Angels Use Dodger Mistakes to win 4-2

Once upon a time in the wonderful land of Dodgers, the Brooklyn team would teach their players to do things their way -- in fact they had a book titled, "The Dodgers Way to Play Baseball." And all the young players in the minor league would perform the same way, so when you called one of them up to The Show, he would follow the book and it would seem he had been in the majors for a long time.

And they did pretty much the same thing with their managers, making a promotion from, say, Albuquerque to Los Angeles, a seamless thing.

But when the club fell into the hands of someone outside the Dodgers' family, let's call them FOX, they decided they knew more about the game than the other owner did, let's call him O'Malley, and they went on to teach them something completely different.

Now the Dodgers had a home-grown manager at the time, let's call him Russell, and a manager in waiting, let's call him Scioscia. But the same thing happened with the manager thing that happened with the player thing and, as you know, things went terribly wrong.

Not only that, Scioscia took that book with him when he moved down the freeway a bit and now his team is using the system and the team that developed the system isn't. He is 30-18 against his old team.

I hope that wasn't too confusing, but the results speak for themselves and let me list them again: Nine Angel wins in the last 10 game with the Dodgers at home and the 15th win in the last 18. They've also lost 24 of their last 28 road Interleague games.

This is not a criticism of the present Dodger players, managers or coaches. It's just the way things are, for good or bad.

It's sort of like inventing gun powder and then being blown up by someone else using it.

The same old story took place in Anaheim in the first game of the three-game series. Mike Scioscia, who spent 22 years with the Dodgers, 17 as a player, and his merry band of coaches: Mickey Hatcher, Alfredo Griffin, Ron Roenicke and Dino Ebel, (sound familiar?) gracefully accepted what the Dodgers gave them and when the dust has cleared, the Dodgers were on the wrong side of the scoreboard -- again.

"As a catcher," Torre explained, "he knows what type of club is hard to deal with. Like with Minnesota, he's conditioning the organization how to play the game. He encourages guys not to worry about making mistakes. Be aggressive, be aggressive, be aggressive.

"Sometimes it looks careless. But for the most part, playing against his club, you know that no matter the score, they're going to come at you all the time. And he has a feel for good matchups with his people in the bullpen.

"They cracked the door open a little bit and that helped us. It just comes down to playing good baseball when we've gotten the wins," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia said diplomatically as to his success against the Dodgers.

His team is leading the American League West by a game and one-half. "Over the years when they played well they have taken it to us. I really haven't looked back to see any rhyme or reason to it," he continued.

However, in the past nine games at Angel Stadium before Friday, the Angels had scored 5.3 runs per game while the Dodgers had scored 1.8. And the Anaheim pitchers have a 1.67 ERA compared to a a 4.56 mark for Dodgers pitchers. The Angels batted .273, the Dodgers' .223, had 13 steals to the Dodgers' three and made three errors to the Dodgers' 15.

Somewhere, Al Campanis, who write the book, must be smiling.

The game turned on little things, as close games usually do.

Dodgers catcher Gary Bennett threw the ball into right field for a three-base error after what would have been an inning-ending strikeout, allowing a run to score from first base and resulting in the first run of the game for the Angels.

Andruw Jones reached first base on a throwing error but when he made a slight move toward second base was tagged out after leading off in the fourth inning. A missed cutoff by fill-in rookie shortstop Luis Maza put an additional run in scoring position in the fifth inning.

The Angels scored a third run in the seventh inning on a walk by Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (1-3), two wild pitches and a groundball from Vladimir Guerrero that scored when catcher-turned-third baseman Russell made a bat throw home.

"In this type of game you look at those things and they're magnified," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Andruw reacted to an overthrow and all of a sudden realized it didn't go in the dugout or very far away. Those things are certainly errors of judgment. These are the kind of games where those things seem to stand out."

