Dodgers face tough time without Ethier
Manny Ramirez will play an integral role in the success of the Dodgers if Ethier sits out for any period. Nothing really fazes Manny, and that could be a huge plus for the team. Maybe the other players will feed off Manny's energy and hold off from pushing the panic button. Week to week, the National League West race is like rolling a pair of dice. The division seems to ebb and flow. One week the Giants play well, then the Dodgers, then the Padres. You just don't know who is going to step up -- or when. Right now the Dodgers are on a hot streak. With the possibility of Ethier being out, the Dodgers have a big test ahead of them.
John Kruk is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."
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Baseball Tonight analysts, ESPN.com writers and SweetSpot Network bloggers chatted and gave their in-game opinions throughout the day's games -- all in Baseball Tonight Live.
Touch 'Em All
Who went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Jayson Werth, PHI||8||PIT||Bot 3: 3-2, 2 Outs. 2 on.||Morton|
|Corey Hart, MIL||6||CIN||Top 4: 2-1, 1 Out. None on.||Cueto|
|Delmon Young, MIN||4||TOR||Top 2: 3-2, 0 Outs. None on.||Eveland|
|Jose Bautista, TOR||11||MIN||Bot 2: 3-2, 0 Outs. 1 on.||Slowey|
|Eric Hinske, ATL||2||NYM||Bot 5: 0-2, 0 Outs. None on.||Pelfrey|
Tuesday's Best Matchups
Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET
After a wild series opener on Monday, they go at it again, with two of the bigger names in each rotation walking out to the Yankee Stadium mound. CC Sabathia has done pretty much what the Yankees expected, starting 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA. Josh Beckett, well, that's a different story. He is 1-1, but carrying around a 7.64 ERA.
Pirates at Phillies, 7:10 p.m. ET
Roy Halladay ranks in the top 10 in the National League in seven different categories. Along with his 6-1 record, Halladay leads in the NL with three complete games and has a baseball-best 62 1/3 innings pitched.
Giants at Padres, 10:05 p.m. ET
Over his past two starts, stretching across 17 innings, the Padres' Mat Latos has not allowed a run or a walk and given up only three hits. And he has also struck out 15. Jonathan Sanchez is just hoping for a little help. He enters with a 2.66 ERA, yet takes a 2-3 record with him to the mound.
BASEBALL TONIGHT ON THE AIR
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Analysts: Bobby Valentine, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian, Chris Singleton
|12:30 a.m. ET on ESPN|
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Analysts: Bobby Valentine
Buck Stops Here
WEB GEMS LEADERBOARD
MONDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTEdwin Jackson, RHP, Diamondbacks
Jackson had no trouble at all with the Marlins. He scattered four hits over eight shutout innings and struck out 12 in the Diamondbacks' 5-1 win. What made it even more impressive? It was hard to see it coming. Jackson had lost each of his previous four starts, giving up 27 runs and 35 hits in 20 innings.
WORSTJonathan Papelbon, RHP, Red Sox
Papelbon entered with the Red Sox holding a 9-7 lead after fighting back from an early hole handed to them by a rough first inning from Daisuke Matsuzaka. But Papelbon served up a two-run shot to Alex Rodriguez to tie the game. A few moments later, Marcus Thames belted another two-run shot to hand the Red Sox a crushing 11-9 loss.
John Lackey has never been a strikeout artist. He's never struck out 200 in a season nor reached the hallowed ground of recording one strikeout per inning for a season. But this year, it's getting a little ridiculous. He's striking out batters at a career-low rate (5.58 per nine innings) and he's getting battered around the park, such as he did in a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. This isn't what the Red Sox thought they were buying with their $85 million.Normally, when a pitcher has an unexpected bad start, the traditional "luck" statistics (batting average on balls in play, strand rate and home run rate) tell the tale. But in this case, they don't. Lackey has a .308 batting average on balls in play (which usually ends up at .300 across baseball) and has stranded exactly 70 percent of runners, which is also right around league average. He's even giving up the standard amount of home runs per fly ball (8.5 percent this year, usually around 10 percent across baseball). It's not a case of poor luck, it seems. Looking at batters' swing rates when they step in the box against Lackey doesn't help much, either. Batters are reaching at offerings outside the zone about as often as usual. It seems that Lackey is missing the zone a little (45.2 percent in the strike zone, 50.4 percent career) and batters are making more contact than usual (84.1 percent contact rate, 80.3 percent career). But why are batters making more contact with his pitches?