Dodgers Go Into All Star Break 47-47, 2 1/2 Games Out

The Dodgers dropped the final game of a four game set with the Colorado Rockies, a weekend series that saw the turnstiles at Dodger Stadium turn over 200,000 times (well, the turnstiles are actually long gone so it’d be more appropriate to say that the electronic ticket scanners beeped over 200,000 times.)  Ricky Nolasco got roughed up a bit, giving up 3 earned in five innings, the Dodgers getting a run of their own, and dropping the game 3-1.

Three weeks ago, the idea that the Dodgers would be this close to the division lead at the All Star Break was unfathomable.  But a seemingly improbable 16-4 record over their last 20 games, mostly against divisional rivals, has the team right back on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ heels and looking to make a move in the second half.

The break couldn’t come at a better time, as the team seemed to be exhausting their efforts from their hot streak and a few nagging injuries had popped up.  Matt Kemp now gets four free days on the DL that he can apply toward the fifteen that he’s required to sit while he heals up his shoulder.  Kemp reported to the Blog on photo day the shoulder “feels good” as he worked the crowd, and manager Don Mattingly has indicated that he expects Kemp to start a rehabilitation assignment and be back in another week or so, though the team’s hopes of a fast return by Kemp may be tempered if the shoulder is not as healthy as he thinks.

The health of players like Matt Kemp may go a long way to determining the Dodgers’ second-half fortunes and their chances of playing October Baseball. (Image source: ESPN The Magazine at http://a.espncdn.com/media/motion/2012/0611/dm_120611_mag_matt_kemp.jpg)

The team certainly has some question-marks to resolve.  Injuries have prevented the team from fielding a fully healthy lineup for most of the season, and with the trade deadline now 16 days away, speculation is that top prospects like Joc Pederson and Zack Lee may be on the move for pieces to shore up the lineup, bullpen and rotation.  The acquisition of Ricky Nolasco helps, but there may be room for one more starter, particularly if the shoulder of Stephen Fife is unhealthy enough to keep him out for any significant time in the second half of the season.

So we move on now to the All Star Break.  The Dodgers, 47-47, will start the second half in our nation’s capital with a series against the Washington Nationals.  Clayton Kershaw will be on the National League All Star Team in New York City and we will see if N.L. Manager Bruce Bochy elects to use him for any duration of time during the game.

The Blog has a few treats heading your way, including video footage from San Francisco (as it turns out, converting over six gigabytes of video off an older Sony flash-based camcorder to a format where the audio will transfer into iMovie takes longer than we thought, so we’re hoping to get that up for you no later than this weekend,) more Hot Stove speculation, and maybe a player profile or two so you can immerse yourself in Blue over the All Star Break.  The players may take four days off right now, but the Blog won’t.  Please stay with us for the festivities and get ready for an exciting second half of the season!

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