Dodgers May Also Need a Fourth Starter

With the main topic of conversation in the halls of Dodger Stadium about the need for a fifth starter after Jason Schmidt went on the disabled list has expanded to also finding a fourth starter. Mark Hendrickson, whose brilliant start saw his ERA under two for his first three efforts, was pounded 11-4 in a game not nearly as close as the score indicated.

After Brad Penny and Derek Lowe beat Washington 5-0 and 10-0 and allowing a total of nine hits in the first two games, the tables were turned in the final game of the series and the Dodgers were under it.

The Nationals, held to a single extra base hit in the first two games, picked up the second and third in rapid order as Chris Guzman doubled and Ryan Zimmerman homered with one out in the first inning. Hendrickson also allowed two more singles in the first but no more runs.

The Nationals started a soft-throwing finesse pitcher Micah Bowie, much like Hendrickson, and he out-finessed the Dodgers long enough for his teammates to pile up a 6-1 lead that L.A. could never cope with.

Rafael Furcal, the hottest hitter in the Dodgers lineup, was jumping off the ground in an attempt to connect with the breaking balls served up by Bowie and the shortstop's 15-game hitting streak became a thing of the past.

In fact, the first four batters in the lineup, Furcal, Juan Pierre, Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent, were a combined 1-for-16 against an array of Washington pitchers.

The Dodgers might have a vacancy in the bullpen, too. Yhency Brazoban took over for Hendrickson and took a three-hop grounder back to the box and threw it into foul territory, then gave up an intentional walk to load the bases and a two-run single before signaling to the bench his shoulder was aching and left the game.

The big right-hander is just over a year beyond a Tommy John surgery.

The National's put five on the board in the eighth to gain a bit of revenge for the pasting they received in the first two games.

Hendrickson, however, must be the main topic of concern for Grady Little and his staff after the 6-9 lefthander gave up eight hits and five runs before leaving with one out in the fifth.

He posted a 1.08 earned run average over his first three starts, winning two of them. Then during his last five starts, including the Friday night affair, his earned run average has been 7.11 and he has lost three of the five outings.

His record as a starter:
 Starts 1-3
date     score opp    in   h r-er  bb so  era
4-19 (1-0) 8-1 Colo  5.2   5  1-1  1  2  1.61
4-27       6-5 SD    5.0   2  1-1  2  4  1.70
5- 2 (2-0) 2-1 Ari   6.0   3  0-0  1  7  1.08
             Total  16.2  10  2-2  4 13  1.08

 Starts 4-8      opp  in  h r-er  bb so  era
5-9         5-6  Fla  4.2  5  5-3  3  4  2.11
5-13       10-5  Cin  5.2  8  5-4  3  3  3.00
5-19 (2-1)  2-6  Ana  6.2  9  6-5  2  3  3.75
5-26 (2-2)  2-4  Chi  5.0  9  4-4  0  4  4.20
5-31 (2-3)  4-11 Wash 4.1  8  5-5  1  3  4.81

                       in  h r-er  bb so  era
  Last five starts   26.2 39 25-21 9 17  7.11
Catcher Russell Martin seems to be very much an All-Star, lining another homer in the second inning over the center field wall in cavernous RFK. It was the only run the Dodgers could come up with until the sixth when they mounted their only serious threat of the game.

Tony Abreu, coming into the game in a double switch when Hendrickson was excused for the evening, doubled to lead off the sixth. Furcal drew a 10-pitch walk and Pierre forced him at second. Garciaparra hit a soft single to right, driving in Abreu. After Kent popped up, Luis Gonzalez rolled a single through the right side of the infield to knock in Pierre.

But Martin bounced out to end the inning. A Wilson Betemit pinch-double, his sixth pinch-hit in 11 trips, and Abreu's sac fly scored the final Dodger run in the eighth.

Washington battered Jonathan Broxton and Rudy Seanez in the eighth for five runs and cap the ugly evening, the last the Dodgers will play on RFK Stadium, a fact that will displease none on the club.

With the season exactly one-third completed the Dodgers, Padres are tied for first place with 31-22 records and and Diamondbacks only .003 percentage points back in third place at 32-23.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	010 002 100- 4
Washington	201 030 05x-11

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .302
Pierre cf	4  1  0  0  .276
Garciaparra 1b	4  0  1  1  .288
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .273
Gonzalez lf	4  0  2  1  .291
Martin c	3  1  1  1  .303
LaRoche 3b	2  0  1  0  .216
 Tomko p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Betemit ph	1  1  1  0  .193
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Clark ph	0  0  0  0  .234
Ethier rf	4  0  1  0  .272
Hendrickson p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Brazoban p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Abreu 3b	2  1  1  1  .273
   Totals	33  4  8  4
   Washington	37 11 14 11

  Error- Brazoban (1). 2B- Abreu (2), Betemit (5), 
Gonzalez (8). HR- Martin (5). RBI- Martin (37),
Garciaparra (20), Abreu (1). SF- Abreu. CS- LaRoche
(1). LOB- Los Angeles 6, Washington 8.

 Los Angeles	        in  h  r-er bb so  era
Hendrickson (2-3)	4.1  8  5-5  1  3  4.17
Brazoban	        0.0  1  1-0  0  0 16.20
Tomko	                1.2  2  0-0  0  3  5.66
Beimel	                1.0  0  0-0  0  0  3.75
Broxton	                0.2  2  4-4  2  2  2.89
Seanez	                0.1  1  1-1  0  0  3.08
 T- 3:15, Att- 20,982.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Washington may be in last place in the N.L. East but they seem to have a competent advances scouting staff. The Nats ran confidently on the bases on any hit into the outfield. The word is certainly on the street that the Dodger outfielder's cannot throw anyone out, but then, of course, no one can keep a secret in Washington. ...While Furcal's 15-game streak thudded to the ground, Luis Gonzalez hit in his ninth game and has batted ..424 (14-for-33) during that time. It is amazing to realize that in 1924 Rogers Hornsby finished the season with that exact average. The streak has boosted his average over 30 points. "I made some minor adjustments," Gonzalez told the Los Angeles Daily News. "I worked a little bit with hitting coach Eddie Murray, just trying to shorten some stuff up a little bit. It's just part of the game. You're always tinkering with things." ...Little refused to select a fifth starter for todays game in Pittsburgh but left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo is the odds-on favorite. He did say, however, that Chad Billingsley will not be the one anointed, saying the is too important out of the bullpen. Chad seems to be a victim of his own excellence. ...Reliever Chin-hui Tsao is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list but he continued to feel pain. He will throw again today. ...A record may have been set Friday night that no one noticed when 6-9 Mark Hendrickson started for the Dodgers and 6-11 John Rauch relieved for Washington in the eighth. The 13-foot, eight-inches of pitcher (plural) working in the same game was, if not a record, certainly unusual. ...The exodus continues in Las Vegas as veteran outfielder Larry Bigbie, who is hitting .349, has informed club officials that he will exercise the escape clause in his minor-league contract when it kicks in today, assistant general manager Kim Ng said. That will make Bigbie a free agent and officially end his ties with the Dodgers. Bigbie, like James Loney, is stymied by a predominantly left-handed hitting team at the Major League level.. ?

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