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Temper, temper: Dodgers can't let emotions get the best of them

The Dodgers can't afford to lose their focus if they want to stay ahead in the NL West title race.

August 17, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is held back by his teammates as he yells at umpires following his ejection from Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is held back by his teammates as he yells… (Keith Srakocic / Associated…)

Is everybody all calm now? All settled down? Got that angry-man thing out of your systems?

Let’s hope so. Thursday’s fury-fest was not the highlight to the Dodgers’ season.

Not that they did not have every right to be ticked. Not that umpire Angel Campos wasn’t operating with the day’s oddest strike zone. Not that he wasn’t absolutely wrong for ejecting Matt Kemp.

But the Dodgers had been playing so well of late – had won four consecutive games – in embracing Don Mattingly’s every-game-is-important approach, it was disappointing to see their emotions get the best of them.

Losing Kemp in the top of the second inning may have cost them the game, but then, the way Joe Blanton was pitching, maybe not.

It’s no secret that Campos, a summer fill-in, is not the most highly regarded umpire. The Dodgers knew that going in, had to adjust their attitude accordingly. Chipping at him over missed calls – some of which were borderline – is not going to help the cause. You play and make the best of what you have, bad umpires and all.

The Dodgers acted like they allowed Campos to get into their heads. Not good. OK, he’s missing some calls – barking at him is not going to change anything. Unless, of course, it’s for the worst.

And although his brush with an umpire seemed clearly inadvertent, now there is the possibility that Kemp could receive a suspension.

Mattingly was understandably upset he had just lost one of the game’s best players in the second inning, the final straw apparently an innocent, “Let’s go Dre.” Not that Campos might not have heard something stronger from the dugout and mistakenly thought it came from Kemp. Quickly, Mattingly was ejected too.

Blanton was ejected after getting pounded by Garrett Jones and the Pirates, for popping off and then confronting Campos as he was relieved in the fifth. The only guy Blanton should have been mad at was himself for allowing three homers.

The Dodgers were in position to sweep the four-game series in Pittsburgh and carry some real momentum into Atlanta this weekend, where the Braves have been playing extremely well.

Instead, they left Pittsburgh fuming. Hey, at least they have real competitive fire. But a stretch run is calling, and that also means playing smart and under control.

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