Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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Kevin Goldstein released his list of the top eleven Dodgers prospects and it’s an interesting one. First off, there’s no five star guys and only one four star prospect. The good news is, you have a boat load of three star guys and while there’s not a lot of star talent, there’s plenty of guys who could pan out and play a supporting role on a good team.
Zach Lee is the top guy and he’ s the four star. The problem with him, like a lot of other Dodgers prospects, is that they’re several years away. Lee had a solid season at Low-A and he’ll be tested at High-A in 2012. Still, it’ll be fun watching this first round draft pick and he moves up the ladder.
Nathan Eovaldi is one of the guys who’s closest to making his big league impact and he’s number two on the list. He pitched for the Dodgers in 2011 and he had a nice showing at Double-A but he may be the odd man out with all of the arms the Dodgers signed in the offseason.
Another pitcher, Allen Webster, is third. He’s probably a year away but he’s a good minor league season away from pitching for the Dodgers. Left hander Chris Reed and righthander Garrett Gould round out out the top five.
The Dodgers signed two of their arbitration eligible players but Clayton Kershaw is the big elephant in the room. Kershaw is asking for $10 million after his Cy Young season while the Dodgers are looking for $6.5 million. This isn’t going to end well for the Dodgers so my guess is they settle pretty soon. I just hope they get a deal done before Kershaw gets too annoyed.
Andre Ethier and James Loney both signed. Etheir signed a $10.95 million deal while Ethier will make $6.375. For a team that has an owner that’s on the financial ropes, the team seems to be throwing a lot of money around. At least these are only one year deals though although I’d like to see them lock up Kershaw next year to a longer team deal. I’m hoping that’s the first priority of the new owner.
Mike MacDougal was one of the bigger surprises for the Dodgers in 2011. He came back from a rough 2010 season and threw 57 innings with 41 strikeouts and a 2.05 ERA. He had a nice season in 2008 in his final year with the White Sox but 2009 and 2010 were rough campaigns.
It’s only for $1 million so there’s not a lot of risk and if he has another nice season, there’s a 2013 option. The Dodgers have quite a few bullpen options but this signing gives the Dodgers some extra depth at a low cost.
The Dodgers signed right handed starter Aaron Harang to a two year, $12 million deal. Harang found new life with the San Diego Padres last year after a rough finish to his time in Cincinnati. Still, Petco Park is a pitchers haven so it’ll be interesting to see how much of his success was a solid comeback and how much was the pitchers park.
Harang gets $3 million in 2012, $7 million in 2013 and then there’s a vesting option for 2014 if he throws at least 360 innings over the two seasons. Harang was 14-7 last year with a 3.64 ERA but it was his first good season since way back in 2007. To put it into perspective his 3.64 ERA was just a 98 ERA+ because that adjusts for park factors so he was about an average pitcher. Fortunately Chavez Ravine is more of a pitchers park as well, just not in Petco’s league.
The Dodgers filled a hole in their rotation by signing left handed starter Chris Capuano to a two year, $10 million deal. He had a rough season for the Mets last year where he went 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA. His best season is six years away when he went 18-12 with the Brewers back in 2005.
Capuano did have some decent rates though. He struck out 8.1 per nine innings and walked just 2.6. His batting average against was .270 though and right handed hitters belted him hard with an .818 OPS against. He also seemed to run out of gas because his second half was a little rougher then his first. He did have a gem of a game on August 26 though. He struck out 13 and gave up just two hits against the Braves in his first shutout since 2006.
I think Kemp got robbed. He finished second in the MVP voted behind Ryan Braun. This was clearly a case of Braun getting more recognition because his team was better. Kemp got 10 first place votes, sixteen second place votes and six third place votes. This compared to Braun’s 20 first place votes and 12 second place votes. Prince Fielder came in third and he got one first place vote and Justin Upton came in fourth and he also had a first place vote.
Clayton Kershaw came in twelfth in the voting. He got as high as a fifth place vote and he was named on eleven ballots. No other Dodger received a vote, which wasn’t too surprising for the mediocre season the team had.
Kemp got his payday too. Now we just have to hope he can carry all of this over to next year. Heck, for the next decade. You’d hope this does wonders for Dodgers tickets sales too. You figure with the Dodgers locking up Kemp, that’s worth a piece of those tickets by themselves.
The Dodgers may have a defacto owner but they locked up one of the best players in 2011 for the forseeable future. The Dodgers signed Matt Kemp to an eight year, $160 million deal today. This is the biggest contract in the team’s history and it surpasses the $105 million deal they have Kevin Brown back in 1998. If Kemp doesn’t win the MVP this year, then he got robbed.
Kemp gets a $2 million signing bonus an while he’ll make just $10 million in 2012, it goes up quite a bit from there. He’ll make $20 million in 2013, $21 million in 2014 and 2015 then $21.5 million from 2016 through 2019. It’s the biggest deal ever given to a National League player and the seventh largest deal ever in either league.
Kemp made just under $7 million in 2011 which was quite the bargain for what we got out of him. It’ll fun seeing him in a Dodgers uniform for years to come.
Offense was a problem at times for the Dodgers. Take away Matt Kemp, who’s probably going to win the MVP this year and things thin out pretty quick. Still, the Dodgers offense had some strong points and since we already mentioned Kemp. Let’s talk about him. He came a home run short of 40/40 and for a while it looked like he might win the triple crown. He also set personal bests in just about everything and he did it all with pretty good defense.
After that, you had James Loney and Andre Ethier. Ethier only played in 135 games but he struck out 103 times. Still, his .789 OPS was second best to Kemp. Loney was right behind and he had a little better strikeout to walk ratio and he belted 12 home runs with 30 doubles.
Juan Uribe was a disappointment. I’m not sure what happened to his power but his slugging percentage in 2011 was .293. Tony Gwynn also had a tough time and he hit just two home runs in 312 at bats.
So the Dodgers have some holes they need to address. Of course first the Dodgers have to address their ownership issues before they’re probably able to make some big moves out on the field.
PHOENIX — Matt Kemp was not on a playoff contending team. That does not mean he should not win the NL MVP or batting championship.
Kemp was virtually the Dodgers offense game in and game out. Without him, Los Angeles finishes fifth in the West.
