Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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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.
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