Monday, April 7, 2014

The Beast is unleashed

How great was it watching Matt Kemp hit two home runs in the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Giants on Sunday Night Baseball?

Even greater than watching Hanley Ramirez do the exact same thing.

It was a night for the longball, as the Dodgers got one back after getting creamed the first couple of games during the first home series of the year.  Throw in six innings, two runs, and eight strikeouts from Zack Greinke, and you can see why the Dodgers can be so deadly.

For Kemp, this has been a long time coming.  His story has been repeated over and over, but that's only because we've seen him perform like the best player in baseball, so we know what he's capable of.

Sunday night was his first multi-homer game since September 29, 2012.  Yes, 2012, not 2013.  That's what injuries can do to someone.  In that game, he hit two solo shots to beat the Rockies, and soon after the Dodgers were eliminated from the postseason with a loss to the Giants on the second-to-last day of the season.

Now, this is hopefully a sign of better days ahead, for him and his team.  He only had one hit in the previous two games as the Dodgers got demolished.  Then he met up with Matt Cain, and as good of a pitcher as he's been, for whatever reason, Kemp just owns him.  Watching that sweet inside out swing on the second home run was a flashback to his near-MVP season of 2011.

All in all, the big guns swung the bats, and Dodger Stadium finally got a chance to cheer.  Let's keep it that way.

Other thoughts from the game:

* As I mentioned before, Greinke had a good night.  His only blemishes were two solo homers by Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence in the sixth.  With Clayton Kershaw still out, Greinke is obviously the de facto ace.  He could be the ace and so many other teams, so I think he's more than up for the challenge.

* Yasiel Puig sat out with his thumb injury.  That may or may not be serious, but my guess is that with four healthy outfielders again, any chance Don Mattingly gets to sit someone with an "injury" and play the others, he will.  Can't blame him.

* Chris Withrow was fantastic in the seventh, striking out the side.  If Brian Wilson's creaky elbow keeps holding him back, it wouldn't be a stretch at all to see Withrow take over the eighth.  Good for him.

* Ramirez came into the game hitting .192, and walked out hitting .267 thanks to a dominating 3-for-4 with two homers, a double, and two RBIs.  He had it all going on.

* It's fun to beat the Giants.  It would not be fun watching them get the sweep.

The next series will be fun, as following an off day on Monday, the Tigers come to town for two.  Max Scherzer gets the ball on Tuesday, and we can only wish it was against Kershaw.  Alas, it'll be Dan Haren instead.  There's a chance Josh Beckett makes a start on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

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