Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 1

You’re not supposed to be happy at the end of a 2-8 road trip. But then, you’re not supposed to beat Dan Haren and Brandon Webb, on their own turf no less, on back-to-back nights. Because the Dodgers did the latter, they are entitled to do the former. They are right back in this thing, folks, and if they have a good showing against the Snakes at home this coming weekend, it’ll be time to buckle your seatbelts — and maybe even to head down to BevMo to see how much champagne costs. Dodgers go to 67-70 and now trail the Snakes by 2 1/2. But the one thing the boys simply can’t afford is to get tripped up by the Pods. Three-game series starts tomorrow night (5:10 p.m.) at Chavez Ravine. See you there.

Complete list of September additions, and some other stuff

The guys coming off the DL are Andruw Jones, Delwyn Young and Scott Proctor. The guys being recalled are Jason Repko, Chin-lung Hu, James McDonald and, of course, Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch on Tuesday night against the Pods as if he had never left. The guy getting his contract purchased is A.J. Ellis, and there already is an open 40-man spot waiting for him to fill it. That’s all, folks. Rafael Furcal and Takashi Saito might be added later, but for now, the Dodgers will start September with 33 guys. Xavier Paul is NOT getting a callup despite having a good year at Vegas and despite being on the 40-man. Outfield is too crowded already, and there wouldn’t be any playing time for him. I realize that raises the question of why Repko is coming up, but I honestly don’t have an answer for that at this point. … Nomar out again tonight, and Torre hinted that Angel Berroa’s recent performance — he is 7 for 18 over the past six games in which he has registered an at-bat — could warrant more playing time. However, Joe seemed to indicate that Nomar is still his primary shortstop because of his ability to hit in the clutch. … Jeff Kent’s MRI is happening today, but we won’t know the results until tomorrow.

Don’t you know we’re riding … on the Marrakesh Express

Below is a press release the Dodgers sent out last week about the quick success of the Dodgers Trolley, which beginning tomorrow night and through the weeklong homestand will feature certain former Dodgers riding the bus with fans. They’re all listed below. I still don’t really get the connection between the Dodgers Trolley and Marrakesh Express, a song by Crosby, Stills and Nash that the Dodgers play every night when they’re advertising the Trolley on the leftfield video board — and a song that someone just informed me isn’t really about a train trip at all but instead is about another kind of trip that was popular in the 1960s. But after looking it up on that inter-web thingy that all the kids are using these days, what I learned was that the Marrakesh Express WAS actually a popular train ride that many hippies took back in the day. What they did when they got to Marrakesh, well, we can only imagine.

But I digress. Here’s the release:

