Dodgers Lineup:Crawford 7 M.Ellis 4 Gonzalez 3 Ethier 9 Kemp 8 A.J. Ellis 2 Uribe 5 Cruz 6 Ryu 1
While it wasn’t pretty at times, the Dodgers led by a red hot Adrian Gonzalez, beat their cross-town rivals 8-7 in a wild back and forth Memorial Day game at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday evening. The Dodger defense was horrendous, and Zack Greinke was ineffective against the power hitters in the Angel lineup. Yet the Dodgers pulled off the win with a four-hit game by Adrian Gonzalez and a decent performance by the bullpen to preserve the slim margin of a lead.
The real story and topic of heated discussion was the continuing struggles of center fielder Matt Kemp. Kemp was booed at Dodger Stadium while going 0-for-5 with 4 strikeouts during the game. It’s apparent that Kemp’s swing is far from his 2011 and April 2012 swing, and it was just admitted by the Dodgers that Kemp has barely just got the okay to begin moderate weight lifting again since his October shoulder labrum surgery. Many fans are angry and rightfully so, but personally I would never boo Matt Kemp even during the darkest of times. In fact, even though the Dodgers are bad as a whole, I will continue to watch every game and root for my Boys in Blue. It’s disappointing to see some fans not being more understanding of his shoulder operation and how long a major surgery like that can take to heal. I’ve known those who’ve had similar shoulder surgeries, and they have told me that their shoulders were never the same after surgery. Although his shoulder will always be surgically repaired, Matt Kemp is young and should be able to heal better than someone who is older and undergoes the same surgical procedure.
Some question whether Matt should even be on the big club right now, and many are calling to either send him down
to AAA or disable him until he is fully healthy. I fully disagree, and Kemp would most likely not even agree to a stint in Albuquerque or time on the disabled list when he’s not actually disabled. Sending him down would also destroy any confidence he still has, and it would just pit him against a lower standard of pitching which wouldn’t be beneficial when he needs to work on his swing against Major League pitching. While I totally understand the frustration, I think that the Dodgers will have to stick with Kemp while he works out the mechanical and mental kinks. I think we can all agree that he should be batting lower in the lineup for now. Kemp is not going to be broken forever, but we as fans should support him instead of tearing him down during this difficult time.
The Dodgers will hope to take advantage of Joe Blanton’s awfulness tonight in game two at Dodger Stadium. I breathe a sigh of relief to know that we don’t have to deal with Blanton as a Dodger anymore. He’s continued his horrible pitching this season with the Angels to our chagrin. While I hope that the Dodgers can strike early against the right-hander, it would be fitting for Blanton to pitch a shutout at Dodger Stadium. Last season the booing at Dodger Stadium didn’t seem to bother Blanton, or so he said. Has the booing continued over at Angel Stadium? Let me know if that’s the case, Angel fans.
Blanton just barely won his first game of the season last week against Kansas City. He allowed 2 runs on 7 hits over 6 1/3 innings. In his career against the Dodgers, Joe is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA. Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez have clobbered Blanton in the past, and both of them have a couple of homeruns against him and are hitting .357 (Dre) and .455 (AGon) against him.
Hyun-jin Ryu will go for his sixth win tonight, and last time out he beat the Brewers after allowing 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 1/3 innings of work. Ryu has never faced the Angels.
The Dodgers were able to snap the Angels eight-game winning streak, but now can they start a long winning streak of their own? With Gonzalez in the lineup, the Dodgers have a good chance against Blanton. Gonzo is on fire, and he is tearing up this homestand with two homeruns, four doubles, and seven RBIs so far.
Yesterday Nick Punto suffered back stiffness after somersaulting over Aybar on a double play. Punto, who had been pegged to start at shortstop until Hanley Ramirez is back, will be evaluated today. Ramirez is close to being assigned to play in a rehab game soon.
KCAL will broadcast the 7:10 p.m. game. Join us after to read about the highlights and lowlights.