Pitching and Matt Kemp Having Big Week and Giants Begin to Crumble

The Dodgers had just lost a game to the worst team in the National League, that group of has-beens and never-weres masquerading as a major league club in Arizona, after having lost the last two in a series against the also less than stellar Reds. But, the Giants had shown signs of faltering, and as the hard-hitting Colorado Rockies came to town on Monday, the best team that money can buy might actually have a chance to move a bit closer to first in the West Division.

The Dodgers had their big three of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw lined up as starters for the series, and they had a secret weapon in the dugout, a weapon

not seen in Dodgers' Stadium in quite awhile, a powerful, run-producing outfielder, by the name of Kemp.

After last Wednesday's game against Cincinnati, Kemp was hitting .247, with five home runs and 18 runs batten in. Over the next four games against the Reds and Arizona, Kemp went seven-for-14, with a home run and four RBI, raising his average to .264. Then the Rockies came to town, and in the three games this week, Kemp raised his average another 12 points, to .276, on six-for-13, hitting another
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homer, and driving in five. In his first 57 games this season, he drove in 18 runs, but he’s now driven in another nine over his last seven games. A Matt Kemp resembling the Kemp of 2008, 2009, 2010, or early 2012 would be a tremendous addition to the team, and a Kemp of 2011 would make them favorites for the World Series.

Led by Kemp in the three games against the Rockies, the Dodgers outscored them 18 to three, behind the three-hit pitching of Ryu, six great innings from Greinke, and then, lo and behold, one of the great games ever pitched in major league history, from Clayton Kershaw. In case you were on your way back from a trip to the moon, Kershaw no-hit the Rockies, striking out 15, and he came within an eyelash of a perfect game, as the only

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runner to reach base was on a seventh-inning error by Hanley Ramirez. Colorado entered the series leading the NL in every major offensive category, and each by a wide margin.

Add to all this the problems the Giants are currently experiencing, and you have a race in the division. The Giants have now lost five in a row and eight of nine, and have seen their lead over LA drop to four games. Matt Cain has lost
twice since coming back from an injury, and their early-season big three of Tim Hudson, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong, have all lost their last decisions. But maybe most troubling of all on their pitching staff has been the slump of closer Sergio Romo, who has lost his last thee decisions and lost two of those recent games, blowing a save in each. Romo had a 1.65 ERA on May 9, and that figure now stands at 5.08, with him having allowed 13 earned runs over his last 12 innings.

With the starting pitching dominating, with the renewed life in the bat of Matt Kemp, and with the Giants slumping, the best team money can buy, even with the empty uniform non-manager twiddling his thumbs in the dugout, might yet fulfill some of that promise.

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