He led the National League in home runs and RBIs and finished third with a .324 batting average. He also led the league in runs, 115, and total bases, 353. Those are MVP numbers regardless of the team he played for and he deserves the awards. We had the same discussion about Felix Hernandez one year ago today about the AL Cy Young and he rightfully was given the award. The same should be done for Kemp who had to carry his team in certain games this season.
Los Angeles in their final game of the 2011 season had some competition even though early it looked like an easy victory. The Dodgers led 7-0 through seven-innings before the Diamondbacks scored five in the ninth, but fell two runs short of sending it to extras.
Kemp sent a two-run home run to left for his 39th of the season in the seventh. He had one last opportunity in the ninth to join the 40/40 club, but evidently struck out swinging.
Despite a scare of a grand slam that was followed by a solo blast, Los Angeles kept their cool and got the next two batters out to defeat the 2011 NL West champs before they open divisional play against the Brewers.
Whatever Kemp did in the offseason, he needs to do it again and bring along some of his teammates too if they want to have a better season than the one they all had. Kemp was the only reason to go to a Dodger game this season.
It has been a fun and a surprisingly fast season covering the Dodgers since mid-February when pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. I will watch Matt Kemp more closely now and hope to see him get a ring soon.
LOS ANGELES — Shiver me timbers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers sank the Pittsburgh Pirates to the depths of the ocean, destroying them 15-1 for a four game series win in front of 37,802 Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers compiled 23-hits in the effort.
With the blow out though, Los Angeles only left the park twice to make up four of the fifteen runs. Matt Kemp homered for his 34th of the season, and Jerry Sands crushed a pitch for a three run blast in the second that gave the Dodgers a 9-0 lead.
Dee Gordon led things off with a triple in the first as Jamey Carroll followed with an RBI-single. Sands closed out the first with another RBI-single to give Los Angeles a 3-0 lead.
But, in the second, the Dodgers unloaded the canons and hit the Pirates hard for six two-out runs. Kemp kept the inning alive with single to drive home starter, Chad Billingsley. Juan Rivera then followed by singling to advance Kemp to third, putting runners at corners for Loney, whose two RBI double allowed the lineup to keep moving.
Aaron Miles took a four-pitch walk right before Sands three-run home run all but put this game out of reach as the Dodgers now led by nine.
However, the Dodgers were not close to being done yet. Dee Gordon led-off the next inning with a walk as Kemp’s double put both runners in scoring position. Rivera’s bases clearing single increased Los Angeles’s lead now to 11.
By the fifth, Pittsburgh finally got on the board, but the lone run would not erase the embarrassment felt by the Pirates players. Chase d’Arnaud singled and scored the Pirates only run on Xavier Paul’s RBI-double. Those two hits made up the seven total hits Pittsburgh had in this game.
Los Angeles though got the run back in the home half of the inning as relief pitcher, Evan Meek walked in the twelfth Dodger run. They would add three more runs in the sixth to conclude their rout of the Pirates, sending them on their way to a three set with the division-leading Diamondbacks.
The win does not do anything for Los Angeles besides maybe a mental boost for next season as the Dodgers have mathematically been eliminated from playoff contention, but can finish the season .500 or better. If I were the D-backs or Giants though, I would keep my eye on the Dodgers next year. They seem poised to make a run on the West crown in 2012 after disappointing many this season.
LOS ANGELES — Lucky number 7. That is the Arizona Diamondbacks magic number as they enter play with Los Angeles Tuesday evening. The division-leaders are 17-3 since August 23, playing the best baseball than any other team in the National League. Both Arizona and Milwaukee are tied, 86-62, for the next team to get home-field advantage in the divisional series behind the Philadelphia Phillies (94-50).
The race for the NL West is all but over, with the next countdown Arizona fans can do is the amount of games they may need to overtake the Brewers for a playoff series with the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field. Monday’s 7-2 victory over the Dodgers was a step in the right direction.
As the number five starter, Joe Saunders gave a great effort in helping his D-backs win, going seven-innings, allowing two runs on four-hits.
For a majority of the game, Arizona trailed as it appeared their bats would be silenced. But again, they lit up just one inning as they used that to defeat the Dodgers.
Matt Kemp’s solo home run in the first gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead till Arizona piled on five in the sixth.
Willie Bloomquist led-off with a single and scored on Aaron Hill’s RBI-double to left. Justin Upton was then intentionally walked and with Paul Goldschmidt batting, Hill stole third, giving Goldschmidt runners at the corners with one out. Easily enough, Goldschmidt singled on a grounder to left, allowing Hill to come home for the lead-changing score as Arizona grabbed a 2-1 lead.
Following the Goldschmidt RBI-single, Chris Young took a walk, loading the bases with still one out. Ryan Roberts single kept the lineup moving and the bases loaded as Gerardo Parra’s two run single concluded the five run rout of Los Angeles.
Trailing by four, Jerry Sands RBI-single was a nice stat for him, but it was not enough to crawl back in this one as the NL West leaders seem determined to keep winning, following each loss with a win or two.
Para extended the D-backs lead further as his two run double gave Arizona a five run lead and Saunders 11th win of the season.
With the Dodgers threatening in the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, manager Kirk Gibson was not going to lose this one, sending out J. J. Putz for the one out save opportunity. He succeeded for his 39-save. He has the odds in his favor to be a 40+ save man in the majors, something to be respected coast-to-coast.
WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg made his second return to the big leagues, but unlike his first performance, it did not end in a victory for Washington.
The flamethrower was limited to five innings where he shutout Dodgers hitters and limited them to just two hits through five. Strasburg may be should have been left another inning or two as Los Angeles was completely relieved to see someone else besides Strasburg the rest of the game.
As soon as he departed, the Dodgers scored seven unanswered runs in the last four innings of play.
Strasburg got an early lead and even contributed to his own effort in the second. Chris Marrero led the inning off with a double scoring on another double by Wilson Ramos that again went to Andre Ethier in right. Strasburg attempted a sacrifice bunt and ended up getting an RBI and standing at second on Ted Lilly’s throwing error.
The inning continued as Ian Desmond singled into right, advancing Strasburg to third with no outs in sight.
