Found April 09, 2012 on
PLAYERS: Matt Kemp
TEAMS: Los Angeles Dodgers
By taking three of four from the San Diego Padres in the first series of the season, the Dodgers lived up to the expectations most baseball “experts” had for them. The question is whether that is good or bad. Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon showed glimpses of how exciting he can be this season. First, the offense pretty much came down to the two players everyone said it would – outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.  The two drove in 16 of the 21 runs the Dodgers scored. Kemp batted .412 with two home runs.  Ethier had four hits, all for extra bases, including a triple and a home run. Meanwhile, the pitching followed the same pattern. The top two starters, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley (1-0), combined for 11.1 scoreless innings and 14 strikeouts.  Billingsley looked thoroughly dominant Friday night pitching 8.1 innings and striking out 11. The hope is Billingsley can bounce back from a disappointing 2011 in which he went just 11-11.  He entered spring with a new found attitude.  “I can attack with my fastball; the curve is my out pitch and the change-up I can throw in any count and have a lot of confidence in that right now,” Billingsley said. The problem was how the Dodgers weaknesses also stood out proudly.  The back end of the rotation, Chris Capuano and Aaron Hurang, were a combined 0-1 with a 7.87 ERA. They gave up ten walks and neither got past the fifth inning. And how much offensive help Kemp and Ethier will get remained a question mark as well. Infielder Juan Uribe appears to be working hard towards proving he is a bust-he went 1 for 14 and struck out four times.  First baseman James Loney went zip for 12.  The number one and two hitters in the line-up, shortstop Dee Gordon and second baseman Mark Ellis, finished the series batting .222 and .200, respectively.  On the upside was watching Gordon display the potential many say will make him one of the most exciting players to watch this year. In Saturday’s 6-5 extra inning win, Gordon went 3 for 4 with three stolen bases and had the game winning RBI. Looking ahead, it appears the schedule makers have done their best to make the month of April a key month for the Dodgers to overcome what ails them.   Of their 23 April games, the Dodgers play only six against teams that posted winning records in 2011.  And those six are versus the Brewers and Braves who are a combined 1-5 after the first weekend. The Dodgers have an off-day Monday and begin a three game series at home against the Pirates on April 10th.  That day is sure to be filled with plenty of pomp and circumstance as it marks the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium. Several members of the 1962 Dodgers are expected to attend. Now that is one expectation we are all looking forward to.

Kemp, Either both off to hot starts

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...

Kemp named NL Player of the Week

This time Matt Kemp is getting an early jump on the awards season. The first award Kemp could nab in 2012 he did, when he was honored Monday as the National League Player of the Week. Kemp, the runner-up as the N.L. MVP last season, got off to an explosive start to the season in San Diego. Kemp emerged from the four-game series batting .412 (7 for 17), and leading the majors with...

Dodgers Release Former Rule 5 Pick Monasterios

The Dodgers have released right-hander Carlos Monasterios. The move caught me off guard somewhat as it was long ago he was in the starting rotation, but after two elbow surgeries the Dodgers decided it was time to part ways. Monasterios, 26 was a former Rule 5 pick in 2010 went on to pitch in 32 games for the Dodgers. In that season, Monasterios posted a 4.38 ERA with 5.3...

Mattlingly sees Lilly's rough start as minor problem

Left-hander Ted Lilly pitched in a rehab game with the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Sunday, and the results were less than stellar. Lilly allowed seven runs on eight hits in six innings against the Inland Empire 66ers, including two home runs. But manager Don Mattingly was unconcerned with the results, and more focused on the fact that Lilly got his work in to get ready for...

L.A. Dodgers bullpen decision: Mattingly picks Lindblom over Rice

Of all the final cuts from MLB camps, the termination of 2011 York (PA) Revolution southpaw Scott Rice was about as disappointing as any. Starting his 14th professional year without a regular season appearance in the majors, the 30-year-old was a candidate for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen until the final cut to make the 25-man roster when the 6-foot-6 Rice lost out to 24-year...

Andre the Great: Ethier’s Blast Wins Home Opener for the Dodgers

Los Angeles -- Andre Ethier capped off a historic and energetic opening day, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium, and Ethier celebrated his 30th birthday with a clutch home run to give the Dodgers a 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ethier, who was previously 0 for 4 against Pirates’ reliever Jason Grilli...

Did the Dodgers fix a Kenley Jansen mechanical flaw?

Between his Spring Training appearances and his appearance on Opening Day, Kenley Jansen was bitten by the home run ball four times in ten innings. In 80.2 IP prior to Opening Day, Jansen had only given up three homers, and the homer trend was concerning enough to make the Dodgers coaching staff address a supposed

Old stadium, new owners highlight Dodgers opener

Opening day at Dodger Stadium is uncommonly important to Southern California sports fans. It's also among the few team traditions that weren't dampened during Frank McCourt's rocky ownership tenure. The Los Angeles Dodgers' opener against Pittsburgh on Tuesday is doubly special this year. The Dodgers' venerable ballpark is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and...

Ethier's homer sends Dodgers to dramatic win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Andre Ethier hit a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the eighth inning, sending the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in their home opener Tuesday. Exactly 50 years after Dodger Stadium opened, Ethier hit a solo shot on his 30th birthday, a drive into the right-field stands off Jason Grilli (0-1). Ethier emerged from the dugout...

Podcast: 'Dugout Blues' episode No. 2

Episode No. 2 of "Dugout Blues" is now live. Jared Massey and I talk about the Dodgers' opening week, the contract extensions of Joey Votto and Matt Cain and how they impact the Dodgers and the minor league teams. iTunes linkPodomatic linkWe talk about Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier getting off to a fast start, Chad Billingsley's dominant performance and Dee Gordon...

Report: Magic Johnson's Ownership Group Using Insurance Money to Supplement Cash for Team's Purchase

When Magic Johnson's ownership group bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion cash, two thoughts likely came to mind. One, that fans were likely excited that Magic would be taking over as the face of a franchise badly in need of some star power after Frank McCourt's disastrous tenure. Two, where the heck did they find all that money? It turns out that the new ownership...

Good, Bad, and Ugly 4/8 vs. Dodgers

Padres Fall Short in Extra Innings Tonight 6-5 WP: Clayton Richard (1-0) LP: Aaron Harang (0-1)Homeruns - SD: Andy Parrino (1), Chase Headley (1) LA - Matt Kemp (1), Andre Ethier (1)   The Good Plate Discipline The Padres follow up 10 walks on Saturday with nine on Sunday.  For those of you keeping track at home, that is 22 walks on the season, which leads the NL. Andy...
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