Dodgers slowly showing they may be a threat
LOS ANGELES -- It won't come easy for Joe Torre in Los Angeles. He lost Rafael Furcal over a month ago when Furcal was playing like the best shortstop in the majors and has had to replace him in the Dodgers' lineup with a group of backups that has collectively hit .150.
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
8 p.m. ET, ESPN
• PLAY-BY-PLAY: Jon Miller
• ANALYST: Joe Morgan
• REPORTER: Peter Gammons
Torre specifically was pleased on Saturday with the three-run homer hit by Matt Kemp that broke open the game in the seventh. Kemp is one of those important, talented young Dodgers players who has been underwhelming for much of this season. Kemp came to bat in the seventh inning on Saturday with three hits in his previous 19 at-bats, and has been openly showing immature frustration both at the plate and in his body language on the field."Maybe today, he started to finally realize that being frustrated doesn't help, it doesn't get you anywhere in this game," Torre said. "People will have slumps as long as the game is played. But [you] have to keep digging in like he showed he can do today. With what he came back from to do what he did in the [seventh], sure, that can certainly be a growing-up situation." Since the beginning of the season when Torre without hesitation would often sit such highly-touted Dodgers as Kemp and Andre Ethier, Torre underscored his intention to start changing a culture where the top young Dodgers have been hearing they were untouchables for a while. With those moves he was basically sending a message through his lineup and through the work of his coaches, that no one was entitled to playing time or to taking the game for granted. "I think we're starting to learn how good we can be if we don't worry about some of the frustrations and instead focus on that next at-bat, that next inning of pitching," Torre said. "We're not a team that can just roll out the lineup and expect to win. "But we found out in those three losses in Chicago, three games in which we only scored one run in each of them, that we can play with Chicago, that we could have won every game of that series by putting the ball in play in some key situations, by moving up a runner, little things that we have not always been doing. I see us focusing on those things a lot better this weekend. I've seen some good signs. "But we have to show we can do that every night and that's something we still have not proved we can do yet."