Finally, the Dodgers recorded an out on Jayson Werth’s groundout, but not before Strasburg came in for the run and a 3-0 lead that stood till the sixth.
That three run lead was erased in the sixth as the Dodgers began their comeback with someone new on the mound for Washington. The Dodgers got back-to-back singles by Jamey Carroll and Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp got the Dodgers on the board with his one-out RBI-single. A walk to Juan Rivera loaded the bases for Ethier.
With the count full, Ethier smacked a line drive up the middle to score Gordon and Kemp, tying the game 3-all in the sixth.
In the eighth, Los Angeles got the bases loaded again and again scored runs in key situations. Rod Barajas’s two-run double broke the tie and gave the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.
For the third time of the night, Los Angeles loaded the bases and actually scored a pair of runs. Until recently, the Dodgers struggled in these situations all season and have not been the team most experts believed they were going to be when the season opened in April.
Ethier had the bases loaded again and again drove in a pair of runs for four-RBIs on the night as he helped his team rally for seven runs with the departure of Strasburg.
Los Angeles has the luxury of playing an afternoon double header as Wednesday’s game was postponed. As soon as they finish their series with the Nationals, they will board the plane for a coast to coast trip to take on the Giants in a three game weekend set. Aces will duel it out in Friday’s opener as Tim Lincecum battles Clayton Kershaw.
ATLANTA — The Dodgers are hot, but hot too late in the season.
Los Angeles won their fifth straight game, now sitting three-games under .500, and just 10-½ games out, but it is the last month of the season. Had they been in this position at the All-Star break I might have given them a fighting chance to win the West. But, there are just not enough days left in the season to accomplish the impossible.
But do not let me the one to convince you otherwise; this entire season, the West has been anything but easy to predict as my pre-season pick had Arizona finishing last and now they are on the verge of winning a division title after spending the past two seasons in last-place.
Very quickly, the Dodgers found themselves in a 5-0 hole after three. Los Angeles was no-hit through three while the Braves seemingly had no problem hitting and scoring runs. Atlanta scored three-runs in the second on three RBI-singles, one of which was due to fielding error by Dee Gordon at shortstop.
In the third, Chipper Jones took a leadoff walk, followed by Freddie Freeman’s double to put both runners into scoring position with no outs. Jason Heyward grounded out to second baseman, Justin Sellers, but got an RBI on the play. The very next batter, Alex Gonzalez, doubled to left for another Atlanta run to go up 5-0.
However, in the fourth, the Dodgers began their battle at a comeback, scoring two in the fourth. Dee Gordon led-off with a single, with James Loney taking a walk and Matt Kemp getting hit by a pitch to load the bases with no-outs. Juan Rivera then hit a 2-run single to get the Dodgers on the board.
Rivera got his third RBI of the night in the sixth, currently driving in all the Dodgers runs for the night, as Los Angeles now just trailed by a pair of runs.
An inning later, the Dodgers’ got all over Braves relief pitcher, Arodys Vizcaino, for five-runs to grab an 8-5 lead.
After a Rod Barajas strikeout to start the inning, the Dodgers had the next eight batters all reach safely. Three straight singles led a to a bases loaded situation with Loney at-bat, hitting a bases clearing double to give Los Angeles their first lead of the night. After a wild pitch put Loney at third, the Braves loaded the bases again for the Dodgers which also proved to be disastrous. Andre Ethier hit a two-run single that scored the Dodgers fifth-run of the inning and eighth of the game.
Till the ninth, Los Angeles maintained their three-run lead. But no lead is safe against this Braves offense that possess the most late inning come from behind victories in the majors. And it seemed like this one had the early script of another Braves comeback as Dan Uggla hit a solo homerun to close the gap at two-runs and the next batter, Jones, taking a walk with the tying run at the plate. But the Dodgers were able to retire the next two batters to cruse to their fifth straight win.
LOS ANGELES — Ladies and Gentleman, he has done it again.
The Dodgers Matt Kemp had another walk-off hit to give Los Angeles a win in extras. The home run gave Kemp his 100th RBI of the season as Los Angeles used a five-run sixth to eliminate the deficit, going on to win 7-6 against the Colorado Rockies.
Chad Billingsley got roughed up by the Rockies’ bats early, proving that it would indeed by a long afternoon for the Dodgers starter. He pitched just six-innings, but during that span, allowed ten-hits which turned into four-runs, three of which were earned, throwing 123-pitches.
Colorado piled the runs on Billingsley in the third as three batters all reached base safely. Mark Ellis led off with a double, scoring the first run of the day on a Carlos Gonzalez single. The very next batter, Troy Tulowitzki, brought Gonzalez home and himself, sending a two-run bomb into the left-field seats.
The Rockies added another run in the fourth on Gonzalez’s second RBI-single, leading the Dodgers 4-0 through five-innings.
Despite being down four-runs in the sixth, the Dodgers’ actually grabbed a one-run lead, scoring five-runs in the frame.
With one-out and runners at the corners, Matt Kemp stepped up and hit a grounder to the third baseman who threw home, but Colorado catcher, Chris Iannetta, could not handle the throw as a run crossed the plate with runners at the corners again.
Juan Rivera then dropped a hit in front of the right fielder for an RBI, and Matt Kemp took third on a close play that appeared to have Kemp out at third, but another bobble by the Rockies defense allowed Kemp to be safe too.
With runners in scoring position and still just one-out, the Rockies gambled by walking Andre Ethier to apply the force at all bases. However, that worked to their disadvantage as Casey Blake doubled to left center for two RBI’s, tying the game 4-4.
With Blake standing at third, Jamey Carroll hit a grounder into right field that scored Blake, giving the Dodgers’ their first lead of the afternoon, 5-4.
However, Tulowitzki was thinking multi-day, as he sent his second home run of the game to left for a Rockies’ 6-5 lead.
Entering the ninth, hope was still alive as the heart of the Dodgers’ lineup was due up. It did not take long for the fans to be up in their seats again as James Loney hit a game-tying home run to prevent the loss for the time being.
Los Angeles’s bullpen was money in extras, getting three batters to strikeout and three others to groundout in both the tenth and eleventh as they did not allow a hitter to reach base.
