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Taming The Tigers

Posted By Dave Leonardis On May 23 2010 @ 12:25 pm In Los Angeles Dodgers | 1 Comment

All of the buzz surrounding yet another hot Dodgers start seemed to take a back seat after a fastballfrom Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso clanged off the dome of Tigers rookie outfielder Austin Jackson in the 8th inning of L.A.’s 6-4 win over Detroit last night. It was L.A.’s third straight win and moved the Dodgers into a first place tie with San Diego in the NL West, a feat that seemed improbable after the Dodgers porous April.

Rookie starter John Ely gave up his first walk in 89 batters but still went six strong innings, only giving up two and striking out three, for his third win of the season. Third baseman homered for the third time in five games and second baseman Blake DeWitt hit yet another RBI triple(after having two in the Astros series last week). Matt Kemp went yard for his ninth of the season and Manny Ramirez had his second consecutive game with an RBI after sitting out two games with a banged up pinkie toe.

All of that, however, was washed away by the scary moment in the eighth. The crazy part of Jackson’s headshot was that, with the Tigers having to abandon the DH due to playing in a National League ballpark, Jackson wasn’t even scheduled to start. However, manager Jim Leyland subbed in the hot-hitting rookie(.331, 1 HR, 11 RBI and 6 SB) for shortstop Adam Everett in the seventh and hit a broken bat single off a Ely in his first at-bat. Then, the next time up, he took a 2-2 pitch from Troncoso, that seemed to have got away from the reliever, right upside the head. Jackson made it the dugout under his own power and all signs point to there being no significant damage, which is a relief to members of both squads.

“You always get scared with those moments up and around the head area.” said Tigers catcher Gerald Laird. “It was scary.” added Dodgers manager Joe Torre. “It’s a frightening thing when pitchers are up and around the head, especially this time of  day where you can’t see the ball as well as you normally could.”  

“He got smoked pretty good.” Leyland said. “It’s one of those unfortunate things that happen, and it’s part of the game. He came around pretty quickly and he appears to be OK, but you’ve got to be extremely cautious with that type of situation.”

In the opener, starter Chad Billingsley continued to astound, allowing one run and striking out five in seven innings of work to improve his record to 5-2 as the Dodgers beat the Tigers 4-1 Friday. Closer Jon Broxton continued his bounce-back May by closing out both games for his 9th and 10th save of the season.  In a few short hours, Hiroki Kuroda will be looking for win #6 and L.A. will be looking for the sweep in the finale of the first interleague series of the season. He will be opposed by Rick Porcello(3-4, 5.93 ERA). This could be the Dodgers first shot at taking the lead in West as the Padres will be kicking off their series finale in Seattle against the always-dangerous “King” Felix Hernandez. After the Dodgers finish things up with Detroit, they’ll wave goodbye to Dodger Stadium for a week or so as they’ll be going on a six-game road trip that starts with three games at Wrigley Field with the Chicago Cubs then heads West to Coors Field for another three games with the Colorado Rockies.

The important things, however, is that Jackson is OK after what looked like some nasty chin music and that the Dodgers are back on top after underachieving throughout the season’s first month. Jackson isn’t expected to be in the lineup today as you have to think the Tigers will be extra careful with their stud outfielder. Still, all eyes will be on this afternoon’s finale as the Dodgers look to keep things going and the Tigers look for payback.

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