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Just as the Dodgers start to play better, slugger Manny Ramirez goes on the 15-day disable list with a pulled right hamstring. (Photo by Jeff Lewis)
By Tamara LattaSentinel Sports Writer
After boycotting the last three weeks, the Dodgers finally played like they belong in Los Angeles. For a minute I thought we'd have to disown the team and jump on the Halos bandwagon.
All the Dodgers needed was a mini vacation away from LA to clear some smoke in the air. They almost had a perfect performance winning 5 out of 6 games on the road.
The Dodgers are climbing back up the charts. They're now only 3 1/2 games behind the first-place San Diego Padres in the National League West. Matt Kemp is one of the reasons the Dodgers had a superb road trip.
He went haywire on the road, going 9-for-22 with three home runs and seven RBIs. That was a polite way to answer to all the critics that his affair with R&B singer Rihanna was a distraction to his game. On Sunday Kemp blasted a two-run homer in the eighth- inning, giving the Dodgers the victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This season hasn't been in Kemp's favor as he has been criticized for his lack of performance on defense and offense. It was only a matter of time before Manager Joe Torre gave him a little rest to clear his head. I'm sure Torre knew Kemp would get the message if he took his starting job away from him. After getting the bench warm for three games, Kemp requested a meeting with Torre. I'm assuming the meeting was positive because he got his job back and put his game face back on.
"I just had a little time to sit back, relax my body and watch a couple of baseball games," said Kemp. "What we discussed is between us but everything is good now".
When the Dodgers were slumping, I vowed not to put my two cents in because I clearly said "the minute you start writing about their slump, they'd make you pay for it".
As I mentioned before the Dodgers are a team with potential to do something very special, but pitching is severely hurting them right now. Their pitching staff isn't consistent and their ace is Clayton Kershaw who happens to be only twenty-two years old. With the second half of the season already here rumors have surfaced that the Dodgers are looking to upgrade their bullpen. I here Cliff Lee, who's an ace with the Seattle Mariners, are on top of their wish list.
If the Dodgers can put a pitching staff together and get guys like Kemp, Loney, Furcal, and Eithier to find their stroke on a regular basis, we may just have another parade in Southern California. They can give you a hard time with their bats, but when it comes down to pitching they just don't have all the mechanics.
The Dodgers are now facing a four game home stand against the Chicago Cubs today before taking three days off for the all-star break; hopefully they can stay on a hot streak and move back up to first place in the NL West.