On Friday Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp gets an update on the progress of his surgically repaired ankle. Since the off-season and in Spring Training, Kemp has worked vigorously to return stronger for the 2014 season. Able to only workout and taking batting practice, good news for Kemp would be a relief where he’ll be able to practice with the rest of his teammates.
Manager Don Mattingly is optimistic that Kemp will return, however still unsure of his timetable. “I’m assuming once we get the green light to go forward, it’s still going to be a progression to get him ready,” Mattingly told the LA Times.
The results of the MRI on his ankle will determine whether he moves on to the next phase of his rehab. If all goes well, Kemp could be ready in time for the March 30th season opener against the Padres in San Diego. Or he may be available for the Dodgers home opener on March 4th.
Kemp has maintained his stance, that he wants to be a Dodger for life, and this is the year of opportunity to prove his worth to the team and organization.
Behind the superb pitching of Zack Greinke and clutch hitting of Michael Young, the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised past the San Diego Padres 1-0. The Dodgers took two out of three games in the weekend series.
Greinke has been very impressive since July 25th, he has gone 7-0 with a 1.6 ERA, and will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs in the rotation, behind Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
With just 72 pitches thrown in five innings of work and no runs allowed, Greinke had an easy day at Petco Park. “It was just a lighter day. I was totally fine with it,” said Greinke.
“It was really more of a solid five innings than anything else,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “His next one will be more of a regular one.”
Padres starter Andrew Cashner was solid until the seventh inning when Adrian Gonzalez connected on a single. Casher struck out Matt Kemp, but allowed Michael Young to double deep to right which scored Gonzalez for the 1-0 lead.
J.P. Howell (4-1) pitched an immaculate sixth inning, followed by Chris Withrow who only walked two batter in the following two innings. Kenley Jansen picked up his 27th save in the ninth inning that secured the Dodgers victory.
“A lot of the credit goes to our pitching staff. They did a great job. Any time they do really well, the defense feeds off that,” said Michael Young.
Cashner (10-9) struck out seven, allowed four hits and a run in seven innings of work in the loss.
Greinke also stole a base, which gave him two stolen bases on the season. He became the first Dodger pitcher to do that since Orel Hershiser.
Greinke (14-3) gave up two hits, struck out seven and walked two in the victory.
“It’s been good the last nine, 10 starts. Location’s been as good as it’s been for a long stretch,” Greinke said about his performance.
The Dodgers tied the score 1-1 on a Mark Ellis RBI single to left that scored Carl Crawford in the third inning.
Puig stepped up big time in the sixth inning, when he crushed a solo home run deep to center off of Dale Thayer for the 2-1 lead. Puig’s 14th home run on the season in just 79 games played in the major leagues.
“Of course I felt good I hit a home run on Cuban Heritage Day,” Puig said.
Kenley Jansen struck out two in the ninth and captured his 24th save with 100 career strike outs.
“Jansen wants to be that guy. We’re seeing a guy who is more and more confident,” said manager Don Mattingly.
Padres starter Tyson Ross was sensational as he struck out ten, gave up one run in five inning of work.
“I wish I could have pitched deeper into the game, but they were making me work and having some patient at-bats,” Ross said. “I was just trying to execute in a couple of tough situations.”
Reliever Dale Thayer (2-5) gave up one hit and one run in 1 2/3 innings in the loss.
Infielder Michael Young acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade over the weekend, will join the Dodgers in Colorado on Monday against the Rockies.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley found his rhythm on Wednesday night and picked up a victory against the San Diego Padres. Billingsley started the season the disabled list after bruising his right index finger during a bunting drill on March 15.
The Dodger bats wasted no time heating up as Carl Crawford set the tone, sent a home run deep to left of Padres starter Eric Stults for the early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Crawford who came off reconstructive elbow surgery last season, has been the offensive force that the Dodgers have needed in the lead off spot.
After a Luis Cruz single to right field, it was time for AJ Ellis to take the field. With one out Ellis smacked a deep to left field that extended the Dodger lead 3-0 in the top of the second inning. Billingsley on the mound was simply electrifying, as he shut down the Padres offense through four innings. However Billingsley got a little lax after he walked Will Venable, Chris Denorfia connected on and RBI double to right field that scored Venable. Padres trailed the Dodgers 3-1.
Crawford was done offensively in the fifth inning, as he tripled to deep center. Now Mark Ellis connected on an RBI single to center that scored Crawford and extended the Dodger lead 4-1.
