First of all, he took a called third strike, on a pitch that appeared to be right down the middle, with a man on third and one out in what became a scorless first inning for the Dodgers. Then, in a similar situation in the fifth, he came through with a well-placed blooper that fell into shallow right field, allowing David Wells to score the tying run and Juan Pierre to move to third (the still-athletic Wells had led off the inning with a bunt single, of all things). But when Ramon Martinez followed with a line drive to the wall in right-center that clearly wasn’t going to be caught, Kemp stopped just as he reached second, made a slight motion like he was heading back to first, then finally took off running again, all of which resulted in his only reaching third on a ball he probably should have scored on. He then got picked off third when he wandered too far off the bag, and catcher Mike DiFelice threw down. … Wells has already gone farther than conventional wisdom might have suggested he could after a three-week layoff. He is in the fifth inning and has allowed two runs on seven hits. … Dodgers 3, Mets 2, bottom 5
He got hit in the left side of the head by a pitch from John Maine in the top of the fourth and appeared woozy as trainer Stan Conte led him off the field and up the clubhouse tunnel. David Wells made a passing remark during his introductory media session before Friday’s game about always protecting his teammates, so we’ll see if this turns into something. … Dodgers presently have men on the corners with one out, which means they probably won’t score. Mets 2, Dodgers 1, top 4. … Here’s tomorrow’s notebook, but I warn you there isn’t much there.
By Tony Jackson
NEW YORK — As Mike Lieberthal prepared to make his first start behind the plate in exactly two weeks, Dodgers manager Grady Little dismissed the fact the club was 2-10 when Lieberthal starts and the fact Lieberthal had a 7.02 catcher’s ERA during those starts.
“It doesn’t really mean anything, especially when you catch as little as Mike has this year,” Little said. “When you start talking about his combined stats over that period of time and the very few times he has caught, that would be unfair. You have to look at who was pitching for us and who we were facing in each of those individual games.”
In fairness to Lieberthal, that catcher’s ERA was dramatically inflated by his three previous starts since the All-Star break. Two of those came when the starting pitcher was Mark Hendrickson, who has been outstanding out of the bullpen this year but not so great out of the rotation. In those two games, the opposing clubs scored 27 runs, with Hendrickson giving up a combined 15 earned runs on 22 hits over a total of 5 2/3 innings.
The other Lieberthal start was a typically ineffective performance by Brett Tomko in which he gave up five runs over six innings.
Meanwhile, Little said he still is unconcerned about burning out primary catcher Russell Martin, who is expected to make his 118th start of the season tonight against Washington.
“He certainly isn’t dragging right now, but we will try to catch that before it starts happening,” Little said. “When you play the game as hard as he plays it, if I had played him (Sunday night), and then we had flown all night and I had played him again (tonight), I think we would have seen it right away.”
Pitching plans: Little said that if David Wells had a strong showing in his Dodgers debut on Sunday night against the New York Mets, he likely would start again on Friday night at San Diego, meaning lefty Eric Stults would be at least pushed back and possibly even skipped the next time through the rotation because the Dodgers are off on Thursday.
Stults struggled on Saturday against the Mets. Although he allowed just three runs on five hits, he also walked five batters and didn’t survive the fourth inning. After Thursday, the Dodgers won’t have another off-day until Sept. 10, so they still will need Stults to start at least twice on their upcoming, 10-game road trip.
Trade complete: The Dodgers sent minor-league infielder Travis Denker to San Francisco to complete the Aug. 9 trade in which they acquired Mark Sweeney from the Giants. Denker, the Dodgers’ 21st-round draft pick in 2003, was hitting .294 with 27 doubles, 10 home runs and 57 RBI for Inland Empire. But he was in his third season at advanced Single-A and wasn’t considered among the organization’s top prospects.
Also: Dodgers center fielder Juan Pierre extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI triple in the third inning. He is one short of the 15-game streak shortstop Rafael Furcal had in May, the longest hitting streak by a Dodgers player this season. … Wells, 44, became the Dodgers’ oldest starting pitcher since the club moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The previous mark was held by Don Sutton, who was 43 years, 129 days old when he last started for the club on Aug. 9, 1988. Wells is the sixth pitcher to start a game for the L.A. Dodgers after turning 40, joining Sutton, Greg Maddux, Orel Hershiser and Tom Candiotti.
Sorry about the no blogging yesterday. Just needed a break. Anyway, the Dodgers sent minor-league infielder Travis Denker to the Giants to complete the Mark Sweeney trade. Denker hit .294 with 27 doubles, 10 homers and 57 RBI at Single-A Inland Empire this season. He was originally a 21st-round draft pick in 2003 and was playing in high Single-A for the third year in a row, so he didn’t have a prominent place on the organizational radar.
Too many men left on base. Too many wasted chances. Dodgers stranded a dozen, six of them in scoring position, and went 1 for 8 with RISP. The one hit they did get with a RISP didn’t even score the run. And Oliver Perez shuts them out for seven innings. Dodgers fall to 66-62. Pods won, so the boys fall to 3 1/2 back in the wild card. Looks like the Snakes are going to lose, which would put the Dodgers still 5 1/2 back in the division. Stults goes tomorrow.
The Dodgers got a runner to third with less than two outs in the first and third innings and didn’t score either time, going 0 for 4 w/RISP. Since then, Oliver Perez has settled in and retired eight in a row while the Mets have built a three-run lead off an unusually shaky Brad Penny, and really, the deficit should be worse because Penny walked the first two batters in the fourth inning and managed to pitch out of the jam when No. 8 hitter Mike DiFelice inexplicably sacrificed with Perez on deck. Martin just walked, but Loney then ended the inning by grounding to third on the first pitch, and while it took another dazzling play by David Wright to rob Loney of a hit, the fact remains that Loney went after Perez’s first pitch immediately after a walk. … Debating whether to hit the Carnegie Deli when I get back into Manhattan after the game. It’s calling my name, but it is going to be really late, and we have the day game (sort of) tomorrow that starts at 3:55 local time so … oh, who am I kidding? Of course I’ll be there. … Mets 3, Dodgers 0, bottom 6