Nice night for a game

It was a vintage Losers Dividend game Friday. By my estimation, fewer than 10,000 people were in the seats when John Ely threw the first pitch of the Dodgers’ eventual 7-5 loss to Arizona, a defeat that guaranteed the team’s first losing record since 2005. Between Friday traffic and disenchantment with the team (“Ennui are the champions”), it looked like we had a minor-league crowd on our hands.

Soon enough, many of the empty seats did start to fill, and the final fireworks night of the season, along with a Dodger rally, kept them sufficiently occupied. It ended up being a good night, except for Ely and the final score.

I’m quite certain about one thing: I’ve never been to three consecutive games in which the Dodgers fell behind by six runs. September 19, they fell behind 6-0 but rallied to beat Colorado. Two nights later, they dropped a 6-0 decision to San Diego. So this, as my brother pointed out, would be the tiebreaker, and it kind of went down to the wire.

Down 7-1 after Ely allowed three singles, three doubles, three walks and a home run in 4 2/3 innings, the Dodgers took advantage of a bullpen weaker than theirs to come back. Los Angeles had only four hits, yet reached base 12 times. After two runs came across in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Rod Barajas hit a rocket as the tying run, but the missile fell short of being a grand slam, touching down as a sacrifice fly in speedy Chris Young’s glove. The Dodgers added their fifth run of the game in the bottom of the seventh, but that was all.

I got swept up enough in the hopes of the rally that I briefly rooted for Rafael Furcal to pinch-hit for Chin-Lung Hu in the eighth, before telling myself no, Hu should get the at-bats. Casey Blake did get one last chance to tie the game after Ryan Theriot walked with two out in the bottom of the ninth but struck out on a checked swing.

It was a lovely night at the game, not without its melancholy or any understanding that the baseball world didn’t care about it, but not a night in which it felt I had nothing to root for.

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The Watch List

3) Kemp homered for the third straight game, giving him a team-high 26 compared to Andre Ethier’s 23. It’s the third time this season Kemp has homered in at least three consecutive games.

4) Kemp has eight RBI in his past three games, giving him 85. James Loney keeps holding him off, though. Loney had his seventh RBI of the past week Friday after going 10 consecutive starts without one, giving him 88. Ethier also drove in a run but is seven back of Loney at 81.

6) Furcal did not play and remains at .301. A.J. Ellis needs to go 4 for 4 to get there, and he might not get another start this year.

10) Seattle’s 9-0 loss to Oakland on Friday eliminated the Dodgers from the worst record since the All-Star break competition, though the Dodgers can still tie Pittsburgh for worst since the All-Star Break in the NL:

26-46, .361 Seattle
27-45, .375 Pittsburgh
28-44, .389 Kansas City
29-43, .403 Los Angeles

By the way, the Dodgers are 19 1/2 games behind Philadelphia since Jonathan Broxton’s save gave the Phillies a chance at home-field advantage in the World Series.

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Ned Colletti has no plans to trade Kemp, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

… Colletti made it clear on Friday that he’s not looking to trade Kemp, and feels very good about Kemp’s future with the team.

Colletti, like all general managers, will listen if somebody wants to call and make him a proposal on any of his players. “But there’s not going to be any shopping on our part,” said Colletti.

“I view all of our core younger guys as people who are going to be here for awhile.” …

… Kemp is perceived to have a good relationship with new manager Don Mattingly, and there is feeling in some corners of the organization that his ascension to manager will help patch the relationship between Kemp and the field staff.Colletti met with Kemp a couple of months ago and he walked away from that meeting feeling better than ever, he said, about Kemp’s commitment to becoming a great player. “We had probably the best conversation we’ve ever had,” said Colletti.

The GM believes that once Kemp gets to the offseason, he’ll have a chance to regroup and refocus — maybe in the same way that Cole Hamels did at the end of last season, when he learned from his mistakes and altered his preparation, to set up for a strong rebound season this year.

“I think Matty will be driven to be as good as he can possibly be,” said Colletti. …

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  • Brad Ausmus looked comfortable as acting manager, writes Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com – and ready for retirement.
  • Kirk Gibson still treasures the memory of his 1988 World Series home run, writes Jim Alexander of the Press-Enterprise.
  • Chan Ho Park passed Hideo Nomo to become the winningest Asian-born pitcher in MLB history, notes The Associated Press. “It’s very special, 124 is nothing great for the major leagues, but it’s very special,” Park said. “It makes me think about 17 years ago when I first came, the people who brought me here, who helped me and still help me.”
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