May 27, 2012 8:25 p.m.
What else could you call a game that featured five hits from 35-year-old Jerry Hairston Jr., a home run from 36-year-old catcher Matt Treanor and seven innings from 33-year-old left-hander Chris Capuano?
And they weren’t even the oldest players the Dodgers used, since 38-year-old Bobby Abreu came off the bench to contribute a run-scoring walk in the seventh inning, cementing a 5-1 win by the Dodgers over the Houston Astros.
So although the Dodgers have survived a recent spate of injuries thanks to a handful of 20-somethings called up from the minors, Sunday they turned to a quartet that has played 47 seasons for 22 big league teams.
“We do have a mix of old and young,” said Treanor, who had two hits and scored twice, putting the Dodgers ahead to stay with a home run in the fourth inning. He is helping to bridge the generation gap in the clubhouse.
“When you come into a clubhouse as a young player, and now you’re feeling part of the group, it’s going to ease some of that outside anxiety,” he said. “Now you can just concentrate on the game. It’s a good clubhouse. So it’s a good situation to be in.”
For a number of reasons, starting with the fact the Dodgers (32-15) have the best record in the majors, the winningest home mark (21-5) in the majors — the team’s best start at Dodger Stadium in more than 30 years — and have lost only four of 16 series.
And now, Hairston said, it’s up to the veterans to provide something else: perspective.
“We’ve kind of been there. We know what to expect,” said Hairston, who has played in the postseason twice, winning a World Series with the New York Yankees in 2009. “We know not to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got a long way to go.
“The veterans will stay on top of that. That’s the main thing veterans talk about, playing good baseball all the way through.”
Hairston certainly played good baseball Sunday. Batting third in the order for the first time in his 15-year career, he had five singles and a double, scoring a run and driving in another and raising his average 53 points. And that helped make a winner of Capuano (7-1), who gave up two hits and leads the majors in victories and is tied for fourth in the National League with a 2.14 earned-run average.
Not bad for a pitcher who three organizations gave up on before the Dodgers came calling. But then that description fits a lot of the Dodgers veterans.
Abreu was released by the Angels with nearly $9 million left in his contract and has hit .327 in 21 games. Hairston was signed as a free agent when Milwaukee didn’t bring him back and has played excellent defense at five positions and batted .381 in 22 games. And Treanor, signed to an $850,000 contract to back up A.J. Ellis, is hitting a career-high .290 after hitting a home run in consecutive games for the first time.
As Hairston said, there’s a long way to go. But if the Dodgers continue at this pace, they could truly wind up being a team for the ages.
“We’re going to need everybody to contribute,” Hairston said. “The pickups that we’ve had … have been huge for us. We know that we have the talent to do something special.”
Jerry Hairston was born on May 29th, 1976 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Hairston,_Jr.
May 29th, 1976
5 + 29 +1+9+7+6 = 57 = his life lesson = Bringing a tear to your eye.
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