Oct 06

Kemp’s surgery

I guess it’s too early to know the extent or for privacy reasons nobody’s saying, but we’ve gotten a terse Kemp had surgery story and no more. The team says he’ll be ready for Opening Day, but no bat swinging for three months. I’m now wondering how much swinging a bat a player does in the offseason when no surgery has been done.

The 60-minute procedure at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Kemp will begin physical therapy in seven to 10 days.

The Dodgers were hoping the surgery would be little more than a cleanup and Kemp would be ready to return in a matter of a few weeks. He injured his shoulder colliding with an outfield wall against the Rockies in Colorado on Aug. 28.

Let us hope.

Update: See new post above for further details on the results of the surgery.

Sep 30

Bring on the Giants!

The Dodgers won their fifth in a row Sunday afternoon, defeating the Rockies 7 – 1. Josh Beckett got his second win as a Dodger, scattering six hits over six innings and giving up just one run, a home run by Andrew Brown. Matt Kemp, AJ Ellis, and Luis Cruz each hit two-run home runs for the Dodgers.

Fun fact: “Five of Ellis’ 12 home runs and 18 of his 50 RBIs have come against the Rockies.”

The Cardinals, by winning today, keep their two-game advantage for Wild Card #2. They see Cincinnati come in to St. Louis to play three games, and the Reds are trying to secure home-field advantage, so they’re probably not going to roll over. If they manage to beat the Cards two out of three and the Dodgers sweep the Giants there’d be a single-game playoff to break a tie for the Wild Card spot. If the Reds sweep and the Dodgers sweep, the Dodgers, almost unbelievably after the last month of inept play, would get to play the winner of Wild Card #1 in a single game for the right to go on to the NLDS. The winner of that wild card appears in all likelihood to be the Braves, who remain three games in back of the Nationals for the NL East title with three games to go. Their opponent for those last three games will be the collapsing Pirates, so a sweep isn’t out of the question. The Nationals play three against the Phillies. With a magic number of one, all they have to do is beat the Philadelphians once.

It should be an exciting next three days. And I haven’t even written anything about the American League playoff situation, which is still as muddled as it can be!

Sep 29

Still a breath of life

The Dodgers’ 3 – 0 victory this evening coupled with St. Louis’s 6 – 4 loss to Washington at home in extra innings has pushed the Dodgers one step closer to Wild Card #2. Matt Kemp hit two home runs and the bullpen was stellar following Blanton’s strong six innings. They’re still 2 games behind the Cardinals, but the Cards’ magic number remains 3. That means at least the first game with the Giants on Monday will be meaningful.

That ought to be interesting. Which team will come out on top in this ancient rivalry this time? The Giants, as they did in 1951 and 1982 (curses be upon you, Bobby Thomson and Joe Morgan!), or the Dodgers, as happened in 1959, 1993 and 2004?

Sep 27

Dodgers defeat Pads 8-4

Mark Saxon leads his ESPN LA game story for the Dodgers’ 8 – 4 win over the Padres tonight this way: “Maybe the Dodgers have finally snapped out of the maddening, month-long hitting slump that virtually swallowed up their season. Now, they have one last homestand to prove it matters.”

Hard to argue with that. When I went back into the kitchen with our dinner plates and switched the TV in there to ESPN for the scores I saw the Dodgers had 8 runs for the second night in a row and said to myself “why couldn’t they have been doing that for the last month?”

I note that Luis Cruz had more hits (3) than either Matt Kemp or Adrian Gonzalez (2 apiece) and Cruz and A.J. Ellis each had two RBI. Where would the Dodgers have been without Cruz? Do you realize he’s got a higher batting average than Kemp (.308 to .305) and Kemp’s OBP is only .035 higher (.370 to .335). ‘Course, the OPS numbers are significantly different (Cruz: .777; Kemp: .900). Capuano gave the Dodgers a good 5 1/3 innings, giving up just one run. He and Harang have been a lot better than most Dodger fans expected at the start of the year, I think.

I suspect it’s too little too late; a three-game deficit to the Cardinals with only six games to go will be awfully hard to make up unless the Redbirds completely collapse, which seems unlikely. It’s not entirely impossible, though, since their opponents for their last two series are the playoff-bound Nationals and the also-playoff-bound Reds. The Dodgers need to win all six of their games against the Rockies and the Giants to give themselves a real chance. If they keep hitting the way they have the last two nights, it’s not out of the question. Is it?

Sep 26

Seven to play

With Matt Kemp leading the way, the Dodgers won a laugher 8 – 2 this afternoon in San Diego. Kemp was 4 for 5 with a home run and a double (his 20th of each on the season) good for four RBI, Nick Punto had three singles, and Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Rivera all chipped in with two hits apiece. Even Aaron Harang, who had a no-hitter until two outs in the fifth in this game, also doubled.

That means the Dodgers are four back in the 2nd wild card chase, awaiting the results from the Houston – St. Louis game. Houston was leading 2 – 0 going to the bottom of the sixth in Houston as the Dodgers finished up their win. If Houston hangs on the Dodgers are 3 1/2 games behind the Cards with seven games to play. The Cards have six to play after tonight, and they’ll be off tomorrow while the Dodgers play the rubber game of the series with the Padres.

Sep 25

Once more, with no timely hitting

I managed to see the ESPN clips on SportsCenter. That ninth inning was a perfect example of the Dodgers’ last half of the season — out of synch. If Ethier had hit the fly ball that Kemp did the game would probably have been tied and it would have gone to extra innings, but no. Andre struck out, his third strikeout of the game.

Here’s ESPN’s Game Report.

The team is 4 1/2 games back of the Cardinals with 8 games to play. I don’t want to throw in the towel, but it would take a small miracle for them to get past the Brewers and the Cards to make it into the 2nd wild card spot from here. It’s hard to believe this team was 17 games over .500 on June 18 and it’s now only 4 over.