The Dodgers Trolley has accommodated more than 30,000 boardings in its first month of operation and will now feature Dodgers legends on some of the rides. Created by the City of Los Angeles as a first step to meeting the demand for public transportation to the stadium, the free service, launched on July 25, has shuttled fans each of the last two homestands between Union Station and Dodger Stadium. The buses ride 90 minutes before every home game and conclude one hour after the game ends.
During the Dodgers’ upcoming homestand Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda and other former Dodgers will ride with fans. Among those scheduled are Rudy Law (Tuesday, Sept. 2), Kenny Landreaux (Wednesday, Sept. 3), Bobby Castillo (Friday, Sept. 5) and Lasorda (Sunday, Sept. 7).
Union Station is the central transit hub for Southern California, with rail lines extending to Long Beach, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, Simi Valley, the San Fernando Valley, the South Bay and the San Gabriel Valley, as well as other areas.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa led the first Dodgers Trolley on July 25 and reiterated his commitment to creating convenient, fast, and affordable options for fans traveling to Dodger Stadium.
“We’re really excited that at this time of high gas prices that the Dodgers and the City of Los Angeles have provided an opportunity to get people on the trolley, give them an opportunity to beat the traffic, beat the high gas prices, and get to a Dodger game and eat a Dodger Dog,” said Villaraigosa.
Mayor Villaraigosa was joined on the first shuttle by City Councilmember Ed P. Reyes and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who serves as the Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee.
The Dodgers Trolley is the leading topic among fans providing feedback to the club through fanfeedback@ladodgers.com.
“I really enjoy taking the Dodger Trolley service from Union Station,” said Dodger fan Vicki Addley of West Hills. “I save money on gas and parking. The best bonus is that I do not have to drive in traffic before the game. It has really added to my Dodger game experience.”
“I thought that it was on time, comfortable, quick, not too crowded, and very convenient,” said Trisha Addicks, who took the shuttle during a visit from Atlanta, GA. “If the Dodgers had beaten the Rockies, it would have been a perfect evening. Even with the loss, it was a great experience.”
“We are pleased that Dodger fans have left their vehicles at home, traveled on the region’s public transit system, and taken advantage of the service,” said Senior Vice President Howard Sunkin. “Clearly this pilot program demonstrates an overwhelming need for a comprehensive public transit plan for Dodger Stadium.”
The shuttle route, which is less than two miles, connects with regional MTA bus and rail services, including the MTA Red, Purple, and Gold Lines. Metrolink and Amtrak services are available on day games. The trolley makes two stops as it travels along Sunset Blvd. on its way to Dodger Stadium. At Figueroa St., the shuttle connects with MTA Lines 2, 4, 55, 60; Metro Limited Lines 302, 304 and 355; as well as Metro Rapid Line 704. This stop allows passengers on LADOT’s DASH Lincoln Heights/Chinatown service to easily connect to the stadium. The second stop at Marion Ave. connects the shuttle service with MTA Lines 2 and 4 arriving from the west. The return trip includes all of the same stops.
Fans interested in mapping routes to Union Station from their homes and taking advantage of the free Dodgers Trolley can visit the official Dodgers website at www.dodgers.com/trolley.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 2

The eight-game losing streak, the longest by a Joe Torre-managed team since the 1982 Atlanta Braves, is over, Don’t overlook tonight’s contribution from Hong-Chih Kuo, who was dazzling. He struck out five of the seven batters he faced after entering with a man on second, a run in and nobody out in relief of Chad Billingsley in the eighth. That saved the Dodgers from having to use any other relievers. … By the way, Billingsley won’t start again until next Saturday against the Snakes because Derek Lowe, who pitches tonight, will go Friday night on normal rest because of the off-day Thursday. … Manny Ramirez reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances before grounding out in the ninth inning. Remarkably, this is the first time in his 16-year career that he has had back-to-back, four-hit games. … Dodgers go to 66-70 and pull within 3 1/2 of the Snakes.

Some other, non-Kent-related stuff

Joe Torre said before the game that although Jason Schmidt is going to make another rehab appearance in the Las Vegas season finale on Monday, he isn’t going to pitch for the Dodgers this year. He will rejoin the club after Monday and maybe do some simulated games, or he may pitch some games in the Arizona Instructional League this fall. His velocity was mostly in the high 80s last night against Colorado Springs, when he pitched one inning. … Andruw Jones is back in Los Angeles seeing Dr. ElAttrache because his leg is still bothering him, but he is expected to rejoin the Dodgers and be activated in time for the homestand opener on Monday against the Pods. … The list of players the Dodgers plan to activate or call up from the minors on Monday just keeps getting longer. It now includes Jones, Scott Proctor, Chin-lung Hu, A.J. Ellis, Delwyn Young, James McDonald, Eric Stults and Clayton Kershaw. There could be others. … I talked with DeJon Watson before the game about Greg Miller, and he says the organization is still firmly committed to him. “Yes, we are still committed to Greg Miller,” he said. “We will exhause all our energy to get him back on track and to where he needs to be, with a repeatable delivery that he can sustain.”