Finally, the eleventh approached and so did a couple other things. The first being Kemp at home plate with one-out and no one on base. The other was a 0-2 solo home run for a game winner to give Los Angeles the 7-6 win. It was Kemp’s 31-home run and 100-RBI of the season.
The Dodgers’ look for the sweep in Sunday’s series finale as this will be the final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.
MILWAUKEE — Clayton Kershaw was finally able to put the sizzling Milwaukee Brewers in their place.
Milwaukee (73-52) has been on a tear of opponents since the All-Star break, having won 19 of their last 21 prior to Thursday’s matchup with Los Angeles. The Brewers’ were looking for their seventh straight win to go perfect a 7-0 on their seven-game home stand. Milwaukee also possess the best home record at 47-16, so other teams better keep winning if they want to avoid the Brewers’ having home field advantage in the divisional and championship playoffs; we already know that because of the All-Star game, whom ever wins the NL pennant, they will host the fall classic.
Kershaw (15-5) was phenomenal against a team that would intimidate any young pitcher. He went eight shutout innings in which he allowed just five-hits, lowering his ERA to 2.60.
Brewers’ starter, Marco Estrada, pitched five-innings in a losing effort as his surrendered solo homerun to Rod Barajas in the second-inning gave him the loss.
Milwaukee though struggled mightily offensively because their two big bats were silenced by Kershaw. Both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder went a combined 1 for 7 in Thursday’s loss to the Dodgers’.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Brewers’ had a great opportunity to tie the game at 1-all or jump ahead of the Dodgers’, but could not do so. Jerry Hairston hit a one-out double, but all Braun and Fielder could do was fly out to end the inning, giving their fans little to cheer for.
After that, Los Angeles scored two-runs apiece in the seventh and eighth en-route to a 5-1 victory over the N.L. Central leading Brewers’.
Barajas hit a two-out double to keep the seventh alive. Jamey Carroll then singled him home and Kershaw reached base on a throwing error by Milwaukee pitcher, Kameron Loe that allowed Carroll to score, giving Los Angeles a 3-0 lead.
In the eighth, the Dodgers’ extended their lead further as both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp went back-to-back on one-out singles. Juan Rivera’s sacrifice fly scored Ethier and a single by Aaron Miles gave the Dodgers’ their fifth run of the afternoon.
Milwaukee’s offensive must have been expecting a night game because that is when the bats came alive. Braun hit a one-out triple in the ninth, coming home for the Brewers’ lone run on Prince’s sacrifice fly. Casey McGehee followed with a single before Mark Kotsay popped out to end the game that prevented a Brewers’ four-game series sweep.
The Dodgers’ will now fly to Denver to take on the Rockies before having to travel back east to finish their season series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Then they will travel all the way back to the west coast for short six-game home stand.
LOS ANGELES — It took over nine-innings of baseball with zeros all across the outfield scoreboard, but the Los Angeles Dodgers were able to surpass the worst-team in baseball, the Houston Astros.
Matt Kemp, the NL MVP candidate, came through again in the tenth for a walk-off single to send the fans home happy. It was Kemp’s fifth career walk-off.
Through nine-innings of baseball, both teams limited their opponent to just three-hits. The ninth-inning though just about summarizes the season of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers Juan Rivera tripled to start the ninth-inning. In order to apply the force-out effectively, Houston relief pitcher, Fernando Rodriguez, intentionally walked the next two batters following Rivera’s triple.
Most teams around the majors and minors would thrive in this position, but the Dodgers failed, leaving the bases loaded with three opportunities to bring in just one-run for the victory.
Tony Gwynn struck out while both Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles grounded-out to end regulation, sending this one into extras.
However, it did not take long as Casey Blake led-off the home half of the tenth with a double. Andre Either was then intentionally walked to once again have the fore-out rule in effect with Kemp at bat.
With the count 0-2, Kemp hit flair into right-field that just stayed fair to allow Blake to come home for the game-winning run and a Dodgers 1-0 victory over the Astros.
David Carpenter suffered the loss for Houston while the Astros starter, Bud Norris, lasted seven-innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight in the effort.
Nate Eovaldi made his second career start for the Dodgers going six shutout innings while Josh Lindblom got the victory after pitching a perfect tenth.
PHOENIX — A pair of aces went head-to-head Sunday afternoon as Clayton Kershaw went up against the home team’s Ian Kennedy.
Kershaw (13-5) dropped only his second loss in his last ten starts, winning his last five. But two two-run blasts was just enough to give Kershaw his fifth loss of the season despite only allowing five-hits in the effort.
Ian Kennedy (14-3) has now won his last six-starts currently posting a 3.20 ERA after his seven-innings of work Sunday. Kennedy allowed three-runs on six-hits, but his bullpen entered to toss two-innings of perfect baseball as J. J. Putz had a one-two-three inning to earn his 26-save.
Kershaw was out of sync in the very beginning of the game, walking the first batter of game on four straight balls. He then proceeded to throw three more balls to run the count 3-0 before recording his first strike. But Kelly Johnson was not going to be an easy out and it showed as he took Kershaw long for a two-run homerun in the first to go up 2-0.
The Dodgers, James Loney, cut the Diamondbacks lead in half, homering in the fifth. In the sixth, Los Angeles jumped out to a 3-2 lead. Aaron Miles singled with one-out, coming home on Andre Ethier’s RBI-double to tie the game. Juan Rivera then gave the Dodgers a one-run lead with his RBI-single to center before he was thrown out at second to close out the inning.
However, that lead would be short lived as a second two-run homerun saw Arizona reclaim their lead. Cody Ransom hit his first career homerun to propel the Diamondbacks to a 4-3 victory over divisional foe, Los Angeles, in a half-empty stadium.
The Dodgers head back home to take on the best team in the majors, the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game series, going up against Roy Halladay in the opener Monday night.
LOS ANGELES — Matt Kemp continues to be the Los Angeles Dodgers only piece of offense, delivering again in a 9-5 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kemp is making himself a likely candidate for NL MVP, leading in RBI’s (80) and second in homeruns, trailing only Lance Berkman (27) by two.
