Lineup: vs. Milwaukee
Tony Gwynn 7
Ivan DeJesus Jr. 4
Matt Kemp 8-YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!
Andre Ethier 9
Jerry Hairston Jr. 5
James Loney 3
A.J. Ellis 2
Dee Gordon 6
Nathan Eovaldi 1
He’s back. Matt Kemp will return to the Dodger lineup and center field at Dodger Stadium tonight in game two of the four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. In his two rehab games for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Matt went 5 for 7 with 2 homeruns and 5 RBI. Tony Gwynn Jr., who has been filling in for Kemp since he went on the DL May 14th with a hamstring strain, has really stepped up and contributed both with the bat and with the glove. Gwynn is batting well over .300 in the last 10 games, and he has hit over .500 with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately with Matt Kemp returning today and Juan Rivera soon after, it will mean less playing time for Tony. Bobby Abreu has been productive as well, but perhaps Kemp will get a bit more rest to baby that hamstring paving the way for Tony to come into center field in later innings.
Matt Kemp’s return to dominance is not the only headline for tonight’s game. Nathan Eovaldi has been called up from AA-Chattanooga to replace Ted Lilly who was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury. This will be Nate’s first start for the Dodgers this season. He has started 8 games this season for the Lookouts, and he is 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 35 innings of work. Nate has struck out 30 and walked 13. In his MLB career, the 6’2″ 215 lb. right-hander from Houston, TX has started 6 games for the Dodgers. He made his MLB debut with the Dodgers on August 6, 2011. He is 1-2 with a 3.63 in 2011. Eovaldi has pitched 6 innings against Milwaukee, and has a 0-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and 2 strikeouts against them.
Another greenie will pitch for Milwaukee tonight. Michael Fiers, a right-hander, will make his first MLB start. He replaced the injured starter Marco Estrada. The 26-year old has whiffed 370 batters in his 346 2/3 innings of minor league work.
Today is also Jerry Hairston Jr.’s birthday. He’s turning 36 years old. Happy birthday JHair!
There’s also been rampant rumblings regarding the offer the Dodgers made to Roy Oswalt. It is reported that this offer was made awhile ago, and that Oswalt’s desired $7.5 million was too high for the Dodgers. Oswalt has said in the past that he would like to stay somewhere in the south near his home, so the logical choice would be either St. Louis or Texas who have had some interest in the pitcher. Now we do not know how much the Dodgers offered to him or when exactly. He may change his stance and go for the biggest offer regardless of where he will play at for half a season. Oswalt will still need about a month before he would be prepared to pitch in the Majors. The questions surrounding the Dodgers interest in another starting pitcher are numerous. Is Ted Lilly’s injury/rustiness worse than what they are telling us? Do they plan to shop around one of their other starters (ahem Billingsley)? These are all valid questions and concerns. As expected, Oswalt has reportedly signed with the Rangers. Hopefully Lilly’s injury isn’t too serious, and he won’t have to miss more than two starts.
The 7:10 pm game will be televised on KCAL. How do you think Matt Kemp will fare in his first game back? Can he pick up where he left off? The Dodgers haven’t lost much ground in the standings to San Francisco during Kemp’s stint on the DL. With a healthy lineup, the Boys in Blue will be hard to beat. #Beastmode returns to Dodger Stadium!