Guess what Dodgers just did?

They won again…
Yasiel Puig had three hits, Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs
in eight innings, and Kenley Jansen did the rest.
And Hanley Ramirez had another RBI, stolen base, two hits, and well,
he continued his tear.
The Dodgers swept the Giants for the first time in LA since 2009.
The Dodgers have won five in a row.
Kershaw got a win for the first time in one month.
The Dodgers seem to be having more fun these days, and it shows in the wins.

Final: Dodgers 6, Giants 5

Something strange is happening at Dodger Stadium.

Suddenly, remarkably, the Dodgers are healthier and playing better baseball.

The Dodgers’ 6-5 victory Tuesday over the San Francisco Giants was their fourth consecutive, their longest winning streak of the season. They won with hitting, fielding and starting pitching the Giants could not match in the middle game of a three-game series.

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Four outfielders, three outfield positions. What can the Dodgers do? Smile.

With center fielder Matt Kemp back on the job Tuesday for the Dodgers after nearly a month on the disabled list because of a strained hamstring and with Yasiel Puig firmly entrenched in right field and with Andre Ethier filling in capably in Kemp’s absence and with Carl Crawford on the mend, how is Dodgers manager Don Mattingly going to juggle his outfielders? Kemp will play in center and Puig will be in right, Mattingly said.

Ethier could move to left or take a seat on the bench.

Crawford could play left or take a seat on the bench.

Puig could play left in order to make way for Ethier or Crawford.

“It’s not a problem,” Mattingly said of the Dodgers’ impending return to health.

“We’ve been saying we’re pretty much at full strength,” Mattingly added. “This (Kemp’s return from the DL) kind of puts us there. Obviously, Carl’s not back yet, but w kind of inserted Yasiel there. We’ll figure that piece out when Carl gets back, but our lineup is pretty much back to full strength.”

 

Matt Kemp is in the Dodgers lineup for tonight’s game against the Giants

Matt Kemp was penciled into the Dodgers’ lineup, set to play center field Tuesday for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring on May 30.Kemp sat out 24 games, including Monday’s 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers, last in the NL West, were 11-13 in his absence.

“We don’t need Matt Kemp coming back as a rehab player,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We need him to be Matt Kemp.”

The Dodgers planned to make sure they made it through batting practice before officially activating Kemp from the 15-day disabled list.

Said Kemp: “Feel real good. Glad to be back on a baseball field and play some baseball. I feel good. I wouldn’t be playing if my hamstring didn’t feel good. My legs feel good. Shoulder feels good. Everything feels good. It’s a good day to play baseball. I’m in the lineup today. I’m ready to play. We’re playing the Giants today. Excited about that. Excited to get back on the field and play with my teammates and help them win as many games as I can.”

Daily Distractions: Yasiel Puig arrives again; Vin Scully tweets; Manny Ramirez returns?

Yasiel Puig Yankees

Yasiel Puig, left, went 4 for 10 in Wednesday’s doubleheader split against the Yankees. (AP photo)

What’s that old saying?

“There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it”?

Right. It’s commonly attributed to William James, the father of modern psychology.

There’s a newer saying, related to the first. One variation goes, “Nothing really puts a performer on the map like coming up big in New York.” Another contends, “a player hasn’t really proven what he can do until succeeding or failing under the bright lights of New York City.” Here’s one more: “the Bronx still provides the game’s greatest stage, and it is a place that helps make stars and bolster myths.” And when the New Yorker and Bleacher Report can agree on something, it must be true. Right?

If Yasiel Puig indeed thrived on a bigger stage Wednesday, the perception will be that he’s a bigger deal now than when he was belting pitches halfway to Eagle Rock as if he’d been playing in Dodger Stadium all his life. In reality, New York Yankees right-hander Adam Warren is the worst pitcher among Puig’s five home run victims (though the San Diego Padres’ Clayton Richard might object). His opposite-field home run in the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory bore no meaning on the outcome of the game, as did his 2-for-5 performance in the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss Wednesday morning.

But perception and reality don’t always line up. If you flipped to ESPN yesterday hoping to catch highlights of Lebron James and Tim Tebow, and saw Yasiel Puig go 4 for 10 against the Yankees, maybe your interest in baseball has been piqued by the ripped Cuban kid from L.A.

Consider the myth bolstered, the star made. Again.

Some bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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Daily Distractions: Vin Scully tackles a new medium; Manny Ramirez; links.

Vin Scully

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be “tweetcasting” during the second Dodgers-Yankees game today. (photo by J.P. Hoornstra)

Vin Scully didn’t make the trip to New York with the Dodgers. A shame, really.

Scully teased us last year with the idea of being behind the mic for a Dodgers-Yankees interleague series in the Bronx. Indeed, he’ll be broadcasting to us this afternoon. Just not from behind a microphone.

Scully will take over the Dodgers’ Twitter account during the second game of today’s doubleheader against the Yankees. They’re calling it a “Tweetcast,” whatever that means.

I personally find the 140-character limit to be a challenge sometimes. Scully, who once had aspirations of being a sportswriter, might master the medium quicker than most of us who Tweet every day. Should be interesting either way.

I can’t remember ever having to rush these through just to beat first pitch. Game 1 (Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Hiroki Kuroda) of today’s doubleheader is on Channel 9 (KCAL). Game 2 (Chris Capuano vs. Phil Hughes) on Prime Ticket at 4 p.m.

Some bullet points for a hump day:
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All-Star manager Bruce Bochy would have a ‘hard time picking somebody’ like Yasiel Puig.

Bruce Bochy
Bruce Bochy, the manager of this year’s National League All-Star team, would have a hard time picking Yasiel Puig on the merits of a six-week major-league career.

The San Francisco Giants manager explained why this afternoon on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM with hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern:
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Daily Distractions: Contemplating Kershaw contracts; Dodgers-Yankees; Yasiel Puig.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is looking for a lot of money in his contract extension. But we knew that already, right? (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are talking about a contract extension. One side or both might be getting antsy.

At least, that’s often the case when the terms of a deal are leaked to the media: To achieve something that negotiation cannot.

Kershaw said the leak came from the Dodgers’ camp, not his. Regardless, there’s not a whole lot we can read into the reports on CBSsports.com and FoxSports.com, mainly because the two stories differ on the dollar amounts being discussed and the likelihood of a deal happening in the near future.

If — and this is a fairly big if — Kershaw is seeking “about $225 million,” as CBSsports.com reports, he probably wouldn’t prefer the 10-year or 12-year contract structures mentioned on FoxSports.com, which would almost certainly lock in Kershaw to a longer term than he’s seeking. Those terms were more likely to have been proposed by the Dodgers. Again, this assumes the two reports are both drawing their separate information from reliable sources.

Is it wise to invest 12 years in a 25-year-old pitcher who has already thrown more than 1,000 major-league innings? In any player?

These are legitimate questions here. The Dodgers have probably asked them internally. At some point, we might discover what conclusion they reach. Does Kershaw think he’s worth 12 years and $300 million? Ask him yourself in about an hour.

Some bullet points for an Autistic Pride Day:

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