Braves-Dodgers Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t let the distraction of being

taken over by Major League Baseball affect them for one game.

The Dodgers will try for another win since the stunning

announcement of MLB’s takeover in the wake of their owners’ bitter

divorce when they complete a four-game set Thursday against the

Atlanta Braves.

Owner Frank McCourt and ex-wife Jamie McCourt have been in the

news for their infighting after the couple filed for divorce

following 30 years of marriage in October 2009. That led

commissioner Bud Selig to tell Frank McCourt on Wednesday he will

appoint a MLB representative to oversee all aspects of the business

and the day-to-day operations of the club.

“There was a lot going on, a lot for our guys to deal with – to

answer all those questions,” first-year manager Don Mattingly said.

“But I really feel like it shouldn’t have an effect on us as a

club. We’ve got to come out and do the things we always do and just

go about our business.”

General manager Ned Colletti held a closed-door meeting with the

players before Wednesday’s game to assure them that Selig’s move

doesn’t affect their jobs on the field.

“I ain’t got nothing to do with that,” said center fielder Matt

Kemp, who leads the majors with a .426 batting average. “Our

responsibility is just to play baseball and win as many games as we

can. We can’t really worry about off-the-field issues.”

Jon Garland showed that the news didn’t affect him as he pitched

a four-hitter in a 6-1 victory Wednesday. Los Angeles (9-10) was 3

for 15 with runners in scoring position in splitting the first two

games of the series before going 4 for 6 in the third game.

Andre Ethier had three hits, including his 100th career homer,

to extend his hitting streak to a major league-best 17 games – the

longest by a Dodger since Kemp’s 19-game stretch in 2008. Ethier is

hitting .415 during his run.

Juan Uribe went 3 for 4 with four RBIs. The third baseman is 6

for 12 in this series after entering it with a .154 average.

Chipper Jones is 1 for 13 and Jason Heyward 0 for 13 in this set

for Atlanta (8-11), which has scored five runs in the three games

outside of its eight-run outburst in the ninth inning in Tuesday’s

10-1 win.

Dodgers starters have a 1.21 ERA in this series, and Clayton

Kershaw (2-2, 2.96 ERA) is next in line. He’s alternated wins and

losses in his first four outings, and allowed five runs over 4 2-3

innings Saturday in a 9-2 loss to St. Louis.

The left-hander has no record and a 1.98 ERA in two starts

against the Braves.

He’ll be opposed by Jair Jurrjens (1-0, 0.00), making his second

start after an outstanding season debut. Jurrjens returned from the

disabled list (strained right oblique) and allowed two hits over

seven innings Saturday in a 4-0 victory over the New York Mets.

“It’s a good feeling being able to help your team,” Jurrjens

said. “It’s exciting being back out there. It’s fun, and I hope it

continues the rest of the season.”

The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five career starts

against the Dodgers. Ethier is 4 for 9 with six walks against him

and Kemp 4 for 11.