It was perhaps the worst beating a West Coast entity has taken on the East Coast since 2Pac was shot up at Quad Studios in New York. In getting swept by the Megan Fox-hot New York Mets(13-9) this week, the Dodgers(8-13) were outscored 21-8 in three games. It was the second consecutive series sweep for the Kings of Queens(who have now won 9 of their last 10, including 7 straight) and the fourth straight loss for Los Angeles(who have lost 6 of their last seven).
Next up for the suddenly disappointing Dodgers are the Pittsburgh Pirates(9-12), who will be L.A.’s first home opponent in nearly two weeks and will kick off a 10-game home-stand. The Pirates have lost five straight at Dodger Stadium, getting outscored 33-10 in those contests. They are coming off a week in which they were outscored 72-12 including a 20-0 loss at home to the Brewers last Thursday and a brutal 17-3 beatdown by the Brew Crew in Milwaukee.
When looking at those numbers, a series against these lowly Pirates might seem to be just what the Dodgers need to get back on track. After all, of the Dodgers’ 21 games, only six have come at home and they’ve had to play the past six of those 15 games without slugger Manny Ramirez. Since Ramirez hit the DL with a strained calf, the Dodgers collectively have hit just .192. The team’s poor early performance caused GM Ned Colletti to publicly lambaste the team in a radio interview on Tuesday. Much to the surprise of some, the brunt of Colletti’s criticism was aimed at star center-fielder Matt Kemp, whose base-running and defense was called out by Colletti.
While Colletti claims he holds no ill will towards Kemp, the same doesn’t appear to be true with Kemp. Kemp refused to comment on the brief chat he and Colletti had about Colletti’s radio critique and Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, offered up this nugget that may make the Dodger faithful cringe:
”When it comes time for Matt to arbitrate two years from now, we’re going to look at that situation and do what’s best for Matt.” Stewart said. “When it comes time for Matt to be a free agent three years from now, we’re going to look at that situation in the same way as I would with Chad Billingsley, my other client on that ballclub.” Stewart continued.
The key phrase would be “three years from now”. That’s a lot of time for things to heal between Kemp and the front office(of course, it also gives time for things to get worse as well). The public criticism by Colletti may be a combination of frustration with the team’s bad start and trying to motivate his team’s best player. There’s no denying Kemp has been getting it done with the bat. Kemp leads all Dodgers in home runs(7), RBI(20), and runs(20).
The cure for all problems, however, is winning and the Dodgers can get things back on track by taking care of business starting tonight at home against the Pirates. Clayton Kershaw(1-0, 3.13 ERA), who was the starter for the team’s last win on Saturday against the Nationals(albeit a 13-inning affair in which Kershaw didn’t get the win), takes the mound tonight. He’ll be opposed by Pirates lefty Brian Burres(0-1, 9.31 ERA). Tomorrow night will pit the aforementioned Chad Billingsley against former Atlanta Brave Charlie Morton and Saturday will be Charlie Haeger against Zach Duke.
The time for the Dodgers to get off the snide starts about a half hour from now. A sweep of the NL’s longtime punching bag could erase any potential rift between Colletti and Kemp or anyone else, for that matter. However, if the Dodgers continue to be baseball’s version of “The Marriage Ref”, it could have a catastrophic effect on not only this season but a couple years down the road as well.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.