Grade Of The Week: All-Stars Earn Their Spots, Outfielders Struggle

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers coming off an impressive run in June, there was some expected drop-off as the team entered the first week of July. The Cleveland Indians came to town and took the series as the Dodgers couldn’t pull off victories in the second or third games.

A weekend trip to Denver seemed to help the Dodgers, who took three out the four against the Colorado Rockies.

Grade of the Week: B

Pros: In the same week the All-Star Game rosters were announced, most of the Dodger representatives played well.

Clayton Kershaw continued to show he’s the game’s best pitcher, Zack Greinke also kept up his dominant ways and Dee Gordon made his final case to make the NL roster.

Greinke began the four-game series in Colorado by keeping the Rockies at bay. Over eight innings of work, he allowed just one run while striking out eight batters. With the 3-2 Dodger victory, Greinke earned his NL leading 11th win of the season.

On Friday, Kershaw added to his scoreless streak by pitching shutout baseball over eight innings while only allowing two hits and striking out eight. The Dodger offense aided him early as they eased their way to a 9-0 win.

Continuing with his breakout season, Gordon again provided solid batting and fielding for the Dodgers over the week. At the plate, he got on base in nearly half of his plate appearances with a batting average of .385 and drew three walks. Two more stolen bases for Gordon pushed his season total to 42.

Cons: Despite being named a starter for the NL, Yasiel Puig continued to show why he is such a polarizing figure.

Against the Indians Tuesday night, Puig was involved in an improbable 7-2-4 triple play as he attempted to take second base moments after Gordon was gunned down at the plate.

Puig then had a second blunder later in the week. On Thursday, he allowed D.J. LeMahieu to reach second base on what should have been a single. The ball went off Puig’s glove and in a close game, the error could have proven costly if not for Greinke’s solid pitching.

Another Dodger outfielder had a rough week as Matt Kemp spent most of the week without a hit.

Before his four-hit outing Sunday, Kemp’s only hit during the week came on Tuesday. Entering Sunday’s game, he failed to register a hit through his first 16 at-bats of July. In the same game the Indians converted a triple play, Kemp struck out three times, adding to the Dodgers’ troubles that night as they lost 10-3.

Overall: Even with an up and down week, the Dodgers still managed to remain on top of the NL West. Injuries continued to affect the team as another infielder was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Erisbel Arruebarrena injured his right hip Friday after filling in for Hanley Ramirez, who has had his own health issues over the season.

The Dodgers could again be headed for an outfield logjam as Carl Crawford slowly makes his way back to the lineup. Regardless, the team will need to keep up some form of consistency as they enter the last week before the All-Star break and prepare for their playoff push.
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