Matt Kemp played seven innings in center field for advanced Single-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight, going 0 for 3 with one strikeout in his second rehabilitation game and his first in the outfield. He is now hitless in eight at-bats over those two games, and he’ll play again on Saturday against Lancaster. Since I do a lot of educated guessing on this blog, I’m going to educatedly guess that he’ll be activated on Sunday because that’s the day rosters can be expanded. But on the other hand — see what I’m doing here, I’m giving myself an out in case I guessed wrong — team officials might want to wait until they are more comfortable that he has his timing back at the plate, even though they really aren’t looking at his particular results.
I’m guessing no one was more surprised than the Padres at the performance of Edinson Volquez, who made his Dodgers debut by pitching a scoreless eighth inning against the team that released him just a couple of days ago. It wasn’t exactly lights-out — he gave up a leadoff double to Jedd Gyorko, then pitched around it — but it was better than giving up five runs in two-thirds of an inning, which is what he did in his final start for the Padres a week ago tonight. Volquez, whom I had never met before tonight but who seems like a really jovial, happy-go-lucky guy, said after the game that the only adjustment he has made so far since signing with the Dodgers was to switch from the third-base side of the rubber to the first-base side, which was the side he pitched from for Cincinnati in 2008 when he was a National League All-Star. That, of course, begs the question of why he switched to the third-base side in the first place. So I asked him that question. And he said it was basically something he did unconsciously.
Hyun-Jin Ryu broke his two-start losing streak. It wasn’t particularly pretty — he gave up eight hits over 6 1/3 innings, threw a wild pitch and needed a perfect throw to the plate by center fielder Andre Ethier to cut down what would’ve been a second Padres run against him. But it was effective, and Ryu even drove in the tying run with an RBI double and scored the go-ahead run with an awkward slide into the plate as the ball bounced away from Padres catcher Nick Hundley on Yasiel Puig‘s hit.
By the way, Ned Colletti said before the game that the Dodgers will call up a few players on Sunday, the first day of the September roster expansion, then a few more guys later. That probably means after the minor league season ends on Monday. Colletti said he thought all the players promoted would be guys presently on the 40-man roster.
With Arizona losing to San Francisco tonight, the Dodgers’ magic number for clinching the National League West was cut to 19. Any combination of Dodgers wins and Diamondbacks losses totaling 19 gives the Dodgers the division title.