They All Can't Be Cy Young Candidates

Wait a minute. Wait just a dog-bone minute! All these guys can't by Cy Young candidates. Since the All-Star game break, L.A. has faced 10 pitchers and nine of them have handled them like they were, well, Bob Gibson. Chad Billingsley served up two home runs to St. Louis outfielder Juan Encarnacion, a former Dodger, and was tagged with the 6-1 loss as 43,650 disappointed fans looked on.

For example, take Jason Marquis who picked up his N.L.-leading 12th win by pitching eight shutout innings on 106 pitches. He gave up 12 runs and 14 hits in only five innings last Tuesday in a 14-5 loss to the Braves.

The Dodgers sufferered their fifth straight loss and are now .001 percentage points in from of last place Colorado in the National League West. The guys in the white hats have been outscored 57-17 during the post-all-star baffling stretch.

They could only manage a single by Cesar Izturis in the first, a single by Rafael Furcal in the third, a single by Jose Cruz in the fifth, none of whom got past first base, a pinch-hit double by Ricky Ledee in the sixth and with two out and Nomar Garciaparra and J.D Drew on base with walks in the ninth inning, rookie Russ Martin doubled in the only Dodger run of the game.

Their brightest scoring opportunity came in the sixth, when Ledee led off with a double down the right field line. With one out, Izturis lived on an error but both Garciaparra and Drew, hitting like they were double parked, hit the first pitch, popping to second and bouncing out 4-3.

Billingsley allowed only one run -- Encarnaction's first homer -- in four innings but in the fifth, a walk and Furcal's 19th error of the season set up two-run single by Chris Duncan. After another walk and another two-run single by Scott Roland, Billingsley served up another dinger to Encarnacion and exited, stage right.

Giovanni Carrara, Jonathan Broxton, and Takashi Saito shut down the Cardinals from that point on but the hay was in the barn and nothing much could be done.

Those with a historical bent could claim they saw the first sweep of a season series over a Dodger club in the 115 year history of the storied rivalry.

The Cardinals dominance was complete, setting a franchise record by homering in their 19th consecutive game, sweeping a series in Dodger Stadium for the first time since April of 1993, winning their ninth straight over the team from the Left Coast and outscoring them 35-8 in the seven games.
  Score by innings
St. Louis 010 040 000-5
Dodgers   000 000 001-1

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 0 1 0 .266
Izturis, 3B     4 0 1 0 .274
Garciaparra, 1B 3 1 0 0 .331
Drew, RF        3 0 0 0 .283
Martin, C       4 0 1 1 .285
Ethier, LF      4 0 0 0 .338
Cruz, CF        4 0 1 0 .237
Martinez, 2B    3 0 0 0 .309
Billingsley, P  1 0 0 0 .100
 Carrara, P    0 0 0 0 .000
 Ledee, PH     1 0 1 0 .250
 Broxton, P    0 0 0 0 .000
 Aybar, PH     1 0 0 0 .254
 Saito, P      0 0 0 0 .000
   Totals        32 1 5 1   
   St. Louis     33 6 8 6

  Error- Furcal. 2B- Ledee (5), 
Martin (16). RBI- Martin (37). 
LOB- St. Louis 8, Los Angeles 
6. SB- Furcal (25). DP- 2 
(Martinez, Furcal and 
Garciaparra; Furcal and 

  Dodgers         in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley (1-3) 5.0 6 6-5 5 1 4.26
Carrara           1.0 0 0-0 0 1 2.02
Broxton           2.0 2 0-0 0 2 3.30
Saito             1.0 0 0-0 0 1 2.11
  T- 2:45. Att- 43,650.
Decisions, Decisions-- With outfielder Jason Repko and RHP Brett Tomko having complete their rehab stop in Las Vegas, will be ready to return to the Dodgers' active roster soon. GM Ned Colletti and Manager Grady Little will have some tough decisions to make as far as roster spot for them is concerned. Veterans catcher Sandy Alomar and outfielder Jose Cruz could be on the bubble. In Alomar's case, the emergence of rookie catcher Russell Martin made Alomar a rarely-used backup. The acquisition of Toby Hall a month ago (because the Dodgers did not believe Alomar could play every day if Martin were injured) made Alomar even more extraneous as a third catcher. At the time, Dodgers manager Grady Little said he saw Alomar as a potential pinch-hitting option -- but he has used him just three times in that capacity since the June 27 trade.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Encarnacion's 14th homer in the sixth gave him four career multihomer games. Who in the world decided we didn't need him? …It wasn't such a happy birthday for Garciaparra (0-for-3) who turned 33. Also born on this date were the late Don Drysdale and Pee Wee Reese, whose jersey numbers were retired by the club in the same ceremony on July 1, 1984. Trainer Stan Johnston celebrated his 45th birthday as well.... St. Louis is a major league-best 27-9 in day games. ... The Cardinals are 16-4 against the Dodgers over the last three seasons. They also won three of four against Los Angeles in the 2004 division series. The Dodgers open a three-game intradivision series tonight against the San Diego Padres. Derek Lowe (7-7, 4.19) starts against Chris Young (8-4, 3.59).