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What Happens When Neither Starting Pitcher Wants To Be in the Game?

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The Dodgers are all right.

I know there were some people who were annoyed with the fact that I constantly harped on the Dodgers horrible offense in May and June. It’s too early in the season worry about it, and the Dodgers are in the top of the division, right?

Well the Dodgers finally brought up the youngsters from the farm and got them in the lineup. James Loney and Matt Kemp have given the team some offensive pop. Tony Abreu has provided some clutch hits despite his inconsistent at-bats. And there’s not much more I can say about My Boyfriend.

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But Matt Kemp in particular is an interesting story. When he came up last year, he went on a tear going yard three times in three consecutive games. After a while pitchers figured out he could hit only a fastball, so they threw him breaking balls and sliders. As a result, the Dodgers sent him back to Vegas to work on this.

In last night’s game in the seventh inning with Jeff Kent on third and two outs, Atlanta pitcher Wilfredo Ledezma did not throw one fastball. With a full count, Kemp reached for a slider outside the plate and got the game-winning RBI single scoring Kent. It may not have been as spectacular as the home run he hit in the second inning off of a Kyle Davies’ fastball, but to me it showed how far he has come along as a hitter and being able to see pitches.

Another interesting thing about the game was the fact that neither starting pitcher really wanted to be there.

Randy Wolf this season has had horrible first innings then would calm down and pitch a spectacular game usually going seven innings. In this game, he had a four-pitch first inning then completely imploded giving up six earned runs on five hits and four walks in the second and third innings. The moral of the story: let Wolf be as horrible as he wants in the first inning. Edit: Wolf has bursitis and will undergo an MRI tomorrow.

As for Kyle Davies he fared worse than Wolf. He gave up five earned runs on six hits and two balls in two innings and two batters faced in the third inning.

DJ Houlton came in for the Dodgers and pitched three great innings giving up only one hit on a single hit up the middle by Matt Diaz which Rafael Furcal had trouble handling. Houlton came to the Dodgers from the Houston Astros in 2005 in the Rule 5 draft and wasn’t all that spectacular going 6-9 with a 5.16 ERA. He spent last year struggling in the minors and came back this season on fire. Once Hong-Chih Kuo was sent down last week, he came up to be a long middle reliever and did his job effectively in this game.

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One final thing. I’m surprised the umpires didn’t notice the pine tar on Takashi Saito’s face.

I lied. This is the final thing. Back in 2005, the July 4th fireworks show had to be shut down by the Fire Department after 10 minutes because it caused two tiny brush fires. I’m just saying.

AP Photos by Kevork Djansezian