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Dodgers Offense Emerges to Support Kershaw
Borrowing a line from Ice Cube, today was a good day for the Dodgers. Actually it was great as they beat the New York Mets 6-0 after having a players-only meeting called by Jamey Carroll an hour before the game started.
With how the Dodgers had been playing recently, manager Don Mattingly was restrained after the game.
“I’m going to take it as a win,” he said. “We pitched well, swung the bats tonight and just start from right there. Let’s just see what happens tomorrow.”
What happened tonight was the Mets helping the Dodgers out with a season-tying three errors. After hitting Juan Uribe with a pitch in the second inning, Mets’ starter Dillon Gee (L, 8-3) compounded things on a throwing error that sent Uribe to third. Aaron Miles hit a sacrifice fly that scored Uribe for the only run the Dodgers really needed.
Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw (W, 9-4) kept the Mets off balance through his eight innings despite not having his best fastball command.
“My fastball command really wasn’t that good today,” Kershaw said. “That eighth inning especially wasn’t good.”
Case in point, Kershaw walked Carlos Beltran to load the bases in the eighth which brought out Mattingly for what looked like the hook.
“He told me he had one more hitter,” Mattingly recalled. “I told him he lied to me twice.”
Then in a scene reminiscent of Tommy Lasorda, “The umpire said to leave him in, so I left him in,” Mattingly said which got the crowd on their feet.
The crowd got even louder when Kershaw redeemed himself by getting Ronny Paulino to whiff on a 2-2 slider to end the threat.
“I’m 1-for-3,” Kershaw said. “I was due. I was bound to get this one right.”
As great as Kershaw’s performance was the most astonishing act on the field was the Dodgers’ offense in the sixth inning with their five-run outburst. You read that correctly: a five-run inning, their biggest since a five-run third inning in Colorado on June 12. Leading off with Tony Gwynn, Jr.’s single, a walk, three doubles and a Dioner Navarro triple later the Dodgers had the six-run lead running Gee out of the game in the process.
“It felt really good especially with the Stadium packed”, said Kemp whose two-run double scored the first two runs. “We’ve been seeing a lot of yellow seats out there, so the atmosphere was great.”
The sold out crowd of 56,000 was just as thrilled during the game breaking out an MVP chant for Kemp, the first such chant heard since 2004 for Adrian Beltre.
“I heard them,” Kemp acknowledged, “but it’s a little bit early to be chanting MVP. We still have another half of baseball left.”
Perhaps the players should always have a meeting before games.
“It’s so cliché,” Gwynn said. “Guys have a meeting, you go out there and win some games.”
But with the Dodgers 38-51, 13 games under .500, “we’re so deep we’ve got take it inning-by-inning, game-by-game and see how things go.”
The win averted the first four-game sweep by the Mets and a season-high six-game losing streak.
Ethier’s Night The man of the night was Andre Ethier who had his second bobblehead night.
“This is the first one I’ll be playing in,” Ethier said before the game. “Last year, I was hurt with my pinkie injury.”
Unfortunately Ethier went 0-for-3 but did get a walk and a run scored in that sixth inning. And he caught the ceremonial first pitch from his father Byron.
All of this came on the heels of losing to the Phillies’ outfielder Shane Victorino in the fan vote for the final spot on the National League All-Star Team. But Ethier wasn’t hanging his head in disappointment.
“We represented well, and we made the best effort we could,” Ethier said. “I appreciate everyone punching away. We did all we could - we made it close.”
Like the Mets in this game, perhaps he was the tool of his own demise. He only voted for himself once. Knowing there was unlimited voting, couldn’t he have pressed the button over and over again?
“True, I guess that is a true point. But I guess I was busy out there campaigning.”
Listed as one of the top 40 creditors for the Dodgers in their bankruptcy filing last month, Andre Ethier received a two-inch thick pile of legal documents via Federal Express today.
“I think I’ll have plenty of time during All-Star break to review my bankruptcy litigation I received in the mail,” Ethier zinged. “It’s fun to be a Dodger.
“I should have gone to law school. I might find myself in the Arizona State law library brushing up on some of my stuff so I can figure out what this all means here. That’s definitely one thing I never figured I’d be doing in baseball.”