In the game, Kemp went 2 for 5 with five-RBI’s. He hit a three-run homerun in the third-inning to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. In the fourth, all three Dodgers batters that reached base did so unintentionally as Eugenio Velez was walked and both Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier were hit by pitches to load the bases for the MVP candidate.
With two-outs, Kemp smacked a line-drive into center, bringing in two more runs for 5-2 lead after four. But like other sensible MVP candidates, Kemp would trade all his numbers among his teammates to position the Dodgers in a better state than they currently sit (48-57, 4th).
Arizona got things rolling with a solo homerun by Ryan Roberts in second.
In the fourth, Justin Upton reached second on a throwing error by Dodger starter, Ted Lilly. With Chris Young’s groundout advancing Upton to third, Xavier Nady’s RBI-single cut the Diamondbacks deficit to one.
The fifth through the seventh-innings saw Arizona score a run in each frame. Willie Bloomquist and Upton both had solo shots in the fifth and seventh respectively. Chris Young’s leadoff walk in the sixth would eventually come around the bases. Young took second on a wild pitch by Los Angeles reliever, Blake Hawksworth, scoring on Robert’s RBI-single.
However, after the stretch with the Dodgers only leading by a run, Los Angeles would unload on Arizona relief pitcher, Alberto Castillo, for three-runs in the inning.
James Loney hit a one-out single and Dioner Navarro would walk before Tony Gwynn’s hit was misplayed by Upton allowing Loney to score and advance both Navarro and Gwynn into scoring position for Jamey Carroll. Carroll’s sacrifice-fly advanced both runners on the play giving the Dodgers an 8-5 lead. Furcal followed with a RBI-double to further increase Los Angeles’ lead at 9-5 which also ended up being the final.
LOS ANGELES — Entering the 2011 season, there are very few individuals who would have believed that with the talent the Dodgers have on their roster they would be sitting last in their division. Even more surprises have included the Cleveland Indians pushing for a playoff berth as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas maintaining a lead in the AL West without Cliff Lee. In addition, the Washington Nationals are not bringing up the rear in the NL East as they have a majority of years since becoming the franchise they are today. Today though, Washington finds themselves only a game under .500 after their victory over the Dodgers Friday night.
Los Angeles continues to be a mystery to figure out. The Dodgers have talent but just are not using it consistently. Similar to last year, the Dodgers seem to be on their way to underachieving yet again and likely to finish under .500 in back-to-back seasons. Before the season even began, I said the only way the Dodgers could have any chance of staying up with the San Francisco Giants, was, for the team as a whole to have numbers similar to the 2009 season in which they held the National League’s best record.
The Dodgers lack luster offense once again displayed itself in front of a team that used to be the laughing stock of the Majors. The only Dodger playing his heart out is Matt Kemp who is also the only Dodger with double-digit homeruns (24) and only one with 50+RBI’s (72). The Dodgers managed to put up two-runs in the fourth-inning as Nationals pitchers threw a three-hitter.
Kemp got the offense rolling by being issued a walk to start the fourth. After Juan Rivera’s double advanced Kemp to third, a fielding error by Nationals shortstop, Ian Desmond, allowed both Kemp and Rivera to score the Dodgers lone two-runs.
Washington struck first, as Ryan Zimmerman kept the inning alive with a single in the first and stole second before being scoring the first run on Michael Morse’s RBI-double. In the second, John Lannan hit his first homerun of the season, a two-run blast, that gave the Nats a 3-0 lead.
But even with Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda stopping the bleeding after the second, the Dodgers could not overcome the one-run deficit and would later have no chance at a victory as Matt Guerrier surrendered a grand-slam to Jerry Hairston Jr. in the ninth that gave Washington a 7-2 lead.
Both starters lasted through 6 1/3 innings, but Lannan only allowed three-hits while striking out six. Kuroda struck out seven, but his seven-hits led to three-runs to give Los Angeles no chance. Washington’s bullpen then held off the Dodgers for the next 2 2/3 innings, no-hitting them during that short span.
I feel as though I am breaking some blogging law by using my Chicago roots to hate on Dodger-blue more, but it has become something I see in Chicago and then read about with the Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox are the same team, just in opposite leagues. Both teams have talented lefty starters in Clayton Kershaw and Mark Buehrle. Each team also has offenses that are more talented than the box score displays each night. You look at both teams prior to the season, and both should be in contention of a division title, but the offense shows up for little spurts, then goes away for long periods of time. Jake Peavy of the White Sox is right, the only way he and his cast of starters (I will also include the Dodgers staff) can earn a win, is, if they go out each game and throw a perfect game.
PHOENIX — Five-hits a piece and homeruns by each team in the second-inning was the only comparison in the Los Angeles Dodgers loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers lost 3-2 as a three-run homerun was too much to overcome to continue their winning streak which ended at five.
Los Angeles closed out the first-half on a four-game winning streak, but has opened up part two of the season losing a three-game series to the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The only bright side was Matt Kemp being able to continue the hatred against him since the Homerun Derby by sending another homerun, a solo shot, into the bleachers.
Starter Hiroki Kuroda lasted through six in a losing effort, surrendering all three-runs on a bad pitch that left the park. Kuroda though has pitched well and he continues to post an ERA in the low three’s (3.13).
Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks though has really shown his ability this season to pick up the task of number-one overall and reliable starter for his club. He earned his win number ten, good for ninth overall among starters and is posting a 3.39 ERA.
Kennedy pitched seven-innings and got seven strikeouts too with his only “big” mistake being a solo shot that Kemp sent out of the park.
In the bottom of the second, Kuroda let too many men get aboard as Miguel Montero singled and Geoff Blum doubled to start the inning. Brandon Allen then sent his first homerun of the season into the stands to push the Diamondbacks out to a 3-1 lead.
Los Angeles got within one-run of tying the game after Rafael Furcal was walked and forced in a run to make it a 3-2 game, but that would end being the final score.
LOS ANGELES — Mat Latos and Chad Billingsley each came ready to pitch in this opening series prior to the All-Star break. Both pitchers threw seven shutout innings until Los Angeles finally got to Latos in the eighth.
