KEMP AND RAMIREZ RETURN TO THE LINEUP
The Dodgers had lost five of their last six games leading up to Thursday largely because their lineup resembled that of the last place team in May that was devoid of key players such as Ramirez, and a healthy Kemp. A
After missing five games because of an irritated nerve in his back, Ramirez returned to the lineup with a vengeance going 5-for-7 in two games. He walked three times Wednesday and hit two home runs Thursday, including the game-tying home run in the seventh inning. It was Hanley’s first multi-homer games since last August.
Perhaps, more importantly, the Dodgers activated Matt Kemp before Monday night’s game. Kemp hadn’t played since July 21 in Washington and he even pinch-hit in Monday night’s 2-1 loss with runners in scoring position.
However, a return to the starting lineup the next day proved to be just the remedy Kemp needed as he went 4-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI, and a run scored. Overall he went 6-for-13 in the series.
It’s been a rough year for Kemp who has been limited to only 66 games this season. He looked very tentative and not quite himself many times early in the season, however, this time around, Kemp finally looks like himself.
We know what Kemp can do when he’s locked in at the plate and he’s a guy that others on the team feed off of. With guys like Ramirez and Yasiel Puig who get so hyped off of each other, imagine what a healthy Kemp’s presence will do for this team.
As I described earlier, Thursday was an emotional day for Dodger fans. I personally felt like Ethan Hawke in Training Day, excited at first with an early 3-0 lead on Ramirez’s bomb in the third inning.
Shell-shocked and depressed after Nolasco unraveled in the bottom half of the inning, like when Jake Hoyt (Hawke) aided in raiding Roger’s house up on the hill in Echo Park.
However, as Wade Miley exited the game after throwing 100 pitches in five innings, it was like the scene where Jake left the Hillside 13 guy’s house to go to the even shadier part of town to confront Denzel Washington and you knew there was business that wouldn’t go unfinished.
Sure enough, just like Jake, the Dodgers chipped away at the D’backs lead to cut it to 6-5. Then, the equalizer, like when Jake finally breaks through in “The Jungle” and he and Alonzo throw each other through a few windows, Hanley Ramirez tied the game with his second home run of the game.
A.J. Ellis, (mired in a huge slump, 2-for-his-last-28) hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning. It’s now to the point in the movie where all of the guys who live in the hood and just so happen to be strapped, have now turned on Alonzo and Jake is a free man. With this win, the Dodgers are now free, their place in the playoffs is secure, they flipped the script like Jake and hopped in the famous pool in center field at Chase Field to celebrate. Arizona had asked the Dodgers not to celebrate on the field should they clinch the division, so the Dodgers took it to the pool.
The Dodgers continue their road trip with a three-game series in San Diego starting Friday. Edinson Volquez will take the mound against his former squad and he’ll be opposed by Padres’ rookie Robbie Erlin.
With a playoff spot secured, look for Don Mattingly to give lots of guys rest. The Padres took 3-of-4 games from the Pirates on the road at PNC Park, so there’s no doubt the Padres will be fired up to play the Dodgers and hurt their playoff position.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!