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July 23, 2011

Hairston’s grand-slam pushes Nats past L.A.

by @ 10:06 am. Filed under 2011 Dodgers

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.

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