Jeff Kent’s career might be over

This isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury, but given that he probably was going to retire anyway, given that he has been playing with this degenerative tear in the cartilage of his left knee for about a month knowing all the while it could tear more severely at any time (and probably would, eventually, and that appears to be exactly what happened), and given that this is a wear-and-tear injury that is fairly normal for a 40-year-old guy trying to play baseball on an everyday basis for six months, it seems unlikely that he’ll return.
“Knowing him, I can’t say that for sure,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Indeed, Kent is known for his durability, his scrappiness and his willingness to play hurt. But he was said to be in excruciating pain when he came out of the game last night. He is back in Los Angeles now awaiting an MRI that will hopefully be done either tonight or tomorrow — club officials are trying to find a hospital where it can be done on a holiday weekend. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Kent tries to play again. But from what I am told, if he does, the same thing is very likely to happen again, only more severely.
There also is a chance the MRI will show nothing other than, again, wear and tear, and Kent can be back out there in a few days. But the fact the pain was severe enough to get him to take a seat has to mean something. Kent generally doesn’t take a seat for anything other than the manager giving him a day off.
Unfortunately, it probably means the end of a Hall of Fame career. Torre said Blake DeWitt will get the first crack at the everyday 2B job for the rest of the season. It also is very possible Kent could be placed on the 60-day DL next week to clear a 40-man roster spot for the September roster expansion, because the Dodgers appear to need spots.
Just to clarify, Kent has never said this will be his last season. But it was generally assumed by just about everybody, including Torre.
“I think he was just trying to help us win a pennant,” Torre said. “All the hinting seemed to say that this probably was going to be it for him. I really respect what he has done here, and I have been very comfortable with our relationship. He is a pro. I guess that is the only way you can categorize it.”

Schmidt, Proctor updates

Jason Schmidt started and threw a scoreless, hitless inning for Las Vegas tonight against Colorado Springs, walking one batter. He’ll pitch again on Monday, and I suppose it’s possible he’ll be activated as a reliever after that, but when I asked Torre before the game, he was non-committal. Scott Proctor followed him and pitched two innings, allowing one hit while striking out four. Proctor is expected to be activated on Monday, the day you can expand rosters. Andruw Jones also is going to be activated that day, and possibly Delwyn Young. … By the way, when perusing the box score for the pitching lines of Schmidt and Proctor, I couldn’t help but notice that Greg Miller had another rough outing. He walked three, gave up three earned runs and allowed only one hit in ZERO innings. A tough stretch for a really good guy. Hope he can find a way to right himself, but this has been going on for a long, long time.

More mindnumbing numbers from a slumbering lineup

The only reason these numbers are starting to sound redundant is that they only get more and more ridiculous with each passing day — and, of course, each passing loss. The Dodgers went 0 for 5 last night with runners in scoring position. In their seven-game losing streak, they now are batting .098 with RISP, and this isn’t the first time in the five years that this team has gone into such a monumental swoon hitting with RISP. Far from it, in fact. It doesn’t mattter who the personnel is. Going all the way back to 2004, this team has a tendency to periodically go into these unthinkable dry spells when it comes to clutch hitting. They’re now 3 for 45 over the past four games, and only one of those three hits actually drove in a run. By the way, the Dodgers now have to go 16-12 the rest of the way just to finish .500. They do not, however, necessarily have to go 16-12 to win the N.L. West. What a world.

Kershaw optioned … for now

In case you missed it, Clayton Kershaw was the roster move for Scott Elbert, but that’s only a roster technicality. Because the roster expansion begins on Monday — but mostly Tuesday, because Las Vegas has another game on Monday — the Dodgers can option Kershaw now and still bring him back in time to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday night against San Diego. The 10-day rule — all players optioned to the minors must stay a minimum of 10 days unless a major-league player is placed on the DL, and that exception is limited to a pitcher replacing a pitcher or a position player replacing a position player — isn’t in effect because the PCL season ends Monday and Las Vegas isn’t going to the playoffs.