But the relentless purging of former Dodgers from the organization during the various failed owners and general managers who have come and gone, make the Angel dominance so much the more bitter.
Young Jarred Weaver was certainly not overwhelming in his first-ever start in Dodger Stadium, but he was good enough to hold the Dodgers scoreless before yet another standing room only crowd. The Anaheim bullpen continued the shut out, stranding nine runners.
They loaded the bases in the second inning without scoring, had runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings without scoring, then had only one infield single over the final four innings. The offense finished with five hits, stranded nine runners and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers, 10 games over the .500 mark in one of the toughest divisions in the National League, saw their four-game winning streak disappear and slid back into second place after San Diego won. The Angeles, 15-games over .500, continued in a tie with Boston for the most wins in major league baseball.
The Dodgers nearly broke through in the second inning when Luis Gonzalez doubled yet again and Russell Martin rapped a single on the ground into left field. But Wilson Betemit bounced to the pitcher and Tony Abreu struck out on a high fastball. Andre Ethier walked to load the bases but Jason Schmidt was an easy out to end the threat.
Schmidt continues to worry the Dodger staff, his fastball topping out a 88. He allowed a soft, two-run single to Reggie Willits in the sixth inning and turned the game over to Rudy Seanez, who surrendered a single to Howie Kendrick, ending the scoring.
Reliever Chad Billingsley worked 2.0 scoreless innings and has now worked 12.0 consecutive scoreless innings over seven games. Since April 29, Billingsley is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA (3 ER/24.1 IP) and 30 strikeouts in 15 outings as the Dodgers inexplicably keep searching for a starting pitcher that can follow Penny, Wolf and Lowe in the rotation.
"We have concerns," manager Grady Little said of Schmidt. "I feel like we'll continue to run him out there and continue to build his strength and stamina."
Schmidt is now 1-4, 6.31 ERA, abandoned his slider and curve, making some think his shoulder is still injured. After having been crowned the Dodgers "ace" at his signing, he fared badly three times to open the season, went on the disabled list for seven weeks, and followed that with one quality start in three since returning.
"He's pitching with what he has, but he's not Jason Schmidt right now," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told Ken Gurnick of MLB. "Today he had better arm speed, but there's still times the ball's not coming out, whether it's the bursitis in that area that's not allowing his arm to function the way it should."
Schmidt was frank about it. "Something is still not right," he said. "I just don't feel like myself. It's not coming out as smoothly as I'd like. Whatever it is, I don't know yet. It could be mechanical, it could be anything. I'm not going to open a can of worms with this thing. It is what it's been since the beginning of the year. I feel fine out there, that's the crazy thing about it. It's not an issue of that discomfort right now. I was a little more free and easy today, but the command was lacking."
So the Dodgers $47 million free agent continues to struggle and new hitting coach Bill Mueller understands more clearly why the club needed a new hitting coach.
Randy Wolf (8-4, 4.06) opposes Kelvim Escobar (7-3, 2.89) today in the final game of the homestand and the series.
Score by innings Anaheim 000 030 000-3 Los Angeles 000 000 000-0 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 4 0 0 0 .283 Pierre cf 3 0 1 0 .279 Loney 1b 4 0 1 0 .357 Gonzalez lf 3 0 1 0 .288 Martin c 3 0 1 0 .288 Betemit 3b 3 0 0 0 .211 Abreu 2b 4 0 0 0 .260 Ethier rf 3 0 1 0 .262 Schmidt p 1 0 0 0 .143 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Garciaparra ph 1 0 0 0 .270 Billingsley p 0 0 0 0 .000 Kemp ph 1 0 0 0 .438 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Tomko p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz ph 1 0 0 0 .000 Totals 31 0 5 0 Anaheim 35 3 8 3 Error- Betemit (3). 2B- Gonzalez (15). CS- Pierre (7). LOB- Los Angeles 9, Anaheim 11. Los Angeles in h re-r bb so era Schmidt (1-4) 4.2 5 3-3 4 2 6.31 Seanez 0.1 1 0-0 0 1 2.87 Billingsley 2.0 1 0-0 1 1 3.09 Beimel 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 3.45 Tomko 1.0 1 0+0 0 0 5.33 WP- Schmidt 2. HBP- by Schmidt. T- 3:07. Att- 56,000.Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers, come came into the game with the most wins in the National League (39), are now 2-6 in Interleague games this season and 82-87 all-time, which includes a 27-34 mark in the Freeway Series. ...All three games against the Angels are sellouts. ...Los angeles has spent 54 days of the season in first place, ten in second and third, twice in fourth and opened the season in the cellar. PACKED HOUSE – The entire three-game series against the Angels is sold out and last night's paid attendance of 56,000 equaled the single-game Dodger Stadium regular season record. Los Angeles leads the National League in attendance with an average crowd of 45,389. ...Reliever Yhency Brazoban, who suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a strained right shoulder, said he will undergo an MRI when he meets with doctors tomorrow.