Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/9/12
The Dodgers lost their series finale to the Padres 8-4 on Sunday, but the weekend at Petco Park was full of positives for Los Angeles. The Dodgers won three of the four games, and look to have some semblance of a middle of the batting order with both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier firing on all cylinders. Both Kemp and Ethier homered on Sunday, the first time they have done so in the same game since September 19, 2010. Ethier, who battled a broken pinkie and an ankle injury in 2010, and a knee injury that eventually required surgery to repair in 2011, is fully healthy this season, and he has produced, with a home run, triple and double in the first four games of 2012, with eight runs batted in. "Those guys going good is something we want, obviously," manager Don Mattingly said. "We talked about having that combination of guys, two guys we can build around." Kemp has continued where he left off in 2011, when he was runner-up for National League Most Valuable Player honors to Ryan Braun of the Brewers. Kemp has hit .412 with two home runs and eight runs batted in through the first four games, and has a 16-game hitting streak dating back to 2011. "The team counts on us to drive in runs. That's our job and that's what we'll have to do to be successful," Kemp said. "I'm feeling good right now. Hopefully I can continue to hit the ball like I have these last four days." The Dodgers scored 21 runs in their four games in San Diego, an improvement from the team that averaged 3.7 runs per game before the All-Star Game in 2011. But four games does not a season make, and Kemp, Ethier, and the rest of the Dodgers offense will need to produce over the course of the season if they are to contend in the National League West. NOTES, QUOTES Kershaw expected to start home opener --LHP Clayton Kershaw, who was pulled after three innings on Opening Day due to the stomach flu, remains on track to start for the Dodgers in their home opener on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. "He's definitely better than he was the other day. We're going to pay attention to him," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's in there doing his workouts, and he's eating. But it's more bland foods; he's not exactly firing up the Mexican grill." --CF Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a home run off Padres' LHP Clayton Richard on Sunday. The streak is the second-longest of Kemp's career, behind only a 19-game streak he had in 2008. During Kemp's streak, which includes the final 12 games of 2011, Kemp has eight home runs. --SS Dee Gordon, in addition to driving in the winning run with an RBI single in the 11th inning, tied a career high Saturday night with three stolen bases against the Padres. "He is such an exciting, high energy guy. When he gets on first base everyone in the ballpark is expecting him to run. It puts so much pressure on you," said C A.J. Ellis. --LHP Ted Lilly allowed seven runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in a rehab assignment with Class A Ranch Cucamonga on Sunday. Lilly, who is on the disabled list with neck stiffness, remains on track to start for the Dodgers on April 14 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium. BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- RBI by both CF Matt Kemp and RF Andre Ethier, who have combined to hit .344 with seven extra-base hits in the first four games of the season. QUOTE TO NOTE: "The team counts on us to drive in runs. That's our job and that's what we'll have to do to be successful." -- CF Matt Kemp, on he and teammate RF Andre Ethier, who each began the season with eight RBI in the first four games.
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