Baby Hold On

“It’s a new day
Let’s look at all we’ve got
It’s everything we thought
We ever wanted
It’s beautiful”

~Dixie Chicks

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By now we all know nothing in this season is going to be easy. The Dodgers started this week 1.5 games ahead of San Francisco, heading off to play at Philadelphia and at Cincinnati. They probably could’ve ended the road trip 6-1. Instead, they head home having won four of seven with a one game lead in the NL West standings.

The big issue of the road trip was, still, lack of quality starting pitching. Bud Norris gave up six runs on seven hits in 3-2/3 Friday in Cincinnati. Brett Anderson followed up on Saturday, and gave up five runs in the first two innings. He left the game in the fourth inning with a blister on his finger. To add insult to injury, the Dodgers were outscored 20-3 in those two games. The bullpen has also given up 13 runs on the road trip, much room for improvement there.

After the game it was announced that Scott Kazmir will be seen by team doctors on Tuesday. Scott has apparently been dealing with neck and back pain, and trying to fight though it.

Monday’s game against the Reds had all the offense for the Dodgers, but starting pitcher Scott Kazmir did not fare well. He only got eight outs against the Reds after having been spotted six runs. Lucky for him, the Dodgers continued to keep hitting, including four home runs in the fifth inning. The Dodgers hit seven total home runs, including three by Adrian Gonzalez, who yelled “I love this ballpark!” after his third homer.

Two of those four home runs in the fifth were the first hit by both Andrew Toles and Rob Segedin, who went back-to-back with them. It was the first time the Dodgers have had players hit their first home runs back-to-back. Toles has shown his speed to be useful on the basepaths. With some work on his defense, he will be a very good piece for this team moving forward. Segedin is hitting .286 and does a good job at third, giving Justin Turner a chance to rest.

There is good news on the pitching front. Clayton Kershaw said he felt “100%” after throwing a bullpen session earlier this week. He is scheduled to throw a 40-pitch bullpen on Tuesday. Kershaw is able to come off the 60-day DL Aug 27. Rich Hill will finally be making his Dodgers debut Wednesday against the Giants. Julio Urias had a very nice outing versus the Reds on Sunday, going six scoreless innings, and picking off not one but two base runners.

The pitching matchups for the next three games are Kenta Maeda vs. Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday, Hill vs. Johnny Cueto on Wednesday, and TBD vs. Matt Moore on Thursday. Segedin’s wife, Robin, is due to give birth any day, and a trip to the paternity list could open a slot for Ross Stripling to return to the starting rotation for Thursday.  Stripling also could be reinstated if Kazmir needs to go on the disabled list.

The next six games will be a good measuring stick for the rest of the season, as well as the playoffs. The Dodgers face the only team battling them for the division crown, and a team that they could face in the playoffs, the best team in the National League, the Chicago Cubs. The offense is coming in red hot, after having scored 18 runs against the Reds on Monday afternoon, the most ever in the history of Great American Ballpark. Here’s to hoping you have a coping mechanism, plenty more Dodgers runs, and good pitching.

Buckle up.

 

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