Dodger Offense Sputters in Final Game Without Matt Kemp

Earlier tonight I half-seriously mentioned that after hitting another home run in his rehab stint in Albuquerque, maybe Matt Kemp could hop on a plane and be in Los Angeles by game time. I was joking – mostly – but after the Dodgers kicked off the first game of a four-game set against Milwaukee by scoring only two runs against Shaun Marcum and friends, it’s clear they could have used his help. Then again, considering the starting outfield of Bobby Abreu, Tony Gwynn, & Andre Ethier combined to get five of the team’s eight hits, perhaps the presence of Kemp may not have made much of a difference, unless he’s suddenly learned how to play shortstop or first base in his time away.

The two runs the Dodgers did manage to get across just may have been enough had Aaron Harang not teamed up with first base umpire Todd Tichenor to make for a nightmare sixth inning. Leading off in a 1-1 game, Norichika Aoki tapped softly back to the mound, but Harang’s throw to James Loney was poor, forcing the first baseman across the bag to grab it. To Loney’s credit, he was able to keep his foot on the bag while coming down with the ball – clearly confirmed on replay – but Tichenor called Aoki safe, yet another poor call in what seems like a litany of them this year. Harang was unable to recover, walking Ryan Braun and then allowing Aramis Ramirez – who had homered for the first Milwaukee run – to single in Aoki, giving the Brewers a 2-1 advantage. Javy Guerra entered in relief and retired George Kottaras on a sacrifice bunt, but allowed the third run on a Rickie Weeks sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers threatened in the eighth – scoring once on a Jerry Hairston single – and the ninth, getting the tying run to second base, but it wasn’t enough; the middle infield was particularly brutal, as Elian Herrera & Dee Gordon combined to go 0-8 with six strikeouts.

Anyway, Kemp will be finally back tomorrow, as will Nathan Eovaldi. (This almost certainly means that Jerry Sands & Michael Antonini will be headed out, though we’ll have to see.) But will Roy Oswalt? I still think that rumored interest in him is a total longshot at best, given the full Dodger rotation and his stated preference for not heading west, but the story just won’t seem to go away