Friday, July 5, 2013
Matt Kemp leaves and the Dodgers roll on
By Mark Saxon
A month ago, every injury seemed to send the Los Angeles Dodgers spiraling. Now, they can lose one of their best players and give the impression they'll hardly miss a beat.
Matt Kemp left the game with irritation in his surgically repaired left shoulder, but the Dodgers replaced him with another former All-Star, Carl Crawford, and overpowered the San Francisco Giants, 10-2, Friday night. It was their 11th win in their past 13 games. At this point, the All-Star break might be the only thing that can slow down the Dodgers.
L.A.'s new-found offensive depth isn't limited to the contributions of Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, though they have certainly been doing most of the heavy lifting. It has infected the rest of the lineup. Even Juan Uribe, maligned for two straight years as his batting average hovered around .200, is occasionally doing impressive things.
Uribe drove in seven runs, matching a career high, and fell a single shy of the cycle, striking out in his final crack at it in the ninth inning.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Uribe's night -- against his former team -- equaled the most RBIs ever by a Dodger against the Giants. Babe Herman did it in 1930, as evidenced by this highly entertaining box score.
The Dodgers have had 13 hits or more in five straight games and Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 16 games. The Giants, meanwhile, have lost 10 of their past 11 games, essentially switching places with the Dodgers over the past two weeks.
Kemp swung and missed at a Matt Cain pitch in the second inning and immediately clutched at his surgically repaired left shoulder, wincing in pain. Kemp stayed in the game and was able to work Cain for a walk, but he left the following inning, replaced by Crawford, who was activated earlier in the day after missing more than a month because of a strained hamstring.
Kemp has insisted all season that his shoulder, which underwent extensive surgery in October, has been fine. He had homered in his two games previous to Friday.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly reportedly met with his four outfielders before the game to discuss how he would dole out playing time, a discussion that might be rendered moot by Friday's development.
The Dodgers knocked Cain out of the game in the third inning, his shortest outing since 2009.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 2.82 ERA) made his last-minute case to pitch for the National League All-Stars in front of manager Bruce Bochy. Ryu pitched into the seventh inning and gave up only four hits.