Dodgers Hope to Stop the Chop During Weekend Set in Hotlanta


Dodgers Lineup vs. Braves

Victorino 7M.Ellis 4Kemp 8Ethier 9Ramirez 6Loney 3Cruz 5Treanor 2Capuano 1

Chris Capuano-11-8 vs. Tommy Hanson-12-5

As the Southern California weather heats up, so does the Dodger’s play. While the south-land is enveloped in a nasty heat wave, the Dodgers have traveled to Hotlanta to finish their ten game roadtrip with a three game weekend series with the Atlanta Braves.

The Dodgers have won five of the seven on this current trip, and seven of their last 11 overall. And after all that the Dodgers have been through this season, the injuries, the slumps, the tough games, throughout it all despite almost the entire world outside Los Angeles counting the Dodgers out, the boys inn blue have moved back into first place. Albeit, by the smallest of margins, by only a half game in front of the rival Giants.

The Braves on the other hand have had a stranglehold on the top wild card spot for some time now. Atlanta is 69-49, second place in the NL East, four games behind Washington. The Braves are four and a half games in front of the Dodgers, and four games ahead of the next closest team Pittsburgh. Also note that the Giants, and Cardinals are both only a game behind the Pirates. The Braves are a tough team, and this series won’t be easy for our Boys in Blue. The Braves generally play very well at home, and have a 35-27 record at Turner Field. The Dodgers are 32-29 on the road.

The Dodgers are one of the hottest road teams having gone 12-4 on the road since the all-star break. The Dodgers have only played the Braves once this season. The Braves took two of three at Dodger Stadium earlier this season from April 23-25. Although the Dodgers are coming off of a frustrating loss yesterday to the Pirates, in which Matt Kemp and Manager Don Mattingly were both ejected from the game. Kemp was ejected from the Dodger dugout for cheering for his teammate, after yelling out “Let’s Go Dre!” while Andre Ethier was batting. Kemp had to be restrained, and it is still unknown weather he will face fines and or suspensions from the league for the incident. Let’s hope the umpires will not be on a power trip for this series.

Joe Blanton was absolutely atrocious in his second start for the Dodgers yesterday. In his two starts with the Blue he has allowed ten runs, and seven walks. We also learned that minor leaguer Ryan O ‘Sullivan was the player to be named later going to the Phillies to complete the trade. I guess not every trade can be a winner. Yeesh is he bad. Moving on…..

This Saturday night marks the annual Civil Rights Game, and Civil rights weekend in Atlanta. While the actual CRG is on Saturday night, the two teams will be honoring all people who fought for the civil rights movement all throughout the weekend. There will also be the Beacon Awards Luncheon where awards will be given to the people who’s spirit most embodies the Civil rights movement. Former Brooklyn Dodger’s pitcher Don Newcombe will be honored, along with Sam Jethroe, the Brave’s first African-American player, and Jackie Robinson. Matt Kemp will present the award to Newcombe.

As for the pitching match-ups, the Dodgers will give the ball to lefty Chris Capuano as he hopes to win his 12 game of the season. In his last start Cappy was nothing short of fantastic. He Flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and pitched eight shutout innings for the win. He whiffed ten Fish in the game. Against the league this year he is 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA. Cappy has always pitched  very well against Atlanta. Against the Braves he is 5-3 with a 2.64 ERA, and 55 whiffs. The current group of Braves are only hitting .205 (24 for 117) collectively with three home runs. Brian McCann is 3 for 9. Backup catcher David Ross is 4 for 12 (.333) with two home runs. Michael Bourn is batting only .238 (5 for 21). Dan Uggla is 4 for 19 (.211). Freddie Freeman is 2 for 10, and Chipper Jones, in his final season is batting just .077 (1 for 13) off of Capuano. Besides Ross’s two bombs, Martin Prado has hit one off of Cappy as well.

The Braves will counter with righty Tommy Hanson. The 26 year old  from Tulsa is 12-5 this season with a 4.29 ERA. This is Hanson’s first start since being sidelined with a strained lower back. He’s been on the DL since July 30, but won his two previous starts before being placed on the DL. In his career versus the Boys in Blue he is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA. The Dodgers are only hitting .213 (17 for 80) against Hanson. Andre Ethier has done the best, batting .500 (3 for 6) with a home run and five RBI. Matt Kemp is only 1 for 8. Ramirez is 3 for 14 (.214) with a home run. Shane Victorino is hitting .222 (4 for 18). That’s pretty much it. Hanson has given up a lot of hits though. He has a 9.1 hits per nine innings rate, and a 3.9 walk per nine rate. He does whiff lot of guys though, with an 8.1 whiff per nine rate, and 114 whiffs.

On this day in Dodger history……

On this day 20 years ago, the Dodger’s right hander Kevin Gross pitched a no-hitter at home against the Giants. It helped the Dodgers stave off a four game sweep. My Uncle Mark attended the game, which was the fourth of four no-hitters (Koufax 62, Koufax 65 perfect game, Singer 71,) he has seen at Dodger Stadium live during his unparallelled tenure as a lifelong Dodger fan. Perhaps we’ll see one tonight?…..

First pitch is at 4:05 televised on Prime Ticket. Of course with the series being in Atlanta you can bet we’ll be hearing the annoying Tomahawk Chop chant the entire game. Well you know what I say about that?….STOP THE CHOP!  As always we will have our detailed postgame recap after the game. Go Blue.