Billingsley, the Dodgers starter, blanked the Padres for eight-innings allowing only four-hits. Javy Guerra would enter in the ninth for the save situation, struggling early before recording the save.
Nerves must have gotten the better of Guerra as he allowed a leadoff double to Cameron Maybin and followed with back-to-back hit batters to load the bases with no outs. But maybe there is a reason why the Padres have the two worst batting average (.233), because even with the bases loaded and nobody out they still could not even bring one run home on a sacrifice fly. Kyle Phillips and Will Venable each struck out with Jason Bartlett lining out for the final out in a 1-0 shutout to the Dodgers.
However, Los Angeles did not have much offense either, just totaling five-hits too, but got their hits at the right time.
A. J. Ellis singled on a groundball to start the eighth and was replaced with pinch-runner, Trent Oeltjen. Jamey Carroll’s sacrifice bunt advanced Oeltjen to second and with a one-out single, Tony Gwynn put Oeltjen at third with one-out. Rafael Furcal then stepped up to the plate and singled home Oeltjen for his sixth RBI of the season and the only run of the day.
With the injury outfielder Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies suffered in Toronto, the Dodgers Andre Ethier will replace Victorino at this years All-Star game which is being played at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
ANAHEIM — The Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels met again, this time in Anaheim to close out their season series, and again, both clubs sent out their aces to battle one another.
Angels starter, Jared Weaver, improved to 10-4 on the season with a one-run, four-hit effort, as he struck out eight to lower his ERA to 1.92 over eight innings.
Clayton Kershaw, along with teammate Matt Kemp will both play in their first All-Star game as they are the Dodgers representatives, lasted just six-innings surrendering all seven-runs to the Angels despite striking out ten or more for his third straight start.
The Dodgers offense gave Kershaw nothing, going 5-for-29 on the night. James Loney doubled in the fifth and advanced to third on Aaron Miles groundout. Trent Oeltjen’s sacrifice fly scored Loney and Dodgers only run on the day.
Anaheim though, gave Weaver plenty to work with as they scored back-to-back three-run innings en-route to a 7-1 victory.
Jeff Mathis doubled to start the third and ended up at third after a soft groundout from Maicer Izturis. Erick Aybar scored Mathis on fielder’s choice for the Angels first run, and advanced to second on a throwing error. Vernon Wells went deep as Anaheim quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
The very next inning, Alberto Callaspo walked and Peter Bourjos singled to begin the inning. But the next two Angels batters went down, now leaving it up Aybar with two-outs and runners aboard.
Aybar sent a fly ball to left that dropped in front of outfielder Tony Gwynn, allowing Callaspo to score and advance Bourjos to third. Aybar then stole second, moving into scoring position, and the deed was honored by Bobby Abreu’s 2-RBI single.
The Angels would tack on another run in the sixth to take a 7-1 lead.
The Angels and Dodgers will close out their season rivalry tonight as the Dodgers seek a victory to split the season series with the Angels. The Angels on the other hand are hoping for a win themselves and a Texas Rangers loss to share first with Texas.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers rallied for two-runs in the bottom of the ninth to overcome a one-run deficit as they beat their cross-town rival, Anaheim Angels, to avoid a sweep. The Dodgers won on Tony Gwynn’s walk-off single that capped of a three-for-five day at the plate.
Both clubs put forth their ace starters as Jared Weaver took the mound for the Angels, while the home team sent out Clayton Kershaw. From the very get-go it was clear these two starters came ready to compete against one another as neither allowed a run till the seventh-inning.
Weaver pitched seven-innings allowing one-run on seven hits to maintain a 1.97 ERA through the month of June. On the other hand, Kershaw pitched a complete game, his third of the season and his second in a row after he shutout the Detroit Tigers in his last start, 4-0. Kershaw struck out eleven for the second straight time too.
In the seventh, Erick Aybar led-off the Angels with a double and was soon rewarded by his teammate, Howard Kendrick, whose RBI-single put the first run of the day on the board for the Anaheim.
In the bottom half of the same inning, the Dodgers responded on a Kershaw two-out single that kept the inning alive for lead-off hitter, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn’s second hit of the day resulted in a RBI-triple to tie the game at 1-all.
Neither team allowed a hit in the eighth as the Angels last hit of the afternoon came with two-outs as Vernon Wells went deep for a solo shot and a 2-1 lead for Anaheim.
With the one-run lead in their grasp, the Angels sent out closer Jordan Walden to earn the save as well as sweep the rival Dodgers.
However, it would not be an easy task as these cross-town rivalries always bring drama to the park. Both Juan Uribe and Dioner Navarro were walked to open the bottom of the ninth. Jamey Carroll’s sacrifice bunt advanced both base-runners into scoring position with one-out. Following the sac-bunt was a sacrifice-fly off Aaron Miles bat to bring in the tying run.
The Dodgers then sent Trent Oeltjen out to second to pinch-run for Navarro and it would pay off as Gwynn’s most important hit of the day drove in Oeltjen for the game winner as the Dodgers bench emptied to dog pile Gwynn.
In other news, Monday afternoon the Los Angeles Dodgers have officially filed for bankruptcy. To get a full and detailed report on the situation here is a link from the Dodgers homepage Dodgers bankrupt.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to find themselves in a little bit of a funk. The Dodgers currently are on a five-game losing streak which includes a home sweep against the Cincinnati Reds and will soon include a sweep by the Houston Astros if they lose in the series finale with Houston this afternoon.
The problem seems to be on both sides as the offense has not been there enough, scoring just 11-runs in five games while allowing 30-runs; the past three games have seen Dodgers pitchers surrender seven-runs in each match-up.
Last night, the worst team in baseball, the Houston Astros, shut-out the Dodgers for the seventh time this season.
With the shut-out, Houston only needed one-run, but managed to score five in the fifth-inning to take complete command of the game from that point forward. Dodgers starter, Rubby De La Rosa did not even finish the fifth after surrendering five-runs in 4 2/3 innings. All three of his walks occurred in the fifth and came back to hurt him as the inning progressed.
De La Rosa walked Brett Wallace to begin the fifth and Chris Johnson and Clint Barmes followed with back-to-back singles. Things seemed to be at their worst with the bases loaded and no-outs, but De La Rosa was able to get the next two batters out on swinging strikeouts.
