(Photo by-Alex Gallardo/AP)
The past two seasons have been very unstable for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar outfielder Matt Kemp. Kemp battled several injuries including shoulder, hamstring, and an ankle that resulted in surgeries.
After battling through rehab assignments, simulation activities, there was a point for many fans if we’ll see the Matt Kemp of 2011 again. After overcoming an off season of many trade rumors seeing Kemp out of Los Angeles, the Dodgers made it clear that they have confidence that Kemp could still perform at a high level when healthy.
Kemp skipped the trip to Australia, stayed stateside in Arizona at Camelback Ranch to continue to rehab and work on his game. The ever ready star made it clear he was an everyday outfielder, despite the plans that manager Don Mattingly may have had dealing with a four man outfield.
Kemp reminded everyone that BeastMode is alive and well on Sunday in the 6-2 victory over the rival San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.
“That’s when I know I’m seeing the ball good, when I drive the ball to right field like that,” Kemp told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “That’s my swing right there.”
In the second inning Kemp connected on home run over the wall in left field. Later in the fourth inning, Kemp crushed a fastball off of Matt Cain, for a tow run homer over the right field wall.
Kemp was back, and he let everyone know it in a big way.
He struck the ball with confidence in batting practice during spring and before games in the regular season.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us,” Kemp said. “But I hope the beast is back.“
Kemp showed no effects from his off season surgery, and before Sunday’s game, hadn’t homered at Dodger Stadium since September 2012.
Kemp had surgery on his left shoulder last season from running into a wall at Coors Field in Colorado, chasing down a ball. He returned for the 2013 season, only playing in 73 games due to hamstring and ankle issues.
Now Kemp is focused on the 2014 season, and plans to go healthy all season, helping the Dodgers win a World Series Titles, and as many games along the way.
“I just feel great,” Kemp said. “Let’s just talk about this win and go on to the next thing.”
If Kemp can bring this offensive stability every game, along with Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig swinging the bat every night, the Dodgers could have one of the most powerful line ups in baseball.
Zack Greinke picked up the victory over the Giants also shared his thoughts on the importance of Kemp in the line up. “I’ve never seen Matt being the player he is,” Greinke said. “And Hanley is on a different level. If he’s like he was today, you don’t want to face this lineup if that’s the case.”
Once Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson return healthy that will also bring some strong depth into the bullpen for the Dodgers.
Kemp is truly an everyday outfielder, it would be incredibly incumbent of Mattingly to see to it that Kemp gets as much playing time as possible. It’s great seeing Kemp back in the line up, his presence was truly missed the past two seasons.
Between the solid clutch performance of starter Zack Greinke and two home runs powered by Adrian Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4. Which now forces a game six back in St. Louis on Friday.
Greinke didn’t start begin with his best pitching, however he worked himself out of a bases loaded jam that ended the first inning.
On the brink of elimination, the Dodgers came out with a sense of urgency, as Juan Uribe connected on a single to center that scored Adrian Gonzalez for the 1-0 lead. Greinke helped his own cause when he connected on a single to left that scored Yasiel Puig for the 2-0 as the crowd erupted in celebration.
“That was big. I was real nervous out there with that situation,” Greinke said.
The Cards would quiet the Dodger Stadium crowd when they charged back with two runs of their own in the third, when Carlos Beltran knocked out a RBI triple and Matt Holiday connected on an RBI single.
The Dodgers exploded in the next few innings with home runs from Gonzalez, AJ Ellis, and Carl Crawford for the huge 6-2 lead.
“Guys weren’t ready to lose today,” said Crawford.
When Gonzalez went back to the dugout after his second home run, brought his hands behind his ears and wiggled them like mouse ears. A clear gesture towards the comments that were made in Game 4 by pitcher Adam Wainwright about Gonzalez doing “Mickey Mouse stuff”.
“It’s just having fun,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going to retire them so they’re not talked about once again.”
