You know, you figured that offensive regression was going to come around sooner or later for this club, but I have to admit that I didn’t really expect it to start with Matt Kemp back in the lineup against a minor-league call-up with all of two career innings under his belt. On the other hand, maybe that’s exactly when you’d expect it to happen. Kemp contributed little in his first game back, going 0-3 against Michael Fiers until a ninth-inning double; other than Andre Ethier & Ivan De Jesus, who each doubled in the sixth to push across the only run of the game, the Dodger lineup never came close to threatening until that ninth inning. Waiting until the bitter end – as they always do – the first two Dodgers reached against John Axford, with Kemp’s double and Ethier’s hit-by-pitch putting two on with none out. But Jerry Hairston was unable to put down the sacrifice bunt – not that this was a problem for me – and ended up hitting into a double play, and James Loney grounded out to end the game. (It’s here I’ll point out that if only A.J. Ellis was hitting ahead of Loney in the order, then, well, nevermind…)
But let’s focus on the bright side of an otherwise dull game, and that’s Nathan Eovaldi‘s excellent debut, especially after a shaky first inning in which he allowed a Nyjer Morgan single & a Ryan Braun dinger within the first three batters. Those two runs were all that Milwaukee would get off of him, as he went 6.2 scoreless innings after Braun’s blast allowing just two hits. While he struck out only four, he was routinely being clocked in the upper 90s and allowed just one walk. Honestly, you couldn’t have expected anything more from Ted Lilly, who Eovaldi replaced tonight, and while it’s just one start it does make you feel a little better about Eovaldi going forward.
Unfortunately for Eovaldi, that one mistake to Braun is all it took to doom him to the loss. It’s cool though: the Dodgers only have to contend with Yovani Gallardo & Zack Greinke the next two nights.