Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 6/1/12
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers entered their Thursday night affair with the Brewers after already having lost the series, dropping their third game in a row Wednesday night becoming the last team in the league to do so. Before the game started Thursday, they suffered another loss, learning Matt Kemp would return to the 15-day disabled list after suffering another strain to the left hamstring that previously had him on the disabled list. Best case scenario for a Kemp return, according to Dodgers head athletic trainer Sue Falsone, is four weeks. With a five and a half game lead over the Giants in the division heading into Thursday night, the question is how well will the Dodgers be able to hang on without it's MVP candidate in the middle of the lineup? If Thursday night's 6-2 loss to the Brewers is any indication, the answer isn't what you might suspect. The Dodgers had 13 hits and left 11 on base leaving manager Don Mattingly encouraged. "I'd much rather have it like that where we're getting guys (on base) and giving guys chances," Mattingly said. "Obviously we got to get them in but if we're not getting guys out there than we're not going to give ourselves any chance at all. "This too shall pass." The loss was the fourth straight for the Dodgers as the Brewers completed their first ever four-game sweep at Dodger Stadium. The bigger loss on Thursday, however, was Kemp's return to the DL. According to Mattingly, Kemp's hamstring was sore Thursday morning. It wasn't the last time around. In Kemp's previous trip to the disabled list, the Dodgers were in the midst of a five-game winning streak. Not so much this time. Not only do they miss a big bat in the middle of the lineup, but an emotional leader in the clubhouse. "Most importantly we miss his energy," said Tony Gwynn Jr. "We miss what he brings to you on the field. He's an MVP candidate every year, so you're always going to miss that but we got enough guys in here that can hold the fort down as being vocal leaders." In Kemp's absence, Gwynn Jr. had a season-long eight game hitting streak and also made his share of highlight grabs in centerfield. He was given Thursday night off because he played so much in place of Kemp He'll likely be put in centerfield again on a normal basis until Kemp returns. Once again it has to be a team effort if the Dodgers are going to have similar success to the last time Kemp was placed on the disabled list when they won nine of 14 games. "We just got to stay tight like we have as a unit, emotionally, and just go out and play our game," Gwynn Jr. said. "Obviously it's a big blow when you lose a guy like that but the schedule goes on and we got to find a way to make it work." Thursday night, Chad Billingsley had another Chad Billingsley-like start that Mattingly says is "Not really bad, it's not dominant, (and) just hangs in there enough." He gave up four runs in six innings, falling to 2-4 on the season. Billingsley hasn't won a game since April 11. He finishes the month of May 0-3 with a 5.51 ERA in six starts. "I need to get guys out," Billingsley said. "That's my job." On the flip side, he drove in one of the Dodgers' two runs on the night an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning scoring Adam Kennedy. However, his next time out he surrendered a two-run home run to Brewers' third baseman Aramis Ramirez to give Milwaukee a 4-1 lead that proved to be insurmountable. "The way we've really had a lack of being able to score runs in the last few days, if you're down 4-1, it feels like a lot," Mattingly said. "10 days ago, I don't think we would've even blinked an eye at a 4-1 score." The Brewers added two more runs with a Carlos Gomez home run off of Todd Coffey in the top of the ninth to go up 6-1. The Dodgers will now hit the road for 10 games beginning in Colorado, followed by a four-game series with the Phillies and three at the Mariners in interleague play, all without Kemp and on the heels of four straight defeats. Mattingly says it's "Not necessarily" the best time for the team to be taking a 10-day road trip. "We've been a pretty good club at home. I don't think you ever want to go on the road, it's a tough place to go," Mattingly said, "but the reality is we're going on the road and we got to get going." Help could be on the way in Juan Rivera, who went 1-4 with a solo home run and two RBI in his fourth rehab start and second at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. Rivera also suffered a left hamstring strain. He's expected to rejoin the team on the upcoming road trip.
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