First, the good news:
Now the bad news:
Losing the first game of this Giants series after it had seemed we would win is especially troubling due to the fact that Paul Maholm is starting for us tonight. That makes it doubly difficult to come out of San Francisco with a series victory.
Having Matt Kemp return to the Dodgers after a great two day rehab assignment in Albuquerque was great news. Having him aggravate his hamstring on Wednesday night was not so great.
Steve Lyons was talking about hamstring injuries on the Dodgers Live post game broadcast. He said that it is common to bring back a player slowly after returning from a hammy DL stint by resting the player after the first game back. When Don Mattingly brought up the possibility of Kemp sitting out a game, Kemp responded with a resounding “No way!”
I am beginning to wonder if Donny has the cashews to deal with prima donna players. He was reluctant to sit Kemp while he had his consecutive game streak going. If he thought Kemp should rest but got talked out of it by the player, it does not bode well for his leadership.
I don’t know if I am the only one bothered by this, but I thought it was not smart to let Kemp be such a boisterous cheerleader while he was in the middle of his DL stint. Seeing him rush onto the field after a walkoff win and tackle someone with his “winning hurts” hijinks looked like an accident, or re-aggravated hammy waiting to happen. With so many players getting injured from freak accidents like pushing their car like Dick Allen did in 1967, or pulling on a pair of cowboy boots like Wade Boggs, I keep waiting for something bad to happen each time Kemp, Andre Ethier and Dee Gordon jump up in the air to bump their bodies together after a victory. I know the boyz gots to have their fun, but when one of them sprains an ankle, it won’t be very funny.
After the first three game losing streak of the year, lets hope that the Brewers have left their brooms in Milwaukee.
On Tuesday night, Gerardo Parra hit a home run, then paused before running the bases just a little too long to suit the Dodgers. The home run followed a previous at bat by Parra in which he had to duck an errant throw from Hong-Chih Kuo. A.J. Ellis yelled “You’re better than that.” to Parra after his showboat antics when he crossed the plate. Clayton Kershaw went ballistic in the dugout and traded shouts with D’backs pitcher Daniel Hudson, who at some point asked Kershaw what he would do about the situation. “You’ll find out! You’ll find out!”, came the heated reply from Kershaw, well within earshot of hundreds of fans, players, coaches and umpires.
Last night, leading in the 6th inning 2-0, Kershaw threw a pitch several inches inside to Parra, nicking him on his elbow. Home plate umpire Bill Welke immediately ejected Clayton from the game. While Rod Barajas and Kershaw were arguing about that decision in disbelief, Don Mattingly emerged from the dugout just about as angry as he has been this season and argued the case. Soon however, he crossed a line and was also tossed from the game. It was highly unusual that Kershaw was thrown out of the game since there were no prior warnings given.
Rookie pitcher Josh Lindblom hurriedly warmed up then took over the pitching duties, determined to hold the lead for Kershaw. Lindblom made 29 pitches while striking out five batters in two innings. He was removed for pinch hitter Trent Oeltjen in the bottom of the 7th inning. Nathan Eovaldi and Kenley Jansen followed with solid performances and the Dodgers won 3-2.
Despite his ejection, Kershaw improved his standing in the race for the Cy Young Award by winning his 19th game and throwing five shutout innings and striking out five. Welke’s poor judgement robbed Kershaw of the chance to pitch more scoreless innings and build up his strikeout total, further improving his Cy Young chances.
Tony Jackson has more on this event and the reactions from Kershaw, Mattingly and umpiring chief, Tim Tschida in his column.
Today’s probable starters are Dana Eveland, 2-0, 0.60 ERA going against the Pirate’s Ross Ohlendorf, 0-2, 8.03 ERA.
This Day in Dodgers History
September 15, 1978 – In front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, Don Sutton throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. With tonight’s attendance, Los Angeles becomes the first team to draw three million fans at home in major league history.
Yesterday the buzz throughout the MLB was the return of Stephen Strasburg. I have to admit that I was curious to get my first look at this supposed phenom after all the publicity he had last year. With all the press he got, I almost expected to see some type of super performance with fastballs clocked well over 100 mph like those of Cinncinati’s Aroldis Chapman who has thrown 105 mph. Strasburg was good and had command of his fastballs that routinely hit 97 mpg and touched 99 mph.