“You just hope for the best,” said Crawford. “The last two years the way things were going for me it’s kind of a surprise, but a good surprise. It’s definitely fun. Even if I wouldn’t have had a fast start like I’m having now, everything is just good for me right now.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is not only surprised at the fast start but impressed. “I’ve seen how good Carl has been in the past and the last two years have been spotty as far as injuries and things like that, but I think we pretty much knew what he could do.”
Billingsley remained focused and shutdown any further opportunity of the Padres building any offensive momentum, while he continued on the mound.
After Kensley Jansen pitched outstanding in relief in the eight inning, surprisingly Brandon League would relieve him in the ninth inning. League was terrible, as he almost blew the save when Nick Hundley blasted a double to right center. Hundley had four hits on the night that tied his career high. Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera singled to right which advanced Hundley to third base. Venable connected on a single to right, Hundley scored, as the Padres trailed 4-2. Then Denorfia struck out, but reached on a passed ball by AJ Ellis that allowed Cabrera to score, and the Padres trailed the Dodgers 4-3.
With two outs, Yonder Alonso flew out to left to end the game, as the Dodgers held on for the 4-3 victory.
Chad Billingsley (1-0) finished with one run on five hits, with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings worth of work. “C.C., the first at-bat of the game, he gets us a one-run lead and gave me a little cushion early.”Billingsley said.
Brandon League picked up his third save of the season.
Crawford finished in his fourth consecutive multi hit game hitting .464 so far this season.
Eric Stults (1-1) finished four strike outs, allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings.
After an incredible come from behind win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, the Dodgers would prove they needed another later rally miracle on Monday evening to defeat the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers starter Joe Blanton who had a solid outing against the Rockies in his last start, looked to build on that performance. This time in front of the Dodger Stadium crowd, which did not start off great for him. With one on, Blanton gave up a two run homer to Chase Headley that gave the Padres the early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Blanton was able to escape and end the inning with a ground out by Chris Denorfi.
Padres starter Andrew Werner was fantastic as he retired many of the Dodger batters, as they continued to struggle offensively.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Luis Cruz woke up and connected on single to center field. Joe Blanton aided his cause on sacrifice fly to center that advanced Cruz to second base. Mark Ellis connected on an RBI single that scored Cruz, then advanced to second base thanks to a terrible throw by the Padres defense. The scoring drive ended as Shane Victorino fouled out to first base as the Dodgers were down 2-1.
The Dodgers inconsistency continued to appear at the plate until shortstop Hanley Ramirez knocked out a huge solo home run. His 24th on the year that evened up the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After pitcher Andrew Werner reached on a single to center, Dodger manager Don Mattingly decided he’d seen enough from Blanton and replaced him with reliever Randy Choate. Logan Forsythe reached on infield single to second, that advanced Werner to second base. Ronald Belisario relieved Choate, and Padres manager Bud Black decided to have pitcher Clayton Richard pinch run for Werner. Headley who earlier hit a home run, connected on an RBI single that scored Richard and reclaimed the lead over the Dodgers 3-2 in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers continued to struggle, and with little hope in sight as they approached the bottom of the ninth inning, Ramirez struck out. Andre Either comes to the plate, and drills a very timely home run that tied the game again at 3-3.
In extra inning closer Brandon League pitched his best game as Dodger, prevent any Padre from being scoring position. Now the Dodger offense had to come alive just one time, could they do it? Either connected on a single to right field. Cruz also singled to center which advance Either to third base. Dodger catcher AJ Ellis hit a clutch walk off single in the bottom of the eleventh inning that scored Either, and the Dodgers defeated the Padres in dramatic fashion 4-3.
“As long as we take care of business on our end, we’ll be happy at the end of the month. A couple guys in the clubhouse called it fourth-quarter September,” said Ellis as his jersey was being ripped off by his teammates in celebration.
“Other than getting our heart rates up, we’re not making it easy on ourselves. That feeling of knowing we can win these games late is being fortified better. It shows all the guys on this team we’re not going to roll over,” said Andre Either.
The Dodgers continue to remain 4.5 games back of first place San Francisco Giants and just .5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the Wild Card spot.
Dodgers’ Brandon League (1-1) picked up the victory with two relief innings. He gave up one hit, struck out two and walked one.
Padres Cory Burns (0-1) received the loss
Padres starter Andrew Werner gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, struck out a career-high eight and walked one in only his third start.
Dodgers starter Joe Blanton gave up three runs and seven hits in six and two-thirds innings. He also struck out six and walked two in a solid performance.