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Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier are producing bulk of offense for Dodgers

Outfielders are off to excellent starts at the plate. Kemp hit his second home run of the season Sunday and Ethier his first.

April 08, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez

SAN DIEGO — These are like the good old days again for the Dodgers.

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are hitting.

Kemp hit his second home run of the season in the Dodgers' 8-4 defeat to the San Diego Padres on Sunday, a two-run shot in the sixth inning to center field in spacious Petco Park. Ethier hit his first home run, a two-run blast to right field in the ninth.

"Both of us are going to need to step up and do some things to help this team win," Kemp said. "The team counts on us to drive in runs. That's our job and that's what we're going to have to do to be successful."

The last time Kemp and Ethier went deep in the same game was in the Dodgers' 7-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 19, 2010.

Kemp and Ethier each drove in eight runs in the four-game series with San Diego.

Kemp is batting .412 and has a 16-game hitting streak dating to last season.

Ethier is hitting .267, but all four of his hits have been for extra bases.

Clayton Kershaw is ready to go

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw is still battling flu symptoms but said he should be able to start the Dodgers' home opener Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I'm still a little funky," Kershaw said.

But compared with the three innings he pitched while severely ill on opening day, he said, "I can't feel any worse than I did."

Mattingly said that the Dodgers would monitor Kershaw closely over the next couple of days, but that he expects Kershaw to start Tuesday.

Josh Lindblom is emerging

The Dodgers' over-reliance on their bullpen has produced at least one pleasant surprise: Josh Lindblom.

Lindblom, who made the opening-day roster because Ted Lilly was on the disabled list, pitched two scoreless innings Sunday. Three days earlier, he took over for a sick Kershaw, pitched two scoreless innings and earned a victory.

The 24-year-old, 6-foot-4 right-hander broke into the major leagues last season, posting a 2.73 earned-run average in 27 appearances.

"You can use him late because he throws strikes," Mattingly said. "He's big and strong enough to go to [multiple innings] too. He gives you different dimensions."

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