The Great American Ball Park is bringing back memories. A day after old friend Eric Gagne suffered his third blown save of the season against the Reds, erstwhile Dodger starter Chan Ho Park pitched three innings of relief, allowed two home runs...and got the save in Cincinnati. Having entered the game with a eight-run lead. (Meanwhile, former Dodger goat Lurch won his fourth game of the season for the Marlins. Brad Penny, after today's win, leads the Dodger staff with three. Hmmm.)
But the story of the day was the Dodger offense, suddenly alive again after collapsing like an accordion at a clown convention in Atlanta, thanks to what our Steve Sax calls "the tonic of the NL Central." The Dodgers have outscored the Pirates and Reds 32-12 over four games, today teeing off against Cincinnati's green starter Matt Belisle for 12 hits and 7 runs in four innings en route to a 9-3 victory.
Nomar Garciaparra justified Joe Torre batting him third in the order, hitting his first home run and batting in three, and the other bats are heating up: Russell Martin went 3-for-3, Andre Ethier 3-for-4, Matt Kemp 2-for-5. In fact, the only player still under the Mendoza line is Andruw Jones (.159), who went 0-for-4. Will Torre dare start a heretofore unthinkable outfield of Ethier, Juan Pierre and Kemp? Tune in tomorrow—same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
A win tomorrow (with Hong-Chih Kuo starting and Esteban Loaiza in the wings) would give the Dodgers much-needed momentum heading into a five-game homestand against division opponents: two games against the Diamondbacks (6 games ahead of the Dodgers in the standings) and three against the Rockies (5 games ahead). So help that old lady across the street and use that turn signal, because this team needs all the good karma it can get.