But, it then went back to bad as De La Rosa walked in a run on a full-count pitch to Michael Bourn, a pitcher’s worst nightmare. Jason Bourgeois and Jeff Keppinger both hit singles that resulted in another three-runs for Houston and a 4-0 lead.
With Bourgeois now at third, De La Rosa walked the powerful Carlos Lee which loaded the bases once again for Houston. Even after relief pitcher Mike MacDougal entered the game to replace De La Rosa, a wild-pitch allowed yet another Astros run. More than less of Houston’s runs were a result of bad pitching by Los Angeles than great offense on this particular day.
Houston added a pair of runs in the eighth-inning to increase their lead, 7-0 on RBI’s by Johnson and Carlos Corporan.
Los Angeles almost prevented the shut-out in the second-inning, but Jason Bourgeois made an amazing throw from right-field to get Rod Barajas out at home and end the inning.
While zeros were put across the board for the Dodgers, they were able to reach base safely ten times which hopefully is a positive scenario for Los Angeles as they move forward this season. Maybe it will propel a run-parade this afternoon to end the losing skid and prevent back-to-back sweeps against National League Central foes.
DENVER — What appeared to be a shutout, turned into a possible comeback that fell just a run short of tying the game after trailing for over eight-innings. Already losing 6-0 entering the ninth, the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to be on the verge of a rally, scoring five-runs before the last out was recorded and a victory for the Colorado Rockies was placed in the books.
The Rockies opened up the offense in the second when Troy Tulowitzki cracked a homerun into left-field for the early 1-0 lead; his first since May 17.
In the fifth however, Colorado blew the game open as they took advantage of many mishaps taking place on the part of Los Angeles fielders as well as their ace starter. Carlos Gonzalez bunted towards third and reached first before taking second on a throwing error by third baseman Casey Blake.
Chris Nelson followed by with a single of his own that also resulted in him advancing to second on another Los Angeles throwing error, this time by outfielder Trent Oeltjen. Todd Helton then stepped into the batter’s box, and the veteran delivered with a 2-RBI single into right-field.
With Helton at second and Tulowitzki at first, a wild pitch by Dodgers starter, Chad Billingsley, allowed both runners to advance into scoring position which would prove to be detrimental as Seth Smith’s single would score both men for the 5-0 lead. Chris Iannetta’s RBI-single completed the fifth-inning romp as the Rockies now held a 6-0 lead behind starter, Jhoulys Chacin, who was in complete command against the Dodgers.
Chacin pitched an amazing eight-innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three-hits on zero runs and fanning nine. Billingsley, the Dodgers Opening Day starter, had just the opposite effort. He did not even finish the fifth as he pulled after Iannetta’s RBI-single. Throwing just 4 2/3 innings with a pitch-count at 79, Billingsley allowed six-runs on thirteen-hits in a game he would soon like to forget.
Nevertheless, with the game seemingly all but over, the Dodgers began to make the hometown Rockies fans a little uncomfortable in their seats as Los Angeles began to pile on some runs. Matt Kemp got things rolling with his 19th-homerun of the season; a deep one-out solo shot into right.
James Loney singled to left before Juan Uribe flied out to left for the Dodgers second out. Even with two-outs though, the Rockies would find that the Dodgers were not ready to pack-up for the night. Dioner Navarro reached first on a throwing error, moving Loney to second. Tony Gwynn then doubled to left to bring home Loney and advance Navarro to third.
Aaron Miles continued the threat with a 2-RBI single in an inning that continued to see the Rockies lead slip further and further away as the Dodgers tried to roar back from a six-run deficit. After a fielder’s indifference granted Miles second, pinch-hitter Rod Barajas came up clutch with an RBI-single that extended the inning even more for Los Angeles and now made the difference in the game now stand at just one.
But with too big of a deficit to conquer in three-outs, the Dodgers luck ran out as Trent Oeltjen struck-out for the final out to give Colorado the 6-5 victory.
LOS ANGELES — Better late than never.
It only took till June 2nd and a total of ten starts for Colorado Rockies starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, to finally earn his first win of 2011, a feat he dominated in last year.
In his first victory, Jimenez dominated the Los Angeles Dodgers from the start, getting the complete game shutout on four-hits and seven strikeouts. In other words, Jimenez finally is beginning to show the dominance he had from last season in his last few starts.
In addition too, not only was Jimenez in control, but he also got some much needed run support to preserve a victory for Colorado and end their previous three-game slide.
Ty Wigginton tripled in the second inning to lead-off for the Rockies and scored on Jose Morales sacrifice fly. A double by Seth Smith in the third continued to put pressure on Los Angeles as Smith advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and also score on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Todd Helton concluded Colorado’s offense for the night by sending his seventh souvenir of the year into right.
Ubaldo had complete command as a majority of his pitches seemed to result in easy groundballs for the fielders to handle, never allowing the Dodgers a chance in this game.
While Jimenez pitched an amazing nine-innings, the same could not be said of Dodgers starter, Jon Garland, who only lasted till the sixth inning after allowing three-runs on five-hits. That would be the end of his day, but alas, nothing else would matter as long as Jimenez was on the mound for Colorado, dominating opposing batters for his first win of the season.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers used a base-loaded ninth-inning to take game one of a three game series over the Florida Marlins.
The game was tied at 2-all in the eighth. Hanley Ramirez walked to lead-off the inning for the Marlins, advancing to third on Gaby Sanchez’s line-drive single. Immediately following Sanchez, Greg Dobbs stepped into the box and made the walk to Ramirez pay with his second RBI-single of the night to tie the game.
The game would remain tied until the ninth-inning. Dodgers third basemen, Casey Blake, would single to lead-off the bottom of the ninth. Andre Ethier would also single in the inning advancing Blake to third with still nobody out. Marlins relief pitcher, Clay Hensley though could not get a Dodger out as he proceeded to walk Matt Kemp for a bases-loaded no-out scenario.
Dioner Navarro would pinch-hit and be a Dodgers hero for the night. His single up the middle propelled Los Angeles to a 3-2 victory in walk-off fashion.
