A tough loss for the Dodgers last night was stomached much easier after the team realized that it would be getting a huge upgrade with the return of Matt Kemp from the 15-day DL tonight.
The team gained a half-game on the second-place Giants in the process, and hit much better without Kemp than with him. His presence in the clubhouse should send chills to those in the opposing dugout. This could be especially true for Michael Fiers, the Brewers pitcher making his first Major League start. He will try to guide Milwaukee to their second victory in a series for the first time since winning two games against the Cubs on May 11-13th.
Opposing Fiers is Nathan Eovaldi, who takes Ted Lilly’s start after the southpaw was placed on the 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation. There is much hope that Ted will miss only the minimum amount of time, this after he allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Milwaukee Brewers (20-28) at Los Angeles Dodgers (32-16)
7:10 PM PST, May 29, 2012
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
TV: KCAL, MLB Network
Promotion: “The Infield” Bobblehead
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 63 degrees, Mostly Clear
Dodgers Last 10: (7-3): L vs MIL, W vs HOU, W vs HOU, L vs HOU, L @ ARI, W @ ARI, W @ ARI, W vs STL, W vs STL, W vs STL.
Brewers Last 10: (4-6): W @ LA, L @ ARI, L @ ARI, W @ ARI, W vs SF, L vs SF, L vs SF, W vs MIN, L vs MIN, L vs MIN.
- The final tally for the Dodgers without Matt Kemp was at 9-5 record, hitting .292, scoring 64 runs, and allowing 50, good for a Pythagorean Theorem of 91-71. Kemp went 5-for-7 with two home runs and five RBIs in two minor-league rehab games at Triple-A Albuquerque.
- Two rookies will have at it tonight. Dodger starter Nathan Eovaldi is 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA for Double-A Chattanooga. Meanwhile, Michael Fiers was 1-3 with a 4.42 ERA for Triple-A Nashville. Eovaldi started in six games last season for the Dodgers, going 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA.
- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is 6-for-10 with two home runs in his last three games against the Dodgers.
Keys to a Dodger Victory:
- Follow the Leader
Typically a player coming off of the disabled list brings forth some caution for a ballclub, who might ease him slowly back into the swing of things. However, Matt Kemp might be the exception, especially after his torrid performance in the Minors over the weekend. Kemp provides a lot of pop to a Dodgers lineup that is explosive, but otherwise lacks it. He adds that extra bat to the lineup to protect Andre Ethier, and thus make him even deadlier than he already was. What’s going to be a challenge for the Dodgers is the way they might approach their lineup. Tony Gwynn, Jr. has been instrumental in aiding the Dodgers’ success, but will now go back to having just a supporting role.
Kemp looks to continue upon an MVP campaign that still has him hitting .359/.446/.726 with 12 home runs and 28 RBIs. He trails Andre Ethier by 13 for the RBI lead, which isn’t bad considering the 14 games he missed. Matt does return to find that his second baseman Mark Ellis is gone, but might have found a better one in Elian Herrera. How much will his value go up hitting in front of Kemp? The possibilities are endless.
- Enjoy the Audition
It is unknown just who Nathan Eovaldi will be pitching for in the future. On one hand he is looking to remain a member of the Dodgers rotation, but on the other he makes a tremendous trading chip capable of being dangled for a big-name come the July 31st trade deadline. Eovaldi saw the Brewers in Milwaukee last season, and held them to two runs on five hits in 6.0 innings, walking three, and striking out two. The 25 hitters he faced are the most in an outing over his Major League career.
As a starter Eovaldi went 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA, but went back to Double-A Chattanooga after the season. At just 22-years-old, Nathan has a lot of time to adjust to life in the Bigs. Today’s start could have a lot more meaning than one might think, so he has to go out there and enjoy it. It could result in his stay with the Dodgers, trade to another club, or return to the Lookouts.
I wouldn’t count on the latter, at least not for too long.
Best-Case Prediction: Dodgers 5, Brewers 4
Worst-Case: Brewers 3, Dodgers 1