Broxton Groomed as Dodgers Closer

It probably is way too early to discuss the possibility of Jonathan Broxton replacing Takashi Saito as the Dodgers closer. But what happened in the final game of the Chicago series was a glaring reminder that the discussion will eventually have to take place.

With the Dodgers nursing a tenuous 1-0 lead, the flame-throwing Broxton blew away three consecutive Cubs batters in the eighth inning, each one of them going down swinging on a total of 13 pitches. Saito then came on for the ninth, had no command, walked two of the first three batters and wound up giving up the tying run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Geovany Soto.

Saito has blown three saves in 11 chances this season. He also is 38 and a finesse pitcher who doesn't have typical closer's stuff. Broxton is 23 and absolutely has typical closer stuff, but there is a question as to whether he is mature enough at this stage of his career to handle a role most in the organization assume will eventually be his anyway.

Throughout his first two seasons as the Dodgers' closer, Saito was more or less lights out, converting 63 of 69 save chances. This year, he has been solid, but not that solid.

Saito has battled a flu bug and a calf injury this season, and those might have been contributing factors to his relative unreliability. But this time, as he readily admitted after the game, there was nothing to blame it on but a lack of command.

Notes & Quotes
--INF Tony Abreu, who had been on the 15-day disabled list all season, will miss the rest of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right hip. The procedure carries a recovery time of about four months. Club officials are hopeful Abreu will be healthy enough to play in time for the Dominican Winter League season.

--SS Rafael Furcal will see a specialist to determine the soundness of his lower back. Furcal is on the 15-day disabled list and didn't make this trip because of concern his back would tighten up on the long flights. But he has experienced rapid improvement in recent days and has an outside shot of returning when the Dodgers begin a seven-game homestand on Monday.

--C Russell Martin went 3-for-5 and scored the Dodgers' only run. Martin is batting .471 (16-for-34) over his past nine road games. On the down side, he has now gone 25 consecutive games (101 plate appearances) since his last home run, which came on April 30.

--RHP Derek Lowe has gone seven consecutive starts without a win and has picked up a victory in just two of his 12 starts this season. In his past three starts, including two losses and Wednesday's no-decision, the Dodgers have scored a total of four runs. In his five losses this season, they have scored a total of eight runs.

--SS Chin-lung Hu went 0-for-4 and now is hitless in his past 15 at-bats. Hu likely is headed back to the minors when SS Rafael Furcal comes off the disabled list, but he stands a good chance of being the Dodgers' everyday shortstop or second baseman next season because both Furcal and Jeff Kent are free agents and Kent is likely to retire.

By the Numb3rs: 24 -- Consecutive at-bats with runners in scoring position in which the Dodgers failed to hit safely, a drought that finally came to an end with Russell Martin's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning May 25. The Dodgers went 3 1/2 games without a single hit with runners in scoring position. That included Friday night, when they lost to St. Louis 2-1 in a game in which they went hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Quote to Note: "You're thinking about a lot of things. You're trying to get your family here and trying to deal with all those little outside things. But once I got here, I wasn't really as nervous as I expected to be. Every time I pitch, there are some jitters. But really, it was more or less the same as any other game." -- Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, after making his big-league debut with six solid innings on Sunday against St. Louis.

*M*A*S*H* 4077 Report
OF Andruw Jones (torn cartilage in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24. He had arthroscopic surgery May 27, and he will be out four to six weeks.

SS Rafael Furcal (lower back tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 6. He was expected to be activated May 23, but was sore that morning. He might return as soon as June 2.

C Gary Bennett (plantar fasciitis in his left foot) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19.

3B Nomar Garciaparra (strained right calf) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 25. He continued to feel tightness in mid-May, delaying a potential rehab assignment.

RHP Jason Schmidt (right shoulder surgery in June 2007) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list and was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 20. He began a rehab assignment May 11, and he is expected to be in the minors the full 30 days allotted.