The Dodgers were held to five hits by left-hander Joe Saunders who improved to 7-1. He allowed a runner to reach second base in the first six innings came when James Loney and Luis Maza each singled in the fifth.

The Dodgers finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning when James Loney singled and Andre Ethier smacked his fourth home run to tie for the team lead.

And Torre lost again to the Angeles, the only team in baseball to have a winning record against his remarkable New York Yankee's team.

The top five batters for the Dodgers finished the night 1-for-19

Torre used yet another lineup with Juan Pierre in left, Kemp in center and Ethier in right and using Andruw Jones the DH spot because Jones had a "catch" in his back that bothered him when he ran in the outfield but not when he batted. The same malady has sidelined Rafael Furcal and Blake DeWitt.

With the loss, the Dodgers fall to 21-20 and 5 1/2 behind the Diamondbacks.

In what looks like a colossal mismatch, Ervin Santana (6-0, 2.63 ERA), who hadn't allowed an earned run in recent wins over Oakland and Kansas City, will face Chan Ho Park (1-0, 2.16). Park has been effective in 12 appearances out of the bullpen, but he hasn't made a start in more than a year. Then he allowed seven runs in four innings while pitching for the Mets on April 30, 2007, in a loss to Florida. Park will make his first Dodger start since 2001.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 200-2
Anaheim        	000 120 10x-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  0  0  0  .287
Jones dh	4  0  0  0  .176
Kemp cf	        3  0  0  0  .302
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .236
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .307
Loney 1b	4  1  2  0  .290
Ethier rf	3  1  1  2  .298
Maza ss	        3  0  1  0  .333
Bennett c	2  0  0  0  .190
  Totals	31 2 5 2
  Anaheim	33 4 8 3

 Error- Bennett (1), Martin (4). HR- Ethier
(4). RBI- Ethier 2 (17). LOB- Los Angeles 4,
Anaheim 9.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda (1-3)	6.1  7  4-3  2  5  3.67
Beimel	        0.1  1  0-0  0  0  0.67
Proctor	        1.2  0  0-0  1  0  5.31
 Wp- Kuroda 2, Proctor. T- 2:48.
Att- 44,047.
Back, Back, Back
It sounds like a home run call on SportsCenter, but it is an epidemic that has now struck rookie third baseman Blake DeWitt, who missed another start Friday night with his stiff lower back. Andrew Jones has a touch of it and didn't play in the field last night. Rafael Furcal has seemingly responded to a cortisone injection and rejoined the club for continued therapy, but still has not resumed any baseball activities and said he probably won't until Sunday or Monday. DeWitt's stiffness had been coming on for a week but he couldn't ignore it after feeling a twinge while fielding a slow roller in Milwaukee and throwing across his body to first base. The infielder injuries (Furcal, DeWitt, Nomar Garciaparra, Andy LaRoche, Tony Abreu) provided playing time for Hu, but he's hitting .200 with one extra-base hit in 55 at-bats. Management may decide if Hu should stay as a Major League reserve or if he would be better off playing every day at Las Vegas. That may depend on how Maza plays shortstop. He's a natural second baseman who also has experience at third base, but he's rarely played shortstop.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Former Dodger Jason Werth connected for three home runs and had eight RBIs to match a Philadelphia record in a 10-3 victory over Toronto Friday night. Werth had a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game in the seventh inning, but he fouled out to first base. ... The Dodgers signed former major league outfielder Mark Bellhorn, who hadn't been to spring training with anyone, and sent him to Jacksonville. In his debut he was 2-for-2 with a double and doubled again in his second game last night. Bellhorn has played all three infield positions plus the outfield with the Athletics, Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, Padres and Cincinnati. ...Andruw Jones passed Ralph Kiner and Vladimir Guerrero into 63rd place on the all time HR list, with his 370th in Milwaukee and Jeff Kent tied Ralph Kiner and Vladimir Guerrero for 65th place on the all time HR list, with 369.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories