July 5, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) and relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) celebrate after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Dodgers Look to Charm Snakes Behind Clayton Kershaw in Game Two


Dodgers Lineup vs. Arizona

Gwynn8
M.Ellis4
Abreu7
Rivera9
Kennedy5
Loney3
Cruz6
Ellis2
Kershaw1

 

Clayton Kershaw-6-4 vs. Josh Collmenter-0-2

 

The Las Vegas odds makers don’t like the Dodgers. I just recently saw a Las Vegas over/under on the NL West come across twitter the other day. It had the Dodgers finishing second to the Giants with only 83 wins, and the Giants finishing five games ahead of the Dodgers with 89 wins. Even with a healthy Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Mark Ellis, the “odds makers” are still counting the Dodgers out. That’s fine because the good thing is the games are played on the field, and not in some Las Vegas bookie’s table. Because Stacie and I have never stopped believing in this team, even in the darkest of times, and we’ll never stop believing. Even after the team lost 12 of 13 games, fell out of first place, and were being beaten 9-0 by the Mets at home for their seventh straight loss, we never stopped believing. Stacie told me how grim the mood was in the press-box last Saturday during that ill-fated game. However things changed on a dime recently. The Dodgers turned it around to win three of their last four games, reclaim their top spot, and moved back into first place. How are the Dodgers doing this with all of their injuries, and holes in the lineup? They continue to get over the top performances from random players.

Kershaw, the snake charmer-Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Last night it was Luis Cruz the little known Dodger minor league utility guy, who went 2 for 4, with an RBI single. Cruz is now 5 for 12 with two doubles, and 4 RBIs since he was called up to fill in for the injured Dee Gordon at shortstop. He has also played third base as well. That’s the theme throughout this magical season. There is a new hero each night. Let’s not forget Elian Herrera who was the Dodger hero in May, and early June, hit his first home run of his MLB career last night, in the Dodger’s 4-1 win.

With that, and the return of second baseman Mark Ellis, who collected two hits, and turned two double plays, and a dominating pitching staff, the scrappy never say die Dodgers find themselves at 47-37, a full game and a half in front of the second place Giants. Meanwhile the Dbacks are headed in the opposite direction of the Dodgers. They’re mired in third place, with a record of 38-43, seven games behind the Dodgers. They have lost five in a row at home now, which included a sweep at the hands of the Padres before the Dodgers came into town.

When looking at Arizona’s struggles, it’s easy to see why, several of their key players from last year’s division winning club, are either hurt, or having down years. Daniel Hudson is hurt, and Ian Kennedy, and Justin Upton are having bad years. Kennedy after winning 21 games last season is only a mortal 6-7 with a 4.26 ERA. Justin Upton has been mediocre at best batting .263 with only seven home runs in the first half.

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight in game two of the series, the Dodgers will give the ball to a well known snake charmer, defending Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. Kersh has always been able to handle the snakes throughout his career. Kershaw is 7-2 with a 1.92 ERA, and 77 whiffs. Kershaw has always dominated the Dbacks. The Dbacks are only hitting a collective .129 (16 for 124). Chris Young is hitting .208 (5 for 24). Justin Upton is hitting only .048 (1 for 21). Stephen Drew .059 (1 for 17). Ryan Roberts .167 (2 for 12), and Miguel Montero .143 (2 for 14). Nobody has hit a home run off of Kershaw. Well you get the idea right? Kershaw man handles the Snakes, and he is coming off a win where he went seven strong innings, and whiffed seven. Overall against the league, Kershaw is 6-4, and despite a rocky start to the season, has put up similar numbers to last season, just without as many wins. Of course we know how stupid wins and losses are for pitchers. Kershaw has a 2.65 ERA, and has 112 whiffs, 30 walks, in 115 innings pitched.

Arizona will counter with righty Josh Collmenter. The 26 year old right hander allowed just one run through six innings in his last start against Milwaukee, but came away with a no-decision. Collmenter this year is 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA. He has made only six starts this year, and could be headed back to the bullpen when Joe Saunders returns. Collmenter was 10-10 last season. This year while pitching most of his time out of the pen, he still puts up decent strikeout numbers. Collmenter has whiffed 46 in 51 inning’s.

Against the Dodgers he is 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA. The Dodgers collectively are hitting .258 (8 for 31) off of Collmenter. Nobody has seen him more than seven or eight at-bats of the Dodgers who are healthy. Mark Ellis is 1 for 8. James Loney is 2 for 7. That is really it. No one has hit a home run off Collmenter. Juan Rivera has drawn the only walk to go with five whiffs.

Remember these two teams have had bad blood since last September. Remember when Parra hit a home run off of Hong-Chih Kuo, and hot-dogged it around the bases? Kershaw of course plunked him with a pitch the following night, and was ejected from that game. That was last September, and you better believe they all still remember that.

It’s been a dream of Stacie and myself to see the Dodgers in the World Series together, Join us as we continue to document the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball seasons, while we pursue our dream. I remember a Dodger team 24 years ago that nobody picked to do anything. Good thing the games are played on the field and not in some Las Vegas Casino. Game time tonight is at 640PM, won’t you join us? Don’t give up guys! Do you believe Dodger fans?! We do! Go Blue.

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Tags: A.J. Ellis Andre Ethier Bobby Abreu Clayton Kershaw Dee Gordon Dodgers Elian Herrera James Loney Jerry Hairston Jr. Juan Rivera Luis Cruz Mark Ellis Matt Kemp Scott Van Slyke Tony Gwynn Jr.