After a rocky series, the Dodgers found a way to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in dominate fashion 4-1, and regained first place in the NL West thanks to superb pitching and timely hitting. The Dodgers took two out of three against the Big Red Machine, and in the last two games held them to scoring no more than two runs.
Dodger starter Aaron Harang started off sharp against his former team, and display solid control of his pitches.
The Dodger offense stepped up in the first inning against Reds starter Mike Leake, Luis Cruz with Dee Gordon on base, smacked a single to shallow right field that gave the Dodgers the 1-0 lead. Later on in the inning first baseman James Loney hit an RBI single that scored Cruz and advanced Bobby Abreu to second base.
Adam Kennedy grounded out towards first base, Loney was caught out at second base, and Abreu made it to third base. He then continued on to score, thanks to an error thrown play by Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, that gave the Dodgers the 3-0 lead.
Harang continued his superb pitching until the top of the 5th inning, where Devin Mesoraco hit a home run to deep left that put the Reds on the scoreboard, yet they still trailed 3-1.
The Dodgers continued to show the Reds why they were an offensive juggernaut, as Reds reliever Bill Bray made a costly mistake by walking Gordon and allowed him on base. Gordon eventually stole second base. As Cruz was also walked, Gordon took the initiative and stole third base successfully, yet ended up dislocating his right thumb. Gordon stole his 30th base on the season.
Mark Ellis came in to run for Gordon at third base, and Juan Rivera grounded out which caused Ellis to be tagged out at home plate.
Later on in the inning, with the bases loaded as the crowd rose to their feet, Adam Kennedy smacked a sacrifice fly to center, that allowed Cruz to speed home to score.
Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth inning, lowering his ERA to a National League best 0.99, which paved the way for a spectacular ninth inning finish.
In the ninth inning it was Jensen time, as closer Kenley Jensen struck out both All-Star Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips. With two outs and nobody on base, Jensen got Jay Bruce to pop out to left field to end the game as the Dodgers defeat the Reds 4-1.
The Dodgers snapped their streak of four straight series loses. They hadn’t won a series since they played the Chicago White Sox back on June 15-17, and hadn’t won two out of three in a series since they took on the Seattle Mariners back in early June.
Good news for the Dodgers as they returned to their winning ways, and because the San Francisco Giants lost to the Nationals in Washington 9-4, that automatically moved the Dodgers back into first place in the NL West by 1/2 game.
Losing Reds pitcher Mike Leake talked about his rocky start, “I wasn’t quite loose. I probably should have thrown a few extra pitches in the bullpen. I was helping them out leaving balls over the middle and not really locating it too well.”
Dodgers victorious starter Aaron Harang spoke about his superb performance. “I felt like I had control of the game, was never really in a situation where I was pitching out of jams except for maybe the third inning when I got runners on first and third with two outs. Other than that I felt like I was doing what I needed to do, pounding the strike zone and getting myself ahead.”
Harang (6-5) pitched seven strong innings, with three hits and five strikeouts, while Leake (3-6) pitched seven innings, with six hits, five strikeouts, and two earned runs.
Gordon spoke about his injured thumb, “It felt like I hit something really hard and as soon as I got up I knew I jammed it. That’s never happened before. I get stepped on every now and then.”
Dee Gordon is scheduled to have an MRI on his thumb on Thursday, when leaving the stadium Gordon’s thumb was wrapped in a splint.
*Andre Either has been placed on the 15-day DL due to an oblique injury.
Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp who was recently selected to represent the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game has elected to return from his injury on Friday July 13th. The superstar outfielder is recovering from a strained left hamstring that placed him on the DL for the second time this season on May 31st. He plans to begin a rehab assignment sometime before the All-Star break.
Kemp the National League’s MVP runner up in 2011 has missed significant time from May 14-29 of this season. Although it’s highly unlikely that Kemp will participate in the All-Star game besides being apart of the Home Run Derby as captain, the Dodgers can use every boost possible to return to their winning ways.
Matt Kemp before injured had 12 HR’s and 28 RBI’s, and since his injury the Dodgers have scored a total of 6 HR’s, and have lost 10 out of their last 11 games.
I spoke with Dr. Robert Klapper Director of the Joint Replacement Program and Orthopaedic Surgeon at Cedar-Sanai Hospital in Los Angeles regarding Matt Kemp’s injuries. Dr. Klapper informed me that Kemp has had two episodes of a hamstring tear, and most importantly the 2nd MRI showed the tear in different areas than the first. Kemp needs to change his mechanics, so he doesn’t end up with a third problem with the hamstring in a new area. Something is triggering this and it’s related to his swing, and not related to running on the bases.
Time will reveal how well Matt Kemp will adjust his swing to continue to play the rest of the 2012 season, and bring power back in a stagnant Dodger line up.
For the Dodgers and Dodger fans, Friday the 13th can’t come soon enough, and that date in history will be a positive welcome across Southern California.