Brian Wilson had a brilliant performance shutdown performance in the eight inning against the Cards. Wilson’s stock continued to rise with that masterful performance, and his efforts throughout the series.
Kenley Jansen came in the ninth inning and struggled when he gave up two RBI singles to Mike Adams and Pete Kozma that made it a two run game. Jansen settled down for the final out that allowed the Dodgers to live for another game.
The Dodgers trailed the Cards 3-2 in the best of seven series.
Greinke pitched seven concrete innings, allowing two runs on six hits with four strike outs in the win.
“He wasn’t as sharp as he was the first time we faced him,” Beltran said about Greinke. “But guys like that, the best guys in the game, they’re able to regroup and find a way to help their team win.”
Cards starter Joe Kelly gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings of work in the loss.
“We had a couple of opportunities to do something, and we just couldn’t make it happen,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had a slightly different outlook on the next upcoming games in St. Louis.
“We’ve kind of become America’s team because everyone wants to see a seventh game,” Mattingly said. “Probably even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody’s for us to win on Friday night.”
Clayton Kershaw dominated the mound behind significant run support, led by an Adrian Gonzalez two run homer that elevated the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Atlanta Braves 6-1.
The Dodgers took a commanding 1-0 series lead in the best of five series.
The Dodgers look to end their championship drought, a burden that has been hanging over the organization since 1988.
They silence the loud Braves crowd in the second inning, when Skip Schumaker hit a sacrifice fly that scored Yasiel Puig for the 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, AJ Ellis doubled to left field which scored Juan Uribe for the 2-0 lead over Atlanta.
The Dodgers were far from done, with Carl Crawford on base, Adrian Gonzalez connected on two run homer off Braves starter Kris Medlen deep to center, that extended the lead to 4-0.
“When you have an opposing pitcher on the mound who is as good as Kershaw, there’s not a lot of room for error. I had a lot of errors tonight,” said Braves starter Kris Medlen.
Kershaw allowed a Chris Johnson run with two out s in the fourth inning that got the Braves on the board as they trailed 5-1.
Hanley Ramirez stepped up with RBI double that scored Mark Ellis for the 6-1 lead which completely took the enthusiastic crowd out of the game. It also soured any hopes for a Braves comeback.
At time Kershaw did struggle with the fastball, however still had control on the mound with 12 strikeouts on seven innings pitched for the win.
“Strikeouts just kind of happen,” Kershaw said. “It’s not something I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to get outs as fast as possible.”
“He’s the best pitcher in baseball,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “And he definitely showed it tonight.”
Without the hitting of Matt Kemp who is sidelined with an severe ankle injury, and Andre Ethier also limited with an injury, the Dodgers showed no signs of struggling with scoring runs.
The Braves defense was horrible to say the least and no one stepped up to stop the bleeding at Turner Field. Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton were all ineffective against Los Angeles.
“It just got away from us,” Braves catcher McCann said.
Yasiel Puig took an early exit during the Rockies verses Dodgers game on Monday afternoon, due to a right knee strain.
Puig had battled knee soreness for the past couple of weeks, aggravated it as he slid into third base after an Adrian Gonzalez single.
Puig played like a warrior after getting hit by a pitch in the back, he also scored in the sixth inning on sacrifice fly. Both Puig and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly don’t expect him to be out long, and there is no MRI scheduled.
“I’m going to get treatment tonight and we’ll see how it feels Wednesday,” Puig said through an interpreter.
Puig will be listed as day to day, however with the win on Monday, the Dodgers extended their lead to 11.5 games. They will take the necessary precautions to ensure that Puig is healthy for the playoffs. He’s currently hitting .351 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI’s on the season thus far.
Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s charity Kershaw’s Challenge had a great extravaganza that featured several of the Dodger players, manager Don Mattingly, Olympian Gabby Douglas, and many more. The event raised awareness for Kershaw’s Challenge that featured an intense ping pong tournament led by Kershaw. With several notable guest in attendance and music spun by DJ Skee.
