The Los Angeles Dodgers began an eight-game homestand by welcoming the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs to Dodger Stadium. By sweeping the Braves, the Dodgers extended their winning streak to six, but saw it come to an end when the Cubs came into town.
A failure to produce runs and struggling pitchers allowed Chicago to take two out of three against the Dodgers.
Grade of the Week: A-
Pros: Matt Kemp continued to play well since moving to right field. He claimed he’s felt comfortable, and it showed at the plate.
During the homestand, Kemp hit five home runs and delivered a walk-off single. Over the course of the week, he batted .450 while also driving in nine runs to give him 49 RBIs on the year.
Another Dodger that hit well was Justin Turner. When called upon, Turner took advantage of his opportunities and hit for a .462 average.
With Dee Gordon resting Sunday, Turner was given the leadoff role and got on base three times in his four plate appearances. For the day, he had a single, double, was hit by a pitch and scored two of the Dodgers’ three runs.
Cons: Josh Beckett and Dan Haren continued to struggle in their starts as neither pitcher was able to throw more than five innings.
On Tuesday, Beckett only pitched 4.1 innings and gave up four runs. Fortunately for the the Dodgers, the bullpen kept the Braves from scoring further and the Dodgers finished with an 8-4 win.
Beckett got another start Sunday when he faced the Cubs in a rubber match. He pitched into the fifth inning but failed to register an out before he allowed the Cubs to score two runs on a Chris Coghlan home run.
As for Haren, his start was pushed back to Friday, but the difficulties continued for him. The Cubs punished him for seven runs over the course of his 4.1 innings. As a result, the Dodgers ended up losing the game 8-2 and Haren lost his fifth straight.
The Dodger offense found it difficult to help out their struggling pitchers against the Cubs. With runners in scoring position, the team was only able to capitalize on three chances despite having plenty of opportunities to bring in runs. The Dodgers hit .115 in those situations, compared to the Cubs’ .435 average.
Overall: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu continued to pitch well for the Dodgers, but the backend of the rotation continues to be an issue.
General manager Ned Colletti decided not to add an arm to the mix, which has left manager Don Mattingly in a difficult situation. Paul Maholm’s injury has left the Dodgers with one less experienced option.
Despite the pitching problems, the Dodgers still finished the week with a 2.5-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West standings.
Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez also had memorable weeks for the Dodgers with Gordon adding to his league-leading stolen bases with No. 51 and Ramirez delivered a three-run walk-off home run against the Cubs Saturday night.
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