Dodgers 14, Rockies 2 … and first place alone for the first time this season

Matt Kemp had a monster day, going 3 for 5 with a double and two HRs, one of them a grand slam. He is reaping the benefits of finally buying into the Torre/Mattingly approach to hitting, something Matty was resistant to for much of last season. This year, he has bought into it wholeheartedly, and the results are undeniable. He is hitting .383 with half of his 18 hits having gone for extra bases. He also has a .434 on-base percentage and a .723 slugging average. Orlando Hudson and Andre Ethier had big days, as well, the former going 3 for 4 with a double and three RBI, the latter 2 for 4 with a double, a sac fly and three RBI. And thanks to Scott Elbert, who was given the win by scorer’s discretion after J-Mac failed to go the requisite five, the Dodgers were able to get through what Joe Torre had said would be a “bullpen day” using just three pitchers. Two days after getting called up from Double-A, Elbert went 2 1/3, giving up solo homers to Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta (who was 1 for 21 before that blast) but not walking anybody. This was a big game for Elbert. … Dodgers scored 50 runs on a perfect, six-game homestand, with 77 hits. The winning streak is now eight, matching last year’s longest, and the record is 10-3. Dodgers lead the Pods by one game in the N.L. West. Off to Houston tomorrow morning, Clayton Kershaw vs. Russ Ortiz on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Think the boys might score some runs in that yard?

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  • ELManiaco

    Are we that good of an offensive team or is our division that bad?? Regardless, this was an awesome game to watch!! Non-stop offense!! And our pitching is holding up???

  • GScott

    I think the runs will be scored because of Ortiz not the park. Houston could have done better than Ortiz by trading for anyone in our Triple-A rotation.

  • Buddy

    Matt Kemp’s OPS of 1.157 is only slightly behind Will Ohman and Scott Ebert, or to put it another way, Manny’s bat. Yes, it’s early in the season but this lineup is looking even more scary by the day.

    Moreover, the Dodgers are second to Pittsburgh, of all teams, in least runs allowed. The Dodgers are leading all of MLB in run differential at +42. That’s kind of sick when you think about it.

  • Old Brooklyn Fan

    I’m hoping this isn’t just a Dodger Stadium fling.
    They have to keep it going on the road.
    They know what they can do and I think this is the best starting 8 that they’ve had in nearly 30 years.
    If the pitching stays the way it always does and it looks like it will, they will finally get the support we’ve been waiting for, for a long long time.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    I have no doubt about Elbert’s stuff. He’s got a good fastball (although, at least today, it didn’t appear to have much movement), and a put away breaking ball. I have also read that he has the makings of solid change. Problem is, he still lacks command, and might be better served pitching in the minors where he can start, and get the innings he needs, especially given that he missed most of 2007 due to surgery to remove scar tissue from the labrum in his shoulder.

    I thought McDonald’s biggest problem today was his inability to throw his curve consistently for strikes. He needs that pitch, along with his change to make his fastball more effective. Perhaps with more innings, and a chance to get comfortable at the big league level, he will begin to throw strikes more consistently. There’s nothing in his minor league record to indicate that he won’t.

    Assuming that he continues to start, McDonald could find the breathing room he needs if the offense continues to produce at a high level. I’m not in the least bit concerned that he didn’t get the victory today. If he has the right makeup, that should only inspire him to focus that much more on throwing strikes with all of his pitches. Besides, it didn’t hurt that Elbert picked up his first big league victory.

  • KevinS

    Tony… can you elaborate a bit on what exactly the “Torre/Mattingly approach to hitting” is, and what Matt Kemp did last season in not buying into their approach? If the first 13 games are indicative of the future of the season, it seems that Matty has cut down on his strike-outs thus far… certainly the approach has something to do with this. Not to mention that finding himself a good pair of contact lenses might have helped as well.

  • Buddy

    Torre/Mattingly encourage batters to make pitchers throw a lot of pitches so that 1) they begin to tire out so that they’ll have to go to the bullpen early and 2) wait for a hittable pitch after seeing what a pitcher has that particular day.

    They especially want to see batters hit balls in the opposite direction and to be patient. Many of Torre’s Yankee teams had a high on base percentage, as have the Dodgers these past couple of years.

    Kemp was a too much of a free-swinger last year as evidenced by his high strike out rate and going after too many bad pitches.

  • GScott

    What’s funny is that Martin USED to be AMAZING at taking pitches and making guys work then smoking a ball to the RCF gap. Now it seems like we traded in Martin for Kemp. What gives?

  • http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/ crzblue

    Wow! I do keep score but had not realized that is 50 runs in the homestand! Another local boy in Russ Ortiz and yes our boys should score some more runs at Minute Maid.

    Just saw the picture of Ohman with the Manny wig! Hillarious!

    I so want to go to Colorado but I had my friends change a get together event twice already because of Dodger games.

    Tony: Just got a call from Troy from West Virginia. I forgot that I gave him my card when I saw him at Camelback Ranch. He said he will be in Denver. He wanted to ask me about the Bluetopia movie. Did you check my pictures?

    Emma
    http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

  • phillydodger

    tony
    any idea why dewitt was brought back rather than X-Paul, as you thought/predicted?

    why do they need three utility infielders, esp two that can play ss all on the same roster?

    what are the chances of j.pierre lasting the whole season?