Eight Singles Won't Do It for Dodgers

The Bible tells us that the meek shall inherit the earth. But that probably doesn't pertain to baseball. Los Angeles attack was by all indications very meek last night in Atlanta, collecting six singles and leaving 11 men on base in a 4-0 loss.

Arizona and San Diego lost so the Dodgers game and one-half lead was still intact this morning but the game may have been pivotal for third baseman Wilson Betemit.

The young infielder was obtained from Atlanta last year for Willie Aybar and both of them have been under a cloud this season. Betemit is not hitting a lick (.125, second lowest in the National League) and Aybar, who allegedly has a substance problem, has left the Braves and cannot be contacted.

Betemit, who has been OK in the field, hit bottom Friday night, striking out three times (18 times in the last 56 at-bats) and leaving seven runners on base, four of them in scoring position, and sliding to 1-for-28 with two strikes (.036).

His teammates have fared little better. Dating back to the back-to-back home runs by Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez in the third inning of the 17-inning marathon at San Diego, the Dodgers have scored exactly six runs in their past 49 innings. During that span, they have stranded 55 baserunners.

Brett Tomko, now 0-3 on the season, deserved a better fate. He gave up a two-out, opposite field double that scored a pair of runs in the first inning and a two-out double to center that scored another pair in the fifth.

Atlanta came into the game leading the league in two-out runs and solidified their lead quickly.

Los Angeles left two on in the first inning, three on in the third, and two on in the eighth and were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

A paragon of patience, manager Grady Little, as patient a manager as the game has ever known, is sick of it.

"It is starting to be a real concern of mine, and we're going to have to make some changes, either with the batting order or the personnel or something," said Little, who didn't specify what those changes might be. "We have to start being a little more productive in those situations, and that is the bottom line."

Without any regular, Friday night it was second baseman Jeff Kent who was being rested, the club is essentially a six-man team. The final three in the lineup -- 7, 8 and 9 -- are of little help.

Of course, it doesn't help much when the pitcher isn't the only guy in the lineup who essentially is an automatic out. On three occasions - in the second, fourth and sixth innings - Wilson Betemit, an alleged switch hitter rumored to have potential as a power-hitting corner infielder, came to the plate with one out and at least two runners on - including once with the bases loaded.

The game never was a runaway and everything swung on two outfield plays. One a player made and one another player didn't.

In the top of the fourth, with the bases loaded and none out on singles by Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin, Andre Ethier popped up, Betemit fanned and Ramon Martinez, at second for Kent, hit a ball into the gap in left-center that Willie Harris ran down.

In the fifth, Tomko walked the bases loaded. Jeff Francoeur then hit a sinking liner of his own to shallow center, and the Juan Pierre ran in and appeared to have it with a diving catch. But the ball ticked off the end of his glove, turning into a two-run double and handing the Braves a 4-0 lead.

"We got guys on base, but we just couldn't capitalize," said Russell Martin, who went 2 for 4 and was stranded three times. "But it will change."

For the Dodgers (17-12), it doesn't get any easier tonight with Atlanta's Tim Hudson and 1.40 ERA on the mound. Derek Lowe (2-3, 4.62 ERA) is the Dodgers' choice to stop the bleeding.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles 	000 000 000-0
Atlanta	        200 020 00x-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  0  1  0  .209
Pierre cf	4  0  1  0  .282
Garciaparra 1b	4  0  1  0  .300
Gonzalez lf	3  0  2  0  .280
Martin c	4  0  2  0  .320
Ethier rf	2  0  1  0  .275
Betemit 3b	3  0  0  0  .125
 Billingsley p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .250
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
Martinez 2b	4  0  0  0  .182
Tomko p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Valdez 3b	1  0  0  0  .000
 Anderson ph	1  0  0  0  .222
    Totals	34 0 8 0
    Atlanta	29 4 8 4

 S- Pierre. HPB- Los Angeles 11, Atlanta
10. DP- Furcal and Garciaparra.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Tomko (0-3)	4.2  5  4-4  6  3  4.40
Beimel	        0.1  0  0-0  0  1  2.45
Billingsley	2.0  1  0-0  2  1  5.17
Seanez	        1.0  2  0-0  0  0  3.52
 T- 2:39. Att- 38.263.
Scios Winningest Angel-- After winning a World Series and reaching the playoffs three times in his tenure, Mike Scioscia is regarded by many as the greatest manager in Angels history. On Friday, he became the winningest. Scioscia, whom a certain Dodger front office didn'td think measured up, won his 626th career game to surpass Bill Rigney in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox in front of 44,126 people at Angel Stadium.

