With the Laker season ending, it is now time to pay attention to the team with the best record in baseball.
Interleague has not been kind to the Dodgers, however that has been put on delay as they take 2 of 3 from the Texas Rangers. The Dodgers are now only (only?) 7.5 games up on the surprising hated SF Giants. See where pitching can get you, the Giants backed by Matt Cain and of course last year's Cy Young Tim Lincecum have put themselves in the wild card conversation. Is the NL West as bad as advertised?
After being shut out by the Rangers Friday night, the young stud centerfielder Matt Kemp stole the show on Saturday. He hit a 2 run homer in the 7th and made a couple nice catches to prevent some runs during the game. This kid can run, field and hit and should have a nice career in centerfield. Paul Wolf gave up no runs in 5 innings but had to come out because of a hour delay due to the lights being out.
On Sunday, well Chad Billingsley was Chad. 7 innings 2 earned runs for his 9th win of the season tying him with Matt Cain for the most wins in the NL. Casey Blake added 4 RBI's for the Dodgers. Billingsley again pitched into the 8th, giving the bullpen much needed rest. An innings eater like Billingsley is easy to overlook, but anytime a starter can give the bullpen rest, it helps the rest of the team. I compare it to a loose ball or deflection in basketball, does not show up in the box score, but the team is just better for it.
Oh yeah, Jonathan Broxton pitched the 9th, striking out the side with 13 pitches. If you have not been watching him pitch this year, please pay attention, this is special. Batters can rejoice if they make contact. On a side note, Broxton's wife gave birth to a baby boy on Friday night, good for him and his family.
Casey Blake is hitting .368 over the last week. Kemp .353.
You do not need to hit homeruns to win. The Dodger's are 13 of 16 in the NL in homer with 46. A lot is being made of the offense not scoring runs without Manny. As long as they continue to get good pitching and stellar bullpen relief, they will be fine. They are playing playoff like offense early on, great practice for the postseason.
The Dodgers take on two more California teams, Oakland at home, and then down the 5 to Anaheim for 3 this weekend.
Jon La Bella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Written by Jon Bella