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Category: Mike MacDougal

Matt Kemp takes his show on the road in Dodgers' 2-0 win

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As the bankrupt Dodgers' 2011 season winds to an end, you have to admire its consistency. A regular Swiss watch.

On Friday there was more of what this season has consistently delivered: turmoil with ownership and Matt Kemp starring on the field.

On the same day Major League Baseball asked the Bankruptcy Court to put the Dodgers up for sale, Kemp continued his torrid finish to the season.

Kemp hit his third home run in three games, tying him with Albert Pujols for the National League lead at 37, and led the Dodgers to a 2-0 victory over the Padres in San Diego.

Kemp's hot finish has him within striking distance of winning the triple crown, something that has not been accomplished in the National League since Joe Medwick did it in 1937 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Not a bad way for Kemp to celebrate his 27th birthday. With his mom in the crowd.

Kemp in the three triple-crown categories: first in runs batted in (119), tied for first in home runs and third in batting average (.326, behind Jose Reyes at .32948 and Ryan Braun at .32903).

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Was that a last chance to bid adieu to half the Dodgers?

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So did you wave goodbye? Blow a few kisses, you know, just in case.

Bid a fond farewell to the nine Dodgers who can become free agents at the end of the season? The five Dodgers who are arbitration eligible and could be non-tendered? The two whom the Dodgers hold options on that they’re not expected to pick up?

That’s almost half of the 38 Dodgers currently in uniform or on the disabled list. Some will be back; some won’t. But which, and in what roles?

The free agent list: Aaron Miles, Jamey Carroll, Rod Barajas, Juan Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Mike MacDougal.

The arbitration five: James Loney, Tony Gwynn Jr., Eugenio Velez, Blake Hawksworth and Dana Eveland.

The options not expected to be picked up: Casey Blake and Jon Garland.

That’s a lot of moving parts. For sure, several appeared on the field at Dodger Stadium for the last time Thursday in the Dodgers’ final home game of the season.

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Dodgers start doubleheader with win behind Tony Gwynn Jr.

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Tony Gwynn Jr., the forgotten Dodger?

The glamour guys in the outfield are Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. The surprising run-producing addition is Juan Rivera. The hot prospect is Jerry Sands.

And Gwynn?

He’s given the Dodgers just about all they hoped for when he signed a one-year contract in the off-season: great outfield defense, speed on the bases, a respectable .257 batting average, and on a damp Thursday as a bonus, a game-winning double.

In the first game of a doubleheader, Gwynn lined his ninth-inning double into the right-center gap to drive in two, break up a tie game and lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory over the Nationals in Washington.

Rain had started to fall when the Dodgers started their one-out rally against Washington reliever Drew Storen after he hit Sands with a pitch and Rod Barajas singled.

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Stephen Strasburg earns a bow; Dodgers beat Nationals, 7-3

Dodgers-blog_640 Stephen Strasburg strolled to the mound, if fashionably late, and was not carried on a walking throne by manservants. Hitters were not required to bow before entering the batter's box. Plebeians in the crowd did not throw rose petals at his feet, at least not literally.

Otherwise, royalty arrived and then actually delivered. Which, considering the buildup and the fawning, is saying something.

In his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery, the expressionless Strasburg was in total command. With machine-like efficiency, the Washington Nationals' 23-year-old phenom shut out the Dodgers for five innings, throwing 56 pitches on a wet Tuesday night in Washington.

The Dodgers cooperated, swinging early and often, and at no point did they actually pretend to threaten Strasburg. Maybe they’d read his effusive press clippings. And just maybe, Strasburg will actually continue to live up to the incredible hype.

Strasburg left with a 3-0 lead, but the Dodgers came back to tie it in the sixth and prevent the right-hander from earning the victory.

The Dodgers ultimately defeated the Nationals, 7-3, taking the lead on a two-run single by Rod Barajas in the eighth, Strasburg by then long gone, his budding legend one outstanding start richer, the game itself almost reduced to a sideshow.

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Nathan Eovaldi and the kids lead Dodgers to sixth straight win, 2-1

Nathan3 Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t supposed to be here. Not in the major leagues, not playing with the big boys.

Not this season, anyway. Probably not even next season.

But a series of injuries to Dodgers starting pitchers caused them to dip into the ranks of double-A Chattanooga for the second time this season and call on Eovaldi. It wasn’t exactly a move of desperation, but it was in the neighborhood.

Only in his sixth and final start of the season Saturday, Eovaldi has at least put his name in the conversation for the Dodgers’ rotation for next year.

Eovaldi struggled with his control, but the 21-year-old showed poise in containing the damage, giving up only one run in his six innings of an eventual 2-1, 10-inning victory for the Dodgers.

It made for the Dodgers’ sixth consecutive victory, a season high. The suddenly hot club has won 11 of its last 12 games and pulled within two games of .500 (68-70) for the first time since May 14.

