A.J. Ellis C
Van Slyke 1B
Last night probably marked the lowest point of the season so far for the Dodgers. They lost three games in a row for the first time, Clayton Kershaw couldn’t get out of the sixth inning and notched his second loss in a row, the offense was stale, and they lost Matt Kemp in the first inning after he re-injured his left hamstring. After Matt threw a fit in the dugout out of frustration, the other players looked like they had seen a ghost. Morale was low. The thing is, the Dodgers are still sitting in first place 5 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco, and their 32-18 record is not shabby. Losing Kemp for an extended time is not ideal, but they need to suck it up and pull together to prevent a steep slide that could cost them come October.
Matt Kemp will be heading to the DL, and this time we could lose him for a month. He said that his hamstring feels worse than the first time he injured it. Not good. He will undergo a MRI today, and we will let you know when we hear about the results. Unfortunately Kemp will most likely be sidelined until around the All-Star Break. His super hot April was one of the best ever by a Dodger, and it was looking like a MVP season was in his future. Sadly it’s not to be, but the important thing is for him to be 100% healthy before he returns. It’s still early, and we need him down the stretch.
Chad Billingsley will try to right the ship and prevent a four-game sweep at the hands of the Brewers tonight. After an inconsistently frustrating season thus far, we really need Bills to step up and give us a good start tonight. Last time out against the Astros Bills started off shaky, but he settled down and only allowed two earned runs in 7 innings of work last Friday but eventually took a loss. In his career against Milwaukee, he is 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA. Many of the Brew Crew have hit well against Bills (most over .300), but none have hit a homerun against the righty.
The Brewers will have Zack Greinke on the mound for them tonight. Greinke is coming off of a horrible start last Saturday against the D-backs. He allowed 7 runs on 10 hits, and he only managed to get 7 batters out. He only lasted 2 1/3 innings in the meltdown start. He has pitched well against the Dodgers in the past, and he has a 1-0 record with a 2.84 ERA against us. Tony Gwynn Jr. has hit him well in four at bats, and he has one homerun against the right-hander. Adam Kennedy has also fared well against Greinke.
“It seems like everything we were doing was working, and lately nothing seems to be working,” said Don Mattingly.
During the long season there are always ups and downs, winning streaks and losing streaks, injuries, disappointments, surprises, and many frustrating moments. That’s the beauty of the game. You never know what to expect. The winner at the end will be the team that works together the best to overcome the inevitable injuries and obstacles on their way to that golden flagged trophy. While Kemp was DL’d the first time, this ragtag team pulled together and won. We can do it again. You never want to see your star player go down, but Matt Kemp is not the entirety of this team. We have a great rotation, some young guns out of the pen, Andre Ethier-Mr. Clutch, Tony Gwynn who is ready to step in for Matty, and Juan Rivera‘s return is on the horizon. Perhaps we will see Alex Castellanos called up to try to do some mashing in the Majors instead of the perennial disappointment that is Jerry Sands. *Alex Castellanos is in fact being called up, and he will be flying to L.A. to join the team today! This is exciting news, and I’m looking forward to seeing him play. If you remember, the Dodgers received Castellanos in exchange for Rafael Furcal last season. You can read more about him in my Glimpse into the the Future: Alex Castellanos post. *
Let’s go out and wrap up May on a winning note, Dodger fans! Tune into the game at 7:10 pm on Prime Ticket. After tonight the Dodgers begin a long road trip. First stop is Colorado, and then they are off to Philadelphia and Seattle. Stay positive, and let’s not ever give up.