It’s been a frustrating 12 games for Dodger fans as the Dodgers went 3-9 and have everyone panicking that they peaked too soon. However, injuries to Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have made it difficult for Don Mattingly to put together a competitive lineup in the interim.
Ramirez left Thursday nights game against the Giants with hamstring tightness, while Ethier is dealing with a sore ankle and Crawford an issue in his back. The Dodgers got somewhat healthier with the return of Matt Kemp, but he struck out to end the game in the 9th.
More reinforcements are on the way as Kemp and Hanley will both be in the lineup according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp start tonight.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) September 17, 2013
Kemp ran earlier today and after he was supposedly “tentative” running the bases yesterday and it sounds like he’s shown the coaching staff enough to get the start tonight. Meanwhile, Hanley tested his back yesterday as he’s dealing with a similar injury that put him on the DL in 2011.
With all the losing, the Dodgers now trail the Pirates and Cardinals for the second-best record in the National League and at the moment they’d start the playoffs on the road. The biggest thing for Kemp is getting used to facing major league pitching as he hasn’t played a full game since injuring his ankle in the 9th inning on July 21.
Giving Hanley and Kemp at-bats down the stretch will give them a chance to get their timing back and hopefully ignite a slumping Dodger offense.
In case you missed it, be sure to find out more about the problems facing the signing of Takumi Numata.