The Red Sox who carried the leagued best record proved why they are the dominate team and caused the Dodgers to lose their first series since June 22nd.
Ahead 1-0, Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Jacoby Ellsbury in the third inning. Xavier Bogaerts connected on a RBI double to center that scored Will Middlebrooks for the 3-0 lead n the fourth inning.
On an 0-2 pitch, Adrian Gonzalez blasted a solo home run deep to center that placed the Dodgers on the scoreboard as they trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning. That was Gonzalez’ 17th homer run on the season.
“I don’t like facing Adrian Gonzalez,” said Peavy. “He’s an extremely good player, but that can’t happen there on 0-2. I’ve got to make a better pitch. I was trying to change his eye level way higher than it was. When I played with him, he hit about 40 a year, so I’ve seen that multiple times.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia knocked a two run home run off rookie reliever Chris Withrow in the sixth inning with the 5-1 lead. Withrow also gave up a solo home run to Shane Victorino in the seventh inning.
Chris Capuano (4-7) had a terrible outing and gave up three runs and six hits in six innings of work.
Brandon League also gave up a two run home run to Mike Napoli in the ninth inning that scored Pedroia.
The Dodgers despite the loss, still maintain a 9.5 game lead over Arizona in the NL West.
“You never want to lose two games in a row,” Carl Crawford said. “But we’ve just got to get back to doing what we do, put these two games behind us real quick and get back to our winning ways.”
The victory allowed the Red Sox to take a 1.5 game lead in the competitive AL East over the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost to the New York Yankees in extra innings.
“I think this was a good little lesson for us,” manager Don Mattingly said regarding the two game loss.
Jake Peavy (10-5) went the distance for only the 16th time in his career as he struck out five, with one walk. Peavy’s ERA is 3.31 and has a 2-1 record since he was traded from the Chicago White Sox. Ironically the Dodgers could’ve had an opportunity to acquire Peavy at one point during the trade talks.
Peavy spoke about the win against the Dodgers, “fortunately we were able to put a good game plan together. Tonight was a very big night for us, and we knew that. We had to come in here and play a very good team that hadn’t lost a series in quite a while. You watch them on tape, then watch them get ready for a game, and you see why they’ve been so successful.”
Kershaw began the game on a shaky note when he walked Christian Yelich in the first inning, and allowed hits with two more batters in the following inning.
“I was terrible the first couple of innings. I didn’t have command. It could have gone a lot differently. The game could have been out of hand pretty quick,” Kershaw said.
Kershaw connected on an RBI single to left that scored Yasiel Puig and gave the Dodgers the 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, Carl Crawford knocked in an RBI double that increased the Dodgers lead 3-0 over the Marlins.
The Dodgers weren’t done scoring in the fifth inning, they scored back to back runs on a double from AJ Ellis and a single from Skip Schumaker.
Yasiel Puig hit a double that hit the back of the center field wall, and in the sixth inning connected on a sacrifice fly that scored Adrian Gonzalez for the 6-0 lead. Puig is currently batting .346 even though he has gone 2 for 15 in the series.
Former Giant and All-Star closer Brian Wilson made his return in the ninth inning, allowing one hit and two strike outs. The first time Wilson returned to the mound since having Tommy John surgery, and his first game since April 2012.
It was long overdue, a very arduous process, but I’m glad I went through it so I could appreciate baseball even more,” Wilson said. “I felt comfortable. I felt like I hadn’t skipped a beat.”
Kershaw (13-7) allowed five hits and captured six strike outs while lowering his ERA to 1.72.
Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez (2-3) pitched five innings, gave up seven hits and five runs in the loss.
The Dodgers have a huge 9 1/2 game lead over rival Arizona in the NL West, and are a impressive 28-5 since the All-Star break. They sit 23 games above .500 at 75-52.
The Dodgers return to Los Angeles on Friday for a big weekend series against the AL East leading Boston Red Sox.