Dodgers-Blue Jays Preview
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't suffered many losses lately, but another injury to one of their stars has them concerned.
After missing 11 games because of inflammation in his left shoulder, Kemp provided the club with a huge lift in his return Sunday by going 3 for 4 with a home run, double and three RBIs in a 9-2 win at Washington.
The star center fielder, however, hurt his left ankle sliding into home plate on a force play in the ninth inning and limped off the field. Manager Don Mattingly said the injury appears to be a sprain and doesn't think Kemp will be placed back on the DL.
"It's not bad. I hope it's not bad,'' Kemp said. "The biggest thing will be tomorrow when I wake up and see how it feels.''
Depending on how the ankle responds, Kemp may not be available when the Dodgers (50-47) go for their eighth consecutive road win and 21st in 26 games overall in the opener of a three-game set in Toronto.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez has certainly shown the ability to carry the load, raising his average to .393 after going 2 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs to help Los Angeles sweep the series in the nation's capital.
The Dodgers, on their longest road streak since a nine-game run July 3-26, 2004, have a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since Aug. 19 with a win and an Arizona loss.
Scheduled starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 3.09 ERA) will try to keep them rolling as he looks to bounce back from a rare subpar outing.
After going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his previous 10 starts, the left-hander gave up five runs and seven hits over five innings before leaving without a decision in a 7-5 win at Arizona on July 10.
Ryu will have to contend with a hot Jose Reyes as he faces the AL East-worst Blue Jays (45-52) for the first time. The speedy leadoff man reached base four times in Sunday's 4-3 loss to visiting Tampa Bay and is 11 for 27 (.407) in his last six games.
After missing 18 games with a sore left knee, teammate Melky Cabrera went 1 for 4 in his return to the lineup.
The Blue Jays hope to avoid their fifth straight loss and 17th in 24 games, but right-hander Josh Johnson (1-5, 5.16) has gone 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in four starts since his last victory June 23.
Johnson was tagged for a career high-tying seven earned runs over six innings in losing his third straight start, 7-4 at Baltimore on July 14.
He was also hit hard in his last meeting with the Dodgers, lasting only three innings after giving six runs and 10 hits - including a pair of homers - in an 8-2 loss while with the Marlins on Aug. 25.
Adrian Gonzalez, who homered off Johnson in that contest, is hitting .361 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 15 career games in Toronto.
Teammate Yasiel Puig did not start Sunday after going 1 for 14 in his last four games, but is expected to return to the lineup in this contest.
This is the first meeting since 2007 when the Dodgers took two of three in Toronto.