Living here in Southern California we have the luxury of the best weather year-round and access to the beach so its to no surprise that you will find locals, tourist, and celebrities catching some sun and keeping cool in the California beaches. It is no different for the Dodgers around this time of the year, they are under some heat (and not from the sun) but from the standings, they find themeselves in 3rd place (6GB) of the Padres. They just concluded a 4-game series vs. the Mets, who back in April swept the Dodgers in the Big Apple. The Dodgers won 3 of 4 games vs. the Mets this time around keeping pace with the Padres who swept the Pirates. The Dodgers had a rough first week in the 2nd half, but these three wins, and 4th win of the last 5 is certainly going on the right direction, but now its time to bring the “A+” game on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the Dodgers will head South to San Diego, to take on the division leading Padres. This series is HUGE in as many ways as you can think. The Dodgers have a chance to cool down the Padres and get closer in the division as much as 3GB if the Dodgers are to sweep. But really, the Dodgers just dont want to leave San Diego worse than they came in, 9GB if they are swept (knock on wood), it should be a great series because there is a lot on the table.
The Dodgers starting pitching has been on fire!!!! Billingsley who will start on Tuesday for LA, pitched a complete game shutout his last time around. Kuroda followed him by going 8IP of scoreless baseball and although Padilla got the loss on Friday, Vicente went 7 innings and gave up 2 runs. The 5th starter who each week is a new face, has been the question mark for the Dodgers all season. Finally, Kershaw pitched 8innings and gave up no runs vs. the Mets on Sunday and picked up the win. So the Dodger starting pitching needs to continue their momentum especially in this upcoming series. The bullpen on the other hand also improved…slightly in this series. Although they werent really used, with the exception of Saturday’s extra-inning fiasco. But on Friday they did give up 4 big runs to let the game get away. So, there is definite room for improvement, although Kenley Jansen (spanish for Johnson?) has really put his mark early. Getting his first save on Sunday. Im not jumping on his bandwagon…yet. He still has a lot more to prove than two apperances, but so far so good.
On another note, the offense has been “ok”…Ethier is having a harder time up there with those outside pitches. Casey Blake cant seem to get a key hit in key situations. Furcal and Kemp have been doing good offensively, but everyone else is playing like they use the internet, just from time to time. We will need offense in this upcoming series.
Joe Torre are ready to hit the beach on Tuesday, they certainly would love to avoid the heat and swim on to another NL West championship, rather than get left behind and sinking. HUGE matchup to say the least.