They won it in the 10th inning after another promising Dodger, shortstop Dee Gordon, led off with a double. Anyway, his speed turned what looked like a single into a double. James Loney’s bunt sacrificed him to third, and after an intentional walk to Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera’s fly to center field was deep enough to bring home Gordon.

A final Dodger youngster, rookie Javy Guerra, pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th for his 15th save in 16 opportunities.

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James Loney's homer ties it in ninth, Matt Kemp's wins it in 11th, 7-6

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To Jason Hammel, the Colorado Rockies, the National League, et al:

Please write on the nearest blackboard 100 times, the one player on the Dodgers you absolutely do not want to beat you is Matt Kemp.

That’s easy, right? Simple, logical stuff. Kemp is enjoying an MVP-caliber season. The rest of the Dodgers, not so much.

Yet somehow with Saturday’s game tied 6-6 in the 11th inning, Hammel left one over the plate to Kemp.

Wild guess where it landed?

Kemp didn’t even hit it all that hard, but well enough to drift over the right-field fence and leave the Dodgers with a 7-6 victory on a hot, sticky day that pushed their winning streak to five games.

Kemp got some company in the long-ball department, James Loney going deep in the ninth inning to push the game into extra innings.

All this after the Dodgers rallied with five runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead over the Rockies, before a few close friends and family members.

And then – boom! – the Dodgers had barely returned to the shade of the dugout when Troy Tulowitzki hit his second two-run homer to put the Rockies up, 6-5.

The first-pitch temperature was 97 degrees, which no doubt contributed to another painfully small crowd in a nationally televised game at Dodger Stadium.

The official attendance was announced as 35,537, which was so ridiculous as to be laughable. There was maybe half that, which no doubt pleased a small group outside the stadium that asked fans to boycott the game. Official crowds are supposed to reflect tickets sold.

This crowd was so small, you could actually hear individual fans yell out encouragement, or critiques, at players. It was a spring game in a bigger setting.

Those who did attend had to be concerned the Dodgers were going to duplicate a somewhat stunning loss suffered to journeyman Kevin Millwood on Sunday in Denver. It’s his only victory of the year in four starts, after starting the season back in the minors.

The Rockies took a 3-0 lead against Chad Billingsley in the third, a Carlos Gonzalez single driving in one run and Tulowitzki hitting his first two-run homer. Gonzales singled in another run in the fourth. Gonzalez has had at least one RBI in 11 consecutive games.

With everyone melting in the sweltering afternoon, a 4-0 lead looked pretty safe after five innings. By the middle of the fourth, umpire Bob Davidson was so dehydrated he had to leave the game. He was given fluid through an IV in the umpire’s room.

Then a pair of errors and some timely hitting ignited the Dodgers in the sixth. After Millwood gave up one-out singles by Aaron Miles and Loney, Matt Belisle relieved and things started to slip away for Colorado.

Miles should have been out at home at home on a Kemp bouncer, but catcher Chris Iannetta dropped the relay for an out. Juan Rivera singled in another run, and Kemp should have been out trying to take third on the hit, but third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff dropped that relay for another error.

With first base open, the Rockies intentionally walked Andre Ethier to load the bases. Casey Blake made it a painful decision, doubling into the left-field corner to score two to tie it. Ethier also tried to score on the play, but for the second consecutive game was thrown out at the plate.

After A.J. Ellis was hit by a Belisle pitch, Jamey Carroll – batting almost 100 points lower with runners in scoring position than his overall .292 average – poked a single to right to score Blake and the Dodgers suddenly had a 5-4 lead.

The Dodgers called on reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to start the seventh, and their celebration was about to be brief. Gonzalez beat out an infield single and Tulowitzki hit his second home run – this one a line drive that landed in the second row just inside the left-field foul pole.

Then came the long ball for the Dodgers, Loney’s in the ninth to tie it and Kemp’s in the 11th to win it for Mike MacDougal (1-1), the Dodgers’ sixth pitcher. It left Kemp with an even 100 RBIs on the season. And six of Loney's eight homers have come against the Rockies.

MORE:

Dodgers-Rockies box score

Vin Scully gets the OK to return as Dodgers broadcaster

In 1966, the Beatles brought a whole new ballgame to Dodger Stadium

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp connects for a game-winning home run in the 11th inning against Colorado on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Brewers keep rolling, down Dodgers 2-1

Dodgers-blog_640 And that’s what good teams do. They hang around, scrap here and there, and then find a way to win.

It’s not that the Dodgers played poorly Tuesday night in their 2-1 loss to the Brewers, it’s just that Milwaukee played a tad better, finally coming through in the clutch with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

For the Brewers, it was their 18th victory in their last 20 games. They’re finding lots of ways to win.

Alas, too often the Dodgers discover another way to lose. This defeat came in the ninth when their bullpen stumbled.

Hong-Chih Kuo continued his frustrating season when he came in to start the ninth and walked Prince Fielder. It was the only batter Kuo faced, but it would cost him the loss.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly eschewed bringing in closer Javy Guerra, and instead went to Mike MacDougal. Casey McGehee singled on MacDougal’s first pitch. It was just a routine grounder that found a hole. It was going to be that kind of inning.

