Coming off a disappointing loss the night before to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers looked to rebound sending Chris Capuano to the mound to face Zack Greinke.
After being the hottest team in baseball, this Dodger team has seem to come back to earth, losing a heart breaker on Wednesday, it was time for the Dodgers to step up and simply get it done.
Greinke seem to start out more than he last outing, where he was roughed up from the start against the Cubs, after striking out Dee Gordon, Mark Ellis tripled deep to right field.
Then NL Player of the Week for the second consecutive time Matt Kemp hit a nice single to left allowing Ellis to score. Greinke made it out of the inning, but as everyone expected this would a very tight game as it continued.
Chris Capuano looked sharp in his home away from home, pitching solid until the second inning with Cory Hart already on base, gave up a single to Mat Gamel tying the game 1-1. Capuano maintained his composer and settled down to continue his exceptional pitching as each inning progressed.
The Dodgers added more more run support, after Greinke gave up a single to Tony Gwynn Jr. in left field, which advanced Hairston Jr to third base. AJ Ellis ended up grounding to third, they Brewers defense forced Gywnn out at second, however allowed Hairston Jr to score to take the lead again in the fifth inning.
That lead wouldn’t last long an inning later Capuano gave up an unnecessary solo home run to third baseman Aramis Ramirez who hit it deep to center, tying the game once again. It was 313th home run of his career, which puts him in eight place on the all time home run list.
It was a pitchers duel that headed into extra innings, neither team wanted to give up a run or even an opportunity for a run. Kameron Loe dominated the the ninth for the Brewers not allowing a run to send into the tenth inning. The Dodgers in the tenth inning, in relief for Kenley Jensen who was solid, Matt Guerrier walked Johnathan Lucroy, which allowed speedy Nyjer Morgan to run for him. Cesar Izturis popped out on a bunt attempt, causing Morgan to steal second base. With Ricky Weeks at the plate, thanks to a bad throw by catcher AJ Ellis, Morgan advanced to third base. Dodgers intentionally walked Weeks, which brought up Brewers catcher George Kottaras as a pinch hitter.
At that point, the Dodgers made a defensive shift making a five infielders and two outfielders, Guerrier walked Kottaras which brought up slugger Ryan Braun. With one out, Braun hit a huge sacrifice fly to left causing Morgan to speed around to home plate, just avoiding the tag by Ellis to win the game again in dramatic fashion 3-2.
Morgan was greeting by a celebration from all of his teammates as the Miller Park crowd went ballistic.
Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts, while Dodger starter Chris Capuano pitched six innings, six hits, one home run, four strike outs. Brewers reliever Kameron Loe picked up the win (1-0).
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talked about the tag of Morgan “I had the luxury of seeing the replay, we should still be playing.”
SAN DIEGO, CA – Once you heard the golden voice of baseball make his announcement “it’s time for Dodger baseball” you knew the 2012 Season was official. The Dodgers started the season this year on the road with the their neighbors to the south, the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw never though he’d wake with a bad case of the stomach flu for Thursday debut. After pleading and convincing manager Don Mattingly not to scratch him for the start, Kershaw went out and battled like a champ, throwing three shut out inning before calling it a day due to effects of the stomach flu. Mattingly pulls him just before the fourth inning to replace him with pitcher Josh Lindblom, who ironically wasn’t sure he would make it to the Opening Day roster.
The fourth inning proved to be the breakaway opportunity the Dodgers needed as Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez threw several walks allowing the Dodgers to score two much needed runs. The Padres also picked up three errors in the inning. The scoring didn’t stop in the fifth inning as the Dodgers got into position to score again thanks to a Dee Gordon triple error as the ball bounced off the glove of Padres Cameron Maybin. Matt Kemp hit a grounder that allowed Gordon to score making it 3-0.
The Padres finally got on the board as they scored a run thanks to Jesus Guzman RBI double, ending the scoreless drought in the sixth inning.
The eight inning, it was all Matt Kemp as he hit a home run that flew to right of pitcher Brad Brach, to give the Dodgers a commanding 5-1 lead. The Padres weren’t done as Maybin blasted about a 445 foot home run off Kensley Jensen to bring the Padres back within two, down just 5-3.
Javy Guerra came in the ninth inning to secure the save as the Dodgers take the first game of the series 5-3. Lindblom who pitched two perfect innings in Kershaw’s absence, get the win. Kemp finished the day with 3 RBI’s and 1 home run. After the home run, a happy Kemp talked about what happened when he was congratulated by new owner Magic Johnson “right when I came back from hitting the home run, he stuck his head in the dugout and said, ‘Nice job, kid”.
Padres manager Bud Black talked about the absence of Clayton Kershaw “It’s nice to get him out of the game, thinking the Cy Young Award winner is out and you have six innings to go score runs”.
Friday the Padres have another opportunity to turn things around as they send Cory Luebke to the mound against Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley at 7:05PM.
*In attendance was former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt sitting next to one of the new Dodger owners Magic Johnson. An enthusiastic Johnson was seen several times cheering on his new ball club throughout the game.