Strasburg shut out the Dodgers over five innings with just 56 pitches thrown, four short of his 60 pitch limit. Maybe he is not a supernatural freak, like the subject of a fantasy baseball movie or Twilight Zone episode, but he looked like he could be the Nats version of Clayton Kershaw some day.
All of this is great news for Rubby De La Rosa, who must have been watching with keen interest. If Strasburg and several other pitchers could successfully pitch in a major league game just over a year from Tommy John surgery, the prospects for De La Rosa are bright indeed. Of course each person reacts differently to the surgery and arduous rehab process. But the chances suddenly look good that we may see a return of our 100 mph fireballer a year from now.
The Dodgers made a great comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the rain delayed game and finished on top 7-3 with some clutch hitting by Rod Barajas and Andre Ethier.
Hopefully today Mattingly will put Jerry Sands in the lineup either in a corner OF spot or at 1B. Sands finished with 29 homers and 88 RBI in 370 at-bats at high altitude Albuquerque. It will be interesting to see if he has home run power at sea level Washington, D.C.
This Day in Dodgers History
September 7, 1962 – With four steals in a 10-1 loss to the Pirates, Dodger Maury Wills breaks the modern National League record for stolen bases in a season with his 82nd swipe. Cincinnati’s Bob Bescher established the mark in 1911 playing left field with Cincinnati.
Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals fireballing phenom, will make his season debut today against the Dodgers. Last year, Strasburg went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA before undergoing the Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in September. He was on a rehab assignment by August, going 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA in six games. Tuesday’s start, against Ted Lilly, will be Strasburg’s first big league game since Aug. 21, 2010.
If Strasburg can pick up where he left off, last year he routinely posted a close to triple digit fastball and a wicked curve, the currently struggling Dodger offense will face quite a challenge.
Lilly, who had a 2.35 ERA in August after a mediocre June and July, is looking for his first three-game winning streak of the season.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly wants more offense for 2012. Mattingly says the team needs to boost its offensive production, but that could deplete the team’s pitching, one of its few strong points.
More from Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
…Don Mattingly said that if he had to decide between the Dodgers‘ adding a quality bat or a quality arm over the winter, he would take the bat. “A solid bat is something we’ve got to have or we’ll right back to where we were,” Mattingly said. By that, he means before their mid-July acquisition of Juan Rivera, who has helped transform the Dodgers’ offense from abysmal to respectable. “It tells you what one bat can do to your lineup,” Mattingly said.
But at what cost? With the Dodgers in bankruptcy and their ownership situation in limbo, adding offense could force them to subtract pitching. Starting pitching has been about the only part of the organization that hasn’t appeared compromised by its financial troubles.
Anchored by Cy Young Award candidate Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ rotation has the third-lowest earned-run average in the National League behind the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers were designed this way. They went into spring training with six established starters — Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla, who was sent to the bullpen.
When Garland and Padilla went down because of season-ending injuries, they called up top prospect Rubby De La Rosa, who was armed with a 100-mph fastball. When De La Rosa was lost to an elbow operation, they replaced him with another top prospect, Nathan Eovaldi. “Every time we walk out there, you feel like you have a starter who’s going to keep you in the game and give you a chance to win,” Mattingly said…
This Day in Dodgers History
September 6, 1981 – With his seventh blanking, Dodger lefty Fernando Valenzuela ties the major league rookie record for shutouts beating the Cardinal, 5-0.
Despite the general state of unhappiness with the Dodgers expressed on various blogs, the team actually has played much better in the last month or so. From July 7, they have won 15 out of 25 games. On Sunday morning, they found themselves 9 games behind in the race for the NL West. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound, it seemed like a good bet that they could have swept the series and moved ahead of the Rockies. Instead, Kershaw could not hold his lead and the team headed back to LA ten games behind the Giants.
Any illusion that the team could have reached the playoffs has dissolved with the loss. With the Phillies, who have the best record in baseball and who have won 9 out of their last 10 games coming into town, the Dodgers face a tough challenge.
Don Mattingly said that the Dodgers need to win every day. He might be exaggerating a bit but they probably need to win 3 of 4 the rest of the way to have any chance to reach the playoffs.
This Day in Dodgers History
On August 8, 2000 – Darren Dreifort hits two home runs and gets the win in the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory over the Cubs. The starting pitcher, who hurls 6.2 innings, goes deep in the bottom of the fourth and fifth frames.