The Dodgers big-guns are starting to look and play good ball; all contributing in a positive way for this win. James Loney and Ethier both slammed solo homeruns in the second and sixth-inning respectively.
For Florida, it was Dobbs doing all the work, bringing home Ramirez twice for the Marlins only runs of the night in both the sixth and eighth. Ramirez reached base twice on walks that led to runs. In the sixth he was able to advance to second on Logan Morrison’s single and took third on a double-play ball by Gaby Sanchez.
Rubby De La Rosa was awarded the win courtesy of Navarro’s pinch-hit game-winning single in the ninth. The Dodgers may now have a chance for the NL West if they can continue to find ways to win games and get on an 8-2 or 9-1 streak. I do not see Arizona keeping pace with San Francisco and the loss of Buster Posey will hurt the Giants come games in late-August and the month of September.
CHICAGO — Interleague Play is already off to a great start. It took 93-years for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs to play a series since the 1918 World Series. And the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers found a way to win in dramatic fashion against the Chicago White Sox to start their Interleague Play and hopefully propel them back into the NL West race.
The Dodgers, who had lost five of their last six, entered U.S. Cellular hoping to change things quickly before falling further behind the San Francisco Giants. Things seemed to be on the upswing as Matt Kemp sent a two-run shot for an early 2-0 lead. But, with one-out remaining in the ninth, it seemed as if the Dodgers would have to wait another day to start a winning streak.
Russell Mitchell was the Dodgers last hope going up against White Sox closer, Sergio Santos. Entering this point in the game, Mitchell was batting sub-.100 and only playing due to an injury Aaron Miles was suffering. Since being named the closer for Chicago, Santos has been virtually un-hittable; he had not allowed a run or blown save till his encounter with Mitchell.
However, all good things must eventually come to an end, and that they did for Santos who blew his first save and surrendered his first run as a closer on just one pitch to Mitchell. Mitchell sent a fastball that just stayed fair into the outfield bullpen for a game-tying homerun.
Los Angeles, then determined not to let this game get away from them, poured on three additional runs in extras for a 6-4 victory in Chicago. With two men on base, Juan Castro’s single scored Jamey Carroll and advanced Kemp to third base. James Loney then followed with a double to right that increased the Dodgers lead as Kemp scored. Another RBI-single, this time by Jay Gibbons, gave the Dodgers a more comfortable cushion to work with, leading 6-3.
The White Sox though looked to make an already enjoyable Interleague opener last just a bit longer. Chicago hit back-to-back singles in the tenth, and the powerful Adam Dunn came to the plate with one-out. Dunn was brought to Chicago in the off-season for this particular situation; bring home runs late in games. Hoping for a game-tying homerun, the White Sox “faithful” would have to settle for an RBI-groundout.
Los Angeles though, would escape the threat on Paul Konerko’s groundout on their way to a 6-4 win. The Dodgers play two more times in Chicago, sending the ex-White Sox World Series pitcher Jon Garland to the mound Saturday, before visiting last-place Houston.
LOS ANGELES — After a one-hit loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks the previous day, the Los Angeles Dodgers offense was MIA for a second consecutive game as the Dodgers lost to Arizona again, falling 4-1 Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
Arizona’s starter, Ian Kennedy, continued his success as he four-hit the Dodgers over six-innings and struck out eight. Since the St. Louis debacle, Kennedy has posted an impressive 1.50 ERA with an even forty-strikeouts in six starts with a 4-1 record.
Arizona would only need to two-runs for the victory, but, gave Kennedy plenty of run support as the Diamondbacks scored four runs in the second inning off Dodgers starter, Ted Lilly.
After Lilly walked Stephen Drew to start the second, the Diamondbacks unleashed back-to-back jacks to the fans in left field to take an early, commanding, 3-0 lead. It continued to get worse for Lilly too, who then hit Miguel Montero. Montero advanced to second on Gerardo Parra’s bunt-single and advanced once again to third on Ian Kennedy’s sacrifice bunt. Chris Young then hit a deep fly-ball that allowed Montero to trot in for the fourth run of the inning.
Los Angeles struggled again to get its big bats going as Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and James Loney went 1-for-11; same batters went 2-for-10 in Arizona’s one-hit victory.
The Dodgers got on the board soon afterwards, scoring their only run in the third inning off Kennedy. Jamey Carroll doubled to lead-off the third and scored immediately on Aaron Miles’s line-drive single to right field.
J.J. Putz came in for another save opportunity; his second in less than a twenty-four hour period and got the save for his ninth of the season. Putz has yet to blow a save this season.
NEW YORK– Just one day after Andre Ethier’s hit streak was snapped, he came back the following day with a two-run homerun to prevent Los Angeles from being swept by the New York Mets and help end a four-game losing streak Sunday afternoon.
Starter, Clayton Kershaw of Los Angeles was also valuable towards the Dodgers 4-2 victory over the Mets. Kershaw struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings, allowing only one run to cross home.
In the other dugout, the Mets R.A. Dickey was beat up by ten Dodgers hits over the course of seven innings. Worse though for Dickey was the fact he was responsible for all four of Los Angeles runs.
Ronny Paulino put the Mets on the board in the first with his RBI-single. Justin Turner scored after being issued a one-out walk and moved to second on another free-pass from Kershaw in the opening frame. Despite the walks, Kershaw settled down the rest of the day as he did not allow an extra-base hit during his entire outing.
Kershaw scored the Dodgers first run when he was allowed first-base after being hit by a pitch to lead-off the third. After a pitch got passed Paulino and Kershaw took second, Jamey Carroll’s ground-out put Kershaw at third with one-out. Aaron Miles did not let a golden opportunity slip away as he singled to right and Clayton Kershaw scored to tie the game 1-1.
After back-to-back one-out singles by James Loney and Jerry Sands, Rod Barajas fielder’s choice single scored Loney to give L.A. the 2-1 advantage, which was doubled in the seventh off Ethier’s two-run shot to right.
New York managed to give Vicente Padilla some trouble in the ninth as Daniel Murphy singled on a line-drive and scored on Jose Reyes ensuing triple to keep a late-inning threat alive. Padilla though retired the next two batters for the save and end Los Angeles current skid.
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