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No Longer Kings of L.A.

Posted By Dave Leonardis On Jun 14 2010 @ 8:52 pm In Los Angeles Dodgers | No Comments

In a span of three days, the Los Angeles Dodgers went from sitting atop the NL West with the National League’s best record and riding a four-game winning streak to once again being a game behind the San Diego Padres after getting swept out of L.A. by the Angels.

The Dodgers took the first game of the three-game series on the chin, losing 10-1 at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers hurler Chad Billingsley, who was lights out all through May, lost his second straight June start and took a shellacking from an Angels team that was without top slugger Kendry Morales. Billingsley gave up seven runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. Conversely, Angels starter Joel Pineiro went the distance, only giving up one run while striking out seven. Meanwhile, the Dodgers once-vaunted offense was toothless with the exception of first baseman James Loney(who drove in the Dodgers’ only run with a solo homer in the fourth). Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, and Matt Kemp, the core of the Dodgers’ lineup, went a combined 0-for-11, with only Ethier reaching base on account of a walk.

The second game was a bit closer, with the Dodgers losing this time to the tune of 4-2. Dodgers rookie pitcher John Ely, who was once allergic to giving up walks, walked three and gave up four runs in five innings. The Dodgers’ offense was once again a one-man show, with the team’s two runs coming off the bat of catcher Russell Martin. Manny Ramirez sat the second game out, but that didn’t stop the outfield trio of Kemp, Ethier and Reed Johnson from going 0-for-11 once again(Ramirez would pinch-hit in the 9th, but ended up popping out to short).

In the finale, the Dodgers finally got some offense from Man-Ram, who went 3-for-4 and scored twice. Rafael Furcal went yard for Joe Torre’s crew but it wasn’t enough offense as Angels starter Jered Weaver beat brother Jeff’s Dodgers 6-5. The Dodgers’ pitching staff was eaten alive by Angels center-fielder Torii Hunter. Hunter had an RBI in each game of the series, including a 3 RBI performance in the opener.

The recent bad stretch for the boys in Dodger blue needs to end fast is L.A. is going to stay afloat in the West. Tonight, the Dodgers travel to Cincinnati to start a three-game series against the NL Central-leading Reds. Lucky for the Dodgers, they draw 6’7 pitching punching bag Aaron Harang to start things off for the Reds. Harang’s 5-5 with a 5.17 ERA and he’s given up four runs or more in six of his 13 starts this season. It doesn’t help “The Harangatang” that he’ll be facing a hungry Dodgers lineup inside of that new age bandbox they call “The Great American Ballpark”.  Harang will square off with Hiroki Kuroda, once the Dodgers’  leader in wins and go-to guy to end losing streaks. After Harang, however, it stops getting easy. Rookie phenom Mike Leake, who at 5-0 with 52 K’s and a 2.68 ERA is now what John Ely used to be, will face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. You would like to think fate eventually will intervene and end Leake’s hot streak but, given the Dodgers’ inconsistency in the Angels’ series, you can never tell. In the finale, it’s crooning John Mayer-wannabe and infamous juicer Bronson Arroyo against Chad Billingsley. The pitching match-ups seem to favor Los Angeles but the short porches in Cincy’s sandlot make that advantage moot. This game comes down to which offense shows up. If the Dodgers hope to get back to where they were last week, they need to put the big boy pants back on, bring the bats out of the closet and do some old-fashioned raking.

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