Dodgers Lineup: vs. ArizonaM.Ellis 4 Victorino 7 Gonzalez 3 Kemp 8 Ramirez 6 Ethier 9 Cruz 5 Ellis 2 Kershaw 1
For just once I’d like to see Don Mattingly throw something down in the dugout in anger. I’d like to see the players react to the frustrating losses which us fans have had to tolerate these past few months. T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times is not one who minces words. Simer’s piece about the seemingly emotionless Adrian Gonzalez and his reluctance to speak with the media really touched on a subject overlooked by many Dodger writers. The lack of fire and emotion from this team and manager which Simers describes as “a bunch of sleepwalkers” has been noticed by many fans who have been angrily shouting obscenities at their televisions during Dodger games this season. I mentioned that they seem like they are playing in a detached sort of way, and they are almost just going through the motions. Or so it seems. I cannot deny that the players are trying their hardest to score, yet a thrown Gatorade cooler or hurled batting helmet would go far in giving the fans some idea that they are just as discouraged as we are. Adrian Gonzalez explained that he doesn’t like to show emotion on the field because “it’s showing a weakness to the other team.” Perhaps that’s true, but now Dodger fans are beginning to understand where the Red Sox fans were coming from when it comes to Gonzalez’s cool as a cucumber persona. For me, the most emotional moment of the season was when Matt Kemp angrily broke his bat over his leg after reinjuring his hamstring. We all felt frightened and upset at the same time. The fans, the other players, and Matt Kemp all felt that moment together. Now if this team could play with the drive and passion that Luis Cruz does, then maybe we would have scored a few more runs. Passion and fire may not be tangibles which can be quantified in statistical form, yet they are certainly catalysts for momentum and team unity.
With that being said, I can’t deny that Clayton Kershaw is the exception to what I have prefaced. Kershaw always goes to the mound with ardor and dedication to winning for his team. Hell, he even pitched while suffering the flu on Opening Day. He’s pitched while battling plantar fasciitis, and he was upset when the training staff wouldn’t let him pitch with a sore hip on Sunday. Kershaw is always cheering on his teammates from the dugout on his off days, and he often gets riled up during games. Us fans can relate. We too get into the games with much enthusiasm. Kersh received a cortisone shot in his sore hip, and the trainers were hopeful that some extra rest would allow the treatment to take full effect. In his last start against San Diego, Kershaw wasn’t involved in the decision after pitching 7 innings and only allowing 1 earned run on 5 hits while striking out 9. Once again, it was the comatose Dodger offense which couldn’t give the Dodger ace any run support. In his career against the D-backs, the southpaw has a 7-4 record with a 2.45 ERA. He has struck out 93 Snakes in just 77 innings pitched against them. In the previous Kershaw/Kennedy matchup back on August 30th, Kersh allowed a two-run homerun to Chris Young which were the only runs of the game as the D-backs blanked the Dodgers in the loss.
In Ian Kennedy’s last start against the Giants, he picked up the loss after allowing 5 earned runs on 7 hits through 5 2/3 innings of work. He shutout the Dodgers last time he faced them and only
allowed 2 hits over 6 1/3 innings. In his career against the Dodgers, the righty is 4-2 with a 3.80 ERA. Like Kershaw, Kennedy will also be vying for his thirteenth win of the season. Last season Kennedy won 21 games, but inconsistency has plagued the Arizona ace whose record is just one game over .500 this season.
Yesterday the Giants, Braves, Cardinals, and Pirates all lost. The Dodgers gain ground in both the NL West Division standings (5 games back) and the Wild Card standings (1 game back). After the Dodgers finish the short two-game series at Chase Field, they will return home to play a very important four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at home which could decide the Wild Card race after its conclusion.
Tune into KCAL at 6:40 pm for the first pitch, and join us after the final out for our postgame coverage.