LOS ANGELES – Coming off a heartfelt loss on Wednesday night, the Dodgers look to rebound, get back above .500 and begin a new winning streak. On the mound for the Dodgers would be solid pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who didn’t start off solid as he gave up a first inning homer to Giants hitter Carlos Beltran giving the Giants the 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers would soon answer back, when Juan Rivera blasted a huge home run that scored Matt Kemp allowing the Dodgers to take the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Kuroda would begin to find his rhythm and had a strong outing in the second through the sixth inning. Dodgers made sure they gave him plenty of run support thanks to the terrible pitching of Giants starter Madison Bumgarner. In the third inning Juan Rivera singled to second as Dee Gordon scored to make it 3-1.
Fourth inning Dodgers continued to pour it on as Dee Gordon singled to right scoring Ron Barajas, to increase the Dodger lead 4-1.
As Matt Kemp reached the plate, the crowd chanted loudly M-V-P, a chant I’ve only heard in Los Angeles recently when I’m at building south of Dodger Stadium, off the 110 at Staples Center for one Kobe Bryant.
Kemp got on base on almost every at bat, as Barajas was walked that scored Kemp to make it a 5-1 Dodger lead.
Earlier before the game Kemp tweeted on his twitter page “Lets end the season with a bang!” and indeed he did.
After Kuroda gave a home run to Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, Kemp decided he had enough and in the eight inning blasted a huge two run homer off Barry Zito to keep the Dodger lead solid and break any hopes of the Giants momentum.
As his mother was in attendance, she watched her son Matt Kemp have a sensational night, going 4-5, a career high three doubles and that big two run homer. Kemp is definitely on pace for that MVP award, and has a solid argument against the Brewers’ Ryan Braun who is hitting .330 just points ahead of Kemp who is currently hitting .326.
Even as Kuroda exited in the eight inning, the crowd chanted MVP! in awe of Kemp’s stellar offensive performance. Kemp is pace for the triple crown, he seems to be taking it all in stride and embracing it instead of dodging it.
A great way to end their home stand as the Dodgers took the victory over the Giants 8-2. Former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda who happened to be honoree coach that night on his 84th birthday watched the offensive explosion of Kemp, said “He was great, it was fun to watch tonight.”
Kemp who was somewhat disappointed that the Dodgers weren’t making the playoffs this year spoke about that and his performance “It’s sad we’re not making the playoffs, but we’ve been playing great the last two months. We’re going to come back even harder next year. I just really felt it tonight.”
Kuroda (37) who becomes a free agent at the end of this season, who possibly pitched his finally game at Dodger Stadium talked about his future “At this moment I really don’t know and that really hasn’t entered my mind yet”. Kuroda who had a really good outing allowed two runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings, extending his career high in wins.
Giants starter Bumgarner gave up four runs and nine hits, struck out one and walked none to snap his five-game winning streak, which he was yanked in the fourth inning by manager Bruce Bochy.
The next six Dodger game are on the road against their NL West opponents the San Diego Padres and NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kemp is definitely on pace for not only MVP honors, but capturing that triple crown, something that hasn’t been done since 1967 when Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski accomplished that milestone.
LOS ANGELES – After a roller coaster season for the Los Angeles Dodgers both on and off the field, the team managed to hold on to finished above .500 yet they only played 161 games. The two highlights of the season were the Cy Young accomplishments of pitcher Clayton Kershaw (21-5) and the MVP and triple crown efforts of outfielder Matt Kemp.
An interesting point was voiced by 710 ESPN’s Max Kellerman (host of the Max & Marcellus Show) in Los Angeles, where he stated that Kemp was being robbed because the Dodgers only played 161 games this season, and not having that extra game could cost Kemp a shot at the MVP award.
Which is true, Major League Baseball did not reschedule the second game of a rained out doubleheader against Washington earlier in the season.
Due to the lack of scheduling by MLB, this could definitely cost Kemp his chance at the MVP. There is no way that Ryan Braun should win MVP, Braun who played in only 150 games, batted .334, with 111 RBI’s, 34 HR’s, 33 stolen bases, while Kemp finished the season 39 HR’s, batted .324, 126 RBI’s, 40 stolen bases. He also played in all 161 games this season and a sharp outfielder.
It would be a complete travesty if Kemp didn’t win the award, especially him putting up the best numbers in the National League, with the exception of batting average. Now in all actuality Braun should win the batting title, but thanks to a real weak sucker move by New York Mets’ Jose Reyes, who when at the plate bunted and made it to first base. After doing that, he increased his average up to .337 after reached first base, took himself out of the game to keep his batting average at .337.
Matt Kemp had no help in his lineup and was still able to put up phenomenal numbers in comparison to Braun who had Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks who are significant hitters in the Brewers lineup.
Its about who’s most valuable, and Kemp has proven he’s the most valuable not only to his team, but to the National League as well. If he doesn’t win, we can all blame the sports writers who have a vote, and MLB who refused to reschedule that 162nd game, that Kemp and the Dodgers so desperately deserve.