Can You Imagine a 6'9" Koufax?

Mark Hendrickson just keeps getting better with age. Working in his third start as a replacement for the injured Jason Schmidt, he allowed two hits and no runs while winning his second game of the season, this one allowing the Dodgers to move 1.5 games on the Diamondbacks, who lost to Los Angeles by an identical score the day before.

He was helped by an excellent work out of the bullpen as Chin-hui Tsao and Jonathan Broxton worked hitless, scoreless innings and Takashi Saito gave up a scratchy run in the ninth but recorded his eighth save.

The Dodgers didn't exactly resemble the 1927 Yankees, collecting a pair of runs in the two victories but the pitching allowed 10 hits and two runs while allowing a .167 average.

L.A. got on the board in the sixth inning when Rafael Furcal's fly ball glanced off center fielder Chris Young's glove on the warning track. Pierre drove in Furcal with a single, giving him 10 hits in 22 career at-bats against Davis.

The Dodgers grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the sixth after D-backs center fielder Chris Young misjudged a fly ball off the bat of Rafael Furcal, dropping it at the warning track to allow Furcal to jog into second base. Juan Pierre hit a line single into right-center field to drive in Furcal.

The Dodgers picked up an insurance run in the eighth after Russell Martin hit a two-out single, then advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Andre Ethier on the first anniversary of his major league debut. The Dodgers were 5-for-24 with runners in scoring position during the series and Ethier had three of the hits.

The runs ended a stretch of 28 innings in which the Dodgers had scored only four times. Two of those runs came in the team's final at-bat -- one on Sunday in a 17-inning win at San Diego, and Tuesday night in a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks. They left the bases loaded five times during this three-game series.

But the story of the game was Hendrickson.

The Dodgers haven't had a lefthander start the season like Mark Hendrickson since Sandy Koufax back in the 1960s. OK, maybe the Koufax comparison is over the top, but this guy is really pitching well.

Obviously Mark doesn't throw 100 mph or have an overhand curve that falls off a table, but the results -- so far -- are extremely similar after Hendrickson's third start of the season, all victories.

The big lefthander has started three times:
Opponent     score     in  h  r-er bb so  era
Colorado     8-1      5.2  5  1-1  2  4  1.62
San Diego    6-5      5.0  2  1-1  1  2  1.66 
Arizona      2-1      6.0  3  0-0  1  7  1.30        
The Washington native has struck out 24 while walking just five and owns a 1.08 ERA(2 ER in 16.2 innings) in his three starts and batters are hitting just .159 (14-for-88) against the 6'9 southpaw this season  

When asked if his height (6-9) had anything to do with his effectiveness, he said, "It plays into it," said Hendrickson, selected in six separate baseball drafts from 1992-97 while playing for four NBA teams.  

"I mean, everybody in the big leagues has got some quirk or advantage that allows them to be effective. For some guys, it's an explosive fastball. For others, it may be just deception. For me, it's my height, so I have to use that to my advantage."  

Hendrickson, who was less than effective during the 2006 season, visited a sports psychologist in the off-season and is probably handing out the doctor's cards to various starters all over the league.  

Almost lost in the glow of Hendrickson's transformation was the fact that Tsao, picked up as a free agent in the off-season, has not allowed a run in 10 2-3 innings, and opponents have one hit in 31 at-bats against the right-hander, an average of .032.  

The Dodgers travel to Turner Field in Atlanta to take on the Braves in a three-game series, starting on Friday. Brett Tomko (0-2, 3.75) will go up against John Smoltz (3-1, 3.96) in the opener. Then they travel to Miami to meet the Florida Marlins for four games.
 Score by innings
Arizona	        000 000 001-1
Los Angeles	000 001 01x-2

 Dodgers	ab  r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  1  0  0  .210
Pierre cf	4  0  2  1  .283
Garciaparra 1b	4  0  1  0  .302
Kent 2b	        3  0  1  0  .317
Martin c	4  1  1  0  .312
Betemit 3b	3  0  1  0  .132
Ethier rf	3  0  1  1  .269
Clark lf	4  0  0  0  .235
Hendrickson p	2  0  0  0  .000
 Tsao p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  1  0  .263
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Martinez ph	1  0  0  0  .200
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	32 2 8 2
    DBacks	29 1 5 1	

 Error- Kent (3). RBI- Pierre (5), 
Ethier (12). LOB- Los Angeles  10,
Arizona 5. DP- Furcal, Kent and

 Dodgers	    in  h  r-er  bb   so  era
Hendrickson (2-0)  6.0  3  0-0  1  7  1.30
Tsao	           1.0  0  0-0  0  1  0.00
Broxton	           1.0  0  0-0  1  1  1.15
Saito (sv 8)       1.0  2  1-1  0  2  1.894
Dodger Blue Notes-- After averaging nearly five runs a game for their first 23 games, the Dodger offense has hit a snag, scoring just 12 runs (2.4 rpg) over its last five contests. During those five games, the Dodgers have left 51 men on base, an average of 10.2 per game. Before the drought, Los Angeles had left an average of 6.9 men on base. ...Pinch-hitter extraordinaire Olmedo Saenz cracked a long single off the left field wall in the seventh inning for his 38th pinch hit in a Dodger uniform, tying Mickey Hatcher for eighth place on the all-time Dodger pinch-hit list. Saenz is now one behind the late Mike Sharperson for sixth all-time. ...With their victory this afternoon, the Dodgers have won seven of their 10 series this season against just two series losses. The Dodgers and Rockies split a two-game series in Denver from April 18-19.