Saenz ties Hatcher-- Olmedo Saenz's pinch-hits in the final two games of the Arizona Series in Dodger Stadium moved him a tie with Mickey Hatcher for seventh place on the Dodgers' all-time franchise list and move him within five hits of Duke Snider and Mitch Webster who are tied for fourth place on the charts.

Saenz, who now has 38 pinch-hits, is only one behind Mike Sharperson at 39 and also moved into for fourth place on the career pinch-hit RBI list with 37, moving past Duke Snider.

Dave Hansen tops the career charts with 110 pinch-hits after passing Dodger great Manny Mota, who held both Major League mark for some time at 106.
The top 15:	        ab-hits	 ave
 1. Dave Hansen	        421-110  .261
 2. Manny Mota	        328-106  .323
 3. Chris Gwynn	        317- 52  .240
 4. Duke Snider 	147- 43  .293
    Mitch Webster	175- 43  .246

 6. Mike Sharperson	163- 39  .239
 7. Mickey Hatcher	156- 38  .244
 8. *Olmedo Saenz	134- 38  .286   
 9. Rick Monday	        156- 37  .193			
10. Lee Lacy	        117- 33  .282
    George Shuba	125- 33  .264

12. Len Gabrielson	124- 32  .258
13. Willie Crawford	130- 31  .239
    Von Joshua	        146- 31	 .212
15. Wally Moon	        141- 29  .206
Quote of The Day-- "Coming into the 2007 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were a popular pick to take the flag in the National League West. At present, the Dodgers rank a respectable fifth in the NL in runs scored, but when you look at their peripheral numbers (they rank eighth in average, eighth in on-base percentage and 12th in slugging), it's clear they're lucky to have scored as many runs as they have. Expect the offense to regress in the coming weeks. The team's strength, of course, is pitching. The Dodgers in '07 rank second in the NL in ERA and fourth in runs allowed. The bullpen is strong and should remain so, but don't expect the rotation to maintain its current level of performance. Moreover, don't be surprised if, after the D'backs' young bats finally wake up (and they will), Arizona begins to pull away in the West. They're simply a better team. The real problem, however, is that the Dodgers' offense won't hold up. When the Dodgers miss the playoffs in 2007 — and, barring a notable in-season addition or two, they almost certainly will — it will be because GM Ned Colletti didn't address the team's primary weakness: a lineup that couldn't hit for power."-- Dayn Perry, special to FOXSports.com.

Ferguson to Manage Riversharks-- Former Dodger major-league catcher and longtime coach Joe Ferguson, 60, returns to the field after a brief retirement, during which he took care of his ailing father, to become the manager of the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League.

During his 14-year major-league playing career, Ferguson was with the Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and California Angels. A fifth-round pick in the 1968 draft, he made his debut with the Dodgers, spending six seasons with the team. He became their regular catcher in 1973, a season in which he set a major-league record by committing only three errors.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Disabled Dodgers right-hander Jason Schmidt played catch Friday for the first time since being sidelined with shoulder bursitis after his April 14 start. "He made 40 throws of 50 to 60 feet and he did fine," said trainer Stan Conte. "It's really just another step in his whole rehab process. He did OK with that, and that is good. It isn't insignificant by any stretch of the imagination." …Left-hander Scott Elbert, a former No. 1 draft pick, has been transferred to Class A Inland Empire to continue his rehabilitation from shoulder tendinitis. Elbert, 21, made three starts for Double-A Jacksonville leading up to the injury and was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. In only 14 innings, he had 24 strikeouts, but also had 10 walks, seven in his last appearance, a three-inning start. ...Steve Henson of the Los Angeles Times reports that Yhency Brazoban about one month ahead of schedule in his recovery from elbow ligament replacement surgery. Finding a roster spot for Brazoban could be a challenge. Little is leaning toward expanding the pitching staff from 11 to 12 — especially in the wake of the 17-inning game. "It started entering my mind in the 13th inning, and stayed there the next day too," he told Henson. Trimming a position player would be a challenge. The two most expendable players, third baseman Wilson Betemit and utility player Wilson Valdez, would have to clear waivers before being sent to triple-A. The Dodgers believe Valdez could clear waivers but that Betemit would have no chance. ...…Jeff Kent was given a planned day off Friday and he really took it, not only replaced at second base by Martinez, but not taking part in batting practice. Kent is hitting .317 with 17 RBIs, but has only two home runs in 101 at-bats. …Mariano Duncan was back coaching first base after attending the funeral of his father in the Domincan Republic. "I'm going home for the All-Star break and I want to bring my mom here to spend time with me and my two brothers. When I left yesterday, it was hard, "Duncan said.

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