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That's Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier on the horizon, not John Wayne

July 12, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Don't expect anything too outrageous when outfielders Andre Ethier, left, and Matt Kemp return to the lineup Friday.
Don't expect anything too outrageous when outfielders Andre Ethier,… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

So the cavalry is coming. Can you hear the bugler trumpet the charge?

Matt Kemp is coming! Andre Ethier is coming! And soon, some new stud before the trading deadline!

Isn’t that swell? All is going to be magically well. Except, of course, it’s not. Not that easily, not if most of the team is waiting for someone else to be the answer.

The Dodgers have lost 15 of their last 20 games. They are hanging onto first in the National League West by a half-game with the worst record (47-40) of any division leader. After having the major’s best record for almost the entire first half, at the All-Star break they own only its ninth-best record.

The return of Kemp and Ethier sounds less like valued additions than a rescue mission.

But if the rest of the team is expecting Kemp to starting hitting like he was in April and Ethier to jump back out into the runs batted in lead and carry them all to the promised land, it’s a team in real trouble.

There can be no waiting for this team. No looking for someone else to carry the load. The Dodgers certainly have been at their best with Kemp and Ethier in the lineup, but they’ve been most productive when getting contributions across the board. With role players stepping up, with different guys playing hero each night.

The Dodgers start the second half with three games against the Padres, then come three against the suddenly healthy Phillies, three against a Mets team that just took three of four against  them (corrected), three against the World Series-champion Cardinals and then three against the Giants.

By the end of July, we should have a pretty good indication whether the Dodgers are a true contending team that was simply ravaged by injury or a mediocre team that played over its head for a couple months.

The Dodgers need to attack the second half, to rebuild confidence and direction. And they can’t afford to wait for their Big Two or a trade to make it happen, bugler or not.

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