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Dodgers hit into triple play, four double plays in 3-0 loss

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Ted Lilly allowed only two hits and lost. The Dodgers had 12 baserunners, left only five on base and didn’t score a run.

When a season has slipped from a team’s grasp, it can get inventive when it comes to losing.

The Dodgers looked like the Thomas Edison of the majors in Milwaukee, falling, 3-0, to the Brewers on a Monday evening that saw the Dodgers run themselves right out of the game.

The Dodgers hit into a triple play and three double plays in the first five innings. In the other inning, they had a runner thrown out at the plate. Then for some perfect symmetry, they ended the game by hitting into a fourth double play.

And it really wasn’t like they were bonehead plays, just some aggressiveness that backfired and some strong play by the Brewers.

Meanwhile, the Brewers used three solo home runs -– by Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy -– to muster enough offense to ruin the start to the Dodgers’ 10-game road trip.

The triple play came in the second inning after Matt Kemp walked and Juan Rivera singled him to second.

James Loney, who had reached base in nine of his previous 12 plate appearances, then hit a sharp bouncer up the middle. Second baseman Josh Wilson reached, nabbed the ball and then flicked it neatly with his gloved hand to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the force at second.

Betancourt quickly fired to first baseman Prince Fielder ahead of Loney for what seemed a very nice double play. Only, this being the Dodgers, they were going to make it more interesting.

Kemp flew around third on the play and tried to sneak home for the run while the Brewers were busy with the double play. But Fielder spied Kemp out of the corner of his eye and fired accurately to home.

It looked like Kemp was going to be out easily, but with a head-first slide, he thought he had avoided catcher George Kottaras’ tag by lifting his left hand over the plate. Umpire Mike Winters ruled Kottaras caught him on the arm. It was going to be that kind of night.

It was the first triple play the Dodgers hit into since May 12, 2009 at Arizona when it was started by . . . Wilson.

It was a night when most things went right for the Brewers, and precious little for the Dodgers. Particularly for Lilly.

Lilly pitched very well, save for the required solo home run he seems to give up every outing. This one went to Braun in the fourth. Lilly has allowed 26 home runs –- fourth most in the majors -– and 19 have been solo shots.

For the seven innings Lilly pitched, it was the only run the Brewers got. Otherwise Lilly allowed only a single, walked two, struck out six ... and fell to 7-13.

In the eighth, reliever Scott Elbert gave up a solo home run to Lucroy and reliever Mike MacDougal surrendered Hart's homer.

That was more than enough output for ex-Dodger Randy Wolf, who was more than happy to receive all that defensive support. Wolf threw eight scoreless innings, despite six hits and five walks, to raise his record to 10-8.

ALSO:

Dodgers-Brewers box score

Dodgers come through for Hiroki Kuroda

Justin Sellers' home run caps Dodgers' sweep of Astros

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Brewers shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt throws to first base after taking a toss from second baseman Josh Wilson and forcing out Dodgers left fielder Juan Rivera during a triple play in the second inning Monday night. Credit: Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press

The rising of Mike MacDougal: Feel free to breathe

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire When Mike MacDougal comes into a game, how do you feel?

Confident or uncertain? Assured or plain nervous?

As numbers go, he can put up a couple of pretty good ones: 2.01 earned-run average, one home run in 40 1/3 innings.

Numbers, of course, can be tricky things with relievers. And he can also claim these: 1.44 walks plus hits per inning pitched, 21 walks, 27 strikeouts (1.29 strikeouts to walks).

Maybe you can get by with these number if it’s middle relief, but with Jonathan Broxton and Kenley Jansen on the disabled list and Hong-Chih Kuo struggling, MacDougal is frequently used as the setup guy in the eighth. His status has almost been elevated by default.

It’s not that he’s been awful, but just shaky enough to inspire something less than confidence. Like constant unease.

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Farewell performance? Dodgers can't give Hiroki Kuroda support

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Hiroki Kuroda should approve a trade just so he can go somewhere and undergo a completely different experience -- run support. Such a concept.

Kuroda pitched well again Wednesday, got zero support again, and lost again. A regular two-month theme.

He allowed one run in his six innings, and left trailing 1-0.

The Dodgers were unable to scratch a single run against Aaron Cook, who came in 1-5 with a 5.84 ERA. They ultimately lost, 3-1, to snap a four-game winning streak before an announced crowd of 29,976 at Dodger Stadium.

Several teams are interested in acquiring Kuroda prior to Sunday’s nonwaiver trading deadline, but the right-hander has a complete no-trade clause in his contract. And he wants to respond to trade requests only once they’re formally made.

How’s this for packing-the-wagon incentive: In his last 10 starts for the Dodgers, Kuroda has a 2.66 ERA and is 1-8. The Dodgers have scored an average of 2.0 runs in those 10 starts.

And can we help you with your bags, sir?

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