INF Tony Abreu (sore right hip) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 13. He had season-ending surgery on May 28.
Player Stats
(Our apologies that the stats are a day late. Tornados in the 
area knocked out, among other things, our internet connection)

   HITTERS

Gary Bennett, C
                 BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game      .000     0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games   .214    14    1    3    1    0    1    4    0
Season         .190    21    1    4    1    0    1    4    0

Andre Ethier, RF
                  BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game       .250     4    0    1    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games    .393    28    1   11    2    0    0    1    0
Season        	.307   166   25   51   11    0    4   19    2

Rafael Furcal, SS
                  BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game       .250     4    1    1    0    0    1    1    0
Last 7 Games    .375    32   12   12    2    0    2    5    2
Season        	.366   134   34   49   12    2    5   16    8

Nomar Garciaparra, 3B
                   BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game        .200     5    1    1    0    0    0    1    0
Last 7 Games     .240    25    6    6    0    0    1    5    1
Season        	 .226    31    6    7    0    0    1    5    1

Chin-lung Hu, SS
                   BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game        .000     4    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games     .143    21    1    3    0    1    0    1    0
Season        	 .170    88    9   15    1    1    0    6    1

Andruw Jones, CF
                   BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game        .000     1    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games     .143    21    2    3    0    0    1    2    0
Season        	 .165   133   18   22    6    1    2    7    0

Matt Kemp, RF
                   BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game        .500     2    0    1    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games     .273    22    3    6    2    0    0    0    1
Season        	 .312   173   24   54   11    2    3   28   10

Jeff Kent, 2B
                  BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game       .750     4    0    3    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games    .269    26    2    7    0    0    0    2    0
Season       	.242   153   16   37    6    1    4   22    0

James Loney, 1B
                 BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game      .200     5    0    1    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games   .125    24    3    3    0    0    1    1    1
Season         .272   195   23   53    9    3    5   29    2

Russell Martin, C
                 BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game      .600     5    1    3    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games   .346    26    1    9    2    0    0    2    0
Season         .317   180   24   57    8    0    3    20   4

Juan Pierre, CF
                 BA    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   SB
Last Game      .000     4    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games   .241    29    2    7    0    0    0    1    1
Season         .276   152   19   42    5    0    0   17   19

Delwyn Young, LF
                  BA   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR   RBI  SB
Last Game      1.000    1    0    1    0    0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games    .250    4    0    1    0    0    0    0    0
Season          .286   28    2    8    1    0    0    2    0

     PITCHERS

Joe Beimel      ERA    W-L  Sv    G    IP    H   HR   BB    K
Last Game      0.00    0-0   0    1   0.1    0    0    0    1
Last 7 Games   6.75    0-0   0    3   1.1    2    0    0    1
Season         1.13    3-0   0   26    16   15    0    6   13

Chad Billingsley 
                ERA     W-L  Sv   G    IP    H    HR   BB    K
Last Game      3.00    0-1   0    1     6    4     1    2    7
Last 7 Games   1.35    2-1   0    3    20    11    1    8   19
Season         3.68    4-6   0   12    59    49    3   31   67

Jonathan Broxton
                 ERA    W-L   Sv   G    IP    H   HR   BB    K
Last Game       0.00    0-0    0   1    1     0    0    0    3
Last 7 Games    0.00    0-0    0   3   3.1    2    0    1    6
Season          4.03    2-1    0  22   22    19   1     8   30

Hong-Chih Kuo	ERA    W-L   Sv    G    IP    H   HR   BB    K
Last Game      0.00    0-0    0    1    1     0    0    0    0
Last 7 Games   1.35    1-0    0    3   6.2    6    0    0    5
Season         2.32    3-1    0   11   31    25    2    9   38

Hiroki Kuroda	ERA    W -L  Sv    G    IP    H   HR   BB    K
Last Game      1.42    0-1    0    1   6.1    7    0    3    3
Last 7 Games   2.61    1-2    0    3   21    19    0    7   11
Season         3.29    2-4    0   11   68    68    5   21   37

Derek Lowe      ERA    W-L    Sv   G   IP    H   HR   BB     K
Last Game      0.00    0-0    0    1    7    4    0    2     5
Last 7 Games   4.26    0-2    0    3   19   19    2    5    13
Season         4.52    2-5    0   12   70   76    6   21    49

Brad Penny	ERA    W-L   Sv    G   IP    H    HR   BB    K
Last Game      5.14    0-1    0    1    7    4     0    2    5
Last 7 Games   6.63    0-2    0    3   19   22     2    7   13
Season         5.32    5-5    0   11   66   74     4   24   35

Scott Proctor	ERA    W-L    Sv   G    IP    H   HR   BB    K
Last Game      9.00    0-0    0    1    1     1    1    0    3
Last 7 Games   3.38    0-0    0    3   2.2    1    1    2    7
Season         5.25    0-0    0   23   24    21    6   13   26

Takashi Saito	ERA    W-L   Sv    G    IP    H   HR   BB    K
Last Game      9.00    0-0    0    1    1     1    0    2    0
Last 7 Games   2.25    1-0    1    3    4     3    0    2    6
Season         1.99    3-1    8   21   23    18    1    7   26
	

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