Postgame: Marlins 6, Dodgers 3

The Marlins beat the Dodgers 6-3 tonight at Dodger Stadium to win the first game of a weekend series. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Clayton Kershaw wasn’t nearly as sharp as he has been in recent weeks, but he still turned in a quality start: 6 innings and two earned runs, with nine hits and three walks.

The bullpen lost it for the Dodgers, as James McDonald was charged with the loss and the Marlins scored three runs (their margin of victory) after Kershaw exited.

Only six hits for the Blue, and half of them were from Andre Ethier. Ethier drove in the two runs with a double in the sixth.

Wes Helms did it big for the Marlins, going 3-for-6 with an RBI and kick-starting the scoring off Kershaw. Florida ace Josh Johnson turned in a solid start: seven innings, seven baserunners, and three runs.

ETC…ETC:

The Dodgers go back to 26 games above .500 at 61-35. Joe Torre said earlier this week that his next goal for the team is 30 games over.

Don’t look now, but bullpen newcomer Claudio Vargas has allowed just one run in seven innings pitched since his return on July 4.

Ramon Troncoso was a bit out of control in the eighth, hitting two batters and giving up three hits. He was charged with two runs.

ON DECK:

Rick VandenHurk (1-0, 3.00 in one start) and Hiroki Kuroda (3-5, 4.73) tomorrow night in the second game of the series.

Kuroda, Dodgers share one language – baseball

Hiroki Kuroda swivels to face Rick Honeycutt as the Dodgers pitching coach slides a seat in front of his opening day starter’s locker. Catcher Russell Martin pulls up a chair and they’re set to launch into a pre-game assessment of the scouting report.

But while fashioning Kuroda’s plan of attack, neither Honeycutt nor Martin even glance in the pitcher’s direction. Kuroda, in turn, directs his focus elsewhere.

Doing most of the talking – and all the communicating – every fifth day for 162 games is Kenji Nimura, a 37-year-old who hasn’t played baseball since he was a teenager living in West L.A.

“You just have to trust him,” Martin said, “that he’s saying everything right.”
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Postgame: Dodgers 6, Reds 2

The Dodgers defeated the Reds 6-2 tonight at Dodger Stadium to complete a sweep of the three-game series. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Manny Ramirez, who didn’t start after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand the night before, was summoned from the bench in a tie game in the sixth inning with the bases loaded, and promptly blasted a grand slam to put the game out of reach. It was career-grand slam No. 21 for Ramirez, which ranks second all-time behind Lou Gehrig’s 23. The pinch-hit homer was the Dodgers’ fourth this season and Ramirez’s first-ever pinch-hit bomb. In 16 games since coming off his 50-game suspension, Ramirez is batting .347 (17-for-49) with four homers and 17 RBI.

Dodger starter Chad Billingsley allowed just two runs over 6.0 innings and Manny Ramirez made him a winner for the first time since June 14. Billingsley becomes the first Dodger to 10 wins and the ninth National Leaguer.

James Loney went 1-for-3 with an RBI-triple and is now hitting .453 (24-for-53) in his career against the Reds.

ETC…ETC:

The Dodgers victory tonight was their 12th consecutive over the Reds at Dodger Stadium, dating back to 2006. The last time Los Angeles had a 12-game home winning streak against any team was 1958-59, when they beat the Pirates in 12 straight. The sweep of the Reds marks the seventh time the Dodgers have broken out the brooms this year.

The Dodgers are a season-high 27 games over .500 for the first time since the final game of 1988, when they finished 94-67 and went on to win the World Series. Their 61-34 record is the club’s best 95-game start since going 63-32 in 1974.

Guillermo Mota fired 2.0 scoreless innings tonight and has now worked 17.0 consecutive shutout frames over his last 14 outings. Mota’s ERA is just 0.29 (1 ER/31.0 IP) since May 22.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers have the day off Thursday and open a three-game series against the Florida Marlins Friday at Dodger Stadium.

Report: Dodgers interested in Feliciano?

Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports thinks the Dodgers would have interest in Mets LH relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano.

Feliciano is 2-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 36 inings over 51 appearances this season for the Mets. Left-handed hitters are batting just .186 against him.

The 32-year old Feliciano is eligible for arbitration next season, and can become a free agent after the 2010 season.

Depending on the cost, the Dodgers would be wise to look into Feliciano, who has proven to be one of the more durable, effective relief pitchers in the National League.

And lets face it, with a potential playoff rematch looming against heavily left-handed Philadelphia, the Dodgers can help their cause by adding an effective lefty out of the pen, especially someone as experienced as Feliciano is against the Phillies.

Postgame: Dodgers 12, Reds 3

The Dodgers defeated the Reds 12-3 tonight at Dodger Stadium. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Manny Ramirez exited the game in the top of the third inning after being hit on the side of his left hand by a Homer Bailey pitch. Ramirez was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for precautionary x-rays, which came back negative. He is listed as day-to-day.

Randy Wolf worked 7.1 innings, his longest outing since tossing a season-high 7.2 innings May 18 vs. New York Mets. Wolf gave up two runs on four hits.

Matt Kemp homered for the third time in his last eight games. He has 14 RBIs in his last 14 games.

Rafael Furcal established a season high with four RBI, two of which came on his fifth home run of the year.

ETC…ETC.

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball at 60-34, 3.5 games better than the Yankees (56-37).

At 60-34, the Dodgers are off to their best 94-game start since 1974, when they were 62-32 after a 7-5 win vs. Montreal on July 18.

The Dodgers improved to a season-high 26 games above .500. Los Angeles is 26 games above the break-even point for the first time since October 1, 1991 at 92-66. the Dodgers were last 27 games above .500 when they finished the 1988 regular season with a 94-67 record.

The Dodgers extended their winning streak over the Reds to eight games…they also extended their winning streak over Cincinnati at Dodger Stadium to 11 games, a stretch that began August 28, 2006. Cincinnati hasn’t won here since July 28, 2005.

The Dodgers are 32-15 at Dodger Stadium for the best home record in the National League. Los Angeles trails only the Red Sox, who have a major league-best 31-14 mark at Fenway Park.

Wolf is unbeaten in his last six starts against Cincinnati, going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA (10 ER/40.0 IP) beginning May 14, 2005…he is 9-2 with a 3.11 ERA (36 ER/104.1 IP) in 16 career starts against the Reds.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers go for the sweep Wednesday, sending RHP Chad Billingsley (9-5, 3.76) against RHP Bronson Arroyo (10-8, 5.07).