angeles dropped back to dead even, 20-20, with the loss despite the fact they have won seven of their past 11 games against Colorado.
  Score by innings:
LA Dodgers 100 000 000-1
Colorado   010 310 00x-5

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 1 0 0 .234
Lofton, CF      1 0 1 0 .277
 Ethier, PH-LF  2 0 0 0 .250
Garciaparra, 1B 3 0 0 0 .341
Drew, RF        4 0 1 1 .289
Kent, 2B        1 0 0 0 .233
 Aybar, 3B      2 0 2 0 .455
Cruz, LF-CF     4 0 0 0 .243
Robles, 3B-2B   4 0 0 0 .158
Martin C        3 0 1 0 .267
Lowe, P         1 0 0 0 .000
 Martinez, PH   1 0 1 0 .303
 Hamulack, P    0 0 0 0 .000
 Saenz, PH      1 0 0 0 .286
  Totals       31 1  6 1
  Colorado     34 5 10 5 

  Errors- none. 2B hits - Aybar (2). 3B 
hit - Martin, R (1). RBI- Drew (30). S- 
Lowe. LOB- Los Angeles 9, Colorado 5. 
SB- Furcal (10), Lofton (10). DP- (Furcal, 
Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Lowe (L, 1-3) 6.0 9  5-5  0 0  3.45
Hamulack      2.0 1  0-0  0 3  5.62
WP-Hamulack T-2:16. Att-23,192.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Although Takashi Saito is nearly unknown on this side of the Pacific when he signed with the Dodgers, he had 14 years' experience in Japanese baseball as a starter, closer and middle reliever. Technically, he is a rookie and is in the running for Rookie of the Year. He is 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA, with 26 strikeouts in 22 innings and a .184 opponents' batting average. … loser Eric Gagne threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and reported no soreness. His next step is to throw batting practice Friday in Los Angeles. ... LA fell to 8-2 in games started by C Russell Martin.. …Manager Grady Little said he might make juggle the starting rotation coming out of Thursday's off-day, but he said he wouldn't decide until after Wednesday's getaway game. … Special advisor to the chairman Tommy Lasorda will receive the Branch Rickey Award, presented by the Rotary Club of Denver. The Branch Rickey Award is a nationally prestigious and coveted honor that recognizes professionals in Major League Baseball for exceptional community service. Each of the 30 Major League clubs nominates one person from its team for consideration. A national selection committee, comprised of members of the sports media, past Branch Rickey Award winners and rotary district governors in Major League cities vote on the nominees.

In today's afternoon finale of the three-game series, Brad Penny will attempt to give the Dodgers a series win. His record so far this year-
date      score opp       in h r-er bb so era
April 14 ND 1-2 SFrancisco 6 2  1-1 0  4 1.50
April 19 ND 4-5 Chicago    6 9  2-2 1  7 1.88
April 25 ND 3-4 at Houston 7 5  3-3 3  1 2.32
April  4 W  5-4 Atlanta    5 5  1-1 0  8 1.80
April  9 W  6-2 at Phil    7 4  1-1 1  6 1.50
May    1 L  2-3 at Arizona 6 8  3-3 2  0 2.67
May    6 ND 5-4 Milwaukee  5 7  3-3 3  6 2.98