LOS ANGELES — “The Fight for L.A.,” as the Los Angeles Chargers have dubbed their new marketing campaign, didn’t get off to a good start from the Chargers perspective.
The Chargers turned the ball over three times in the first half and the Seattle Seahawks capitalized on all of them on their way to a 48-17 win over the Chargers Aug. 13 in their first home game in Los Angeles since 1960.
Not only did the Chargers get blown out in their first appearance as the Los Angeles Chargers, they only had 21,000 fans in the StubHub Center in Carson, their home for the next three years.
The night before, the Rams, playing in front of 40,000 more fans, defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 13-10. Score week one of the preseason an overwhelming victory for the Rams.
It’s early and preseason games in the NFL are as meaningless as most New Year’s resolutions.
But the Rams, who only had four victories all of last season, will take even a meaningless victory, especially at the expense of the Chargers.
The Chargers starters were actually more effective than the Rams. On the opening possession, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers marched his team down the field, ate up half of the first quarter clock and put seven points on the scoreboard.
Rivers then traded his helmet for a baseball cap and watched the rest of the game from the sideline. It wasn’t pretty.
On the other hand, the Rams on their opening possession against Dallas looked a lot like last year’s Rams. Jared Goff went three plays and out and Johnny Hecker came on to punt.
In a lot of ways, Hecker was the Rams best offensive player last year. This year he started with a punt that Dallas fumbled. The Rams recovered and, given a reprieve, Goff found the end zone without someone giving him a map.
The game quickly descended into an NFL preseason game, with the Rams holding off the Cowboys in a game that will quickly be forgotten by everyone with maybe the exception of Rams backup running back Justin Davis.
Davis, who played at the Coliseum for USC the last four years, fumbled twice in his NFL debut. That’s not the way you make an NFL roster.
The Rams hit the road this weekend for a game against the Oakland Raiders at 7 p.m. Aug. 19. Channel 2 will carry the game live.
The Chargers will try to sell out StubHub Center at 5 p.m. Aug. 20 against the New Orleans Saints. Channel 7 will show all the action. In three weeks the games will really count and we will all have a better idea who might win “The Fight for L.A.”
ROLLING ALONG: The numbers get better and better. With a 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox Aug. 15, the Dodgers improved their record to 84-34. Fifty games over .500 is astounding.
They have 11 more wins than the Houston Astros, who have the second best record in baseball.
Since the first of June, the Dodgers are 51-13, almost an .800 winning percentage. They are 49-9 since losing to Washington, 2-1 June 6. That loss was the Dodgers third in a row and fifth in their last seven games at the time.
Since the series with Washington, the Dodgers have won 19 series and tied three. They have only lost two straight games since then once, to Atlanta July 20 and 21.
And the Dodgers got good news on the injury front this week with both Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw almost ready to return from the disabled list.
Gonzalez could be activated by the end of the week with the Dodgers playing three games in Detroit. It will mean manager Dave Roberts will have to juggle the lineup because Gonzalez has been supplanted as the regular first baseman by Cody Bellinger.
Roberts says he plans to use Gonzalez at first base against most right handed pitchers and switch Bellinger to left field. That means Chris Taylor may be moving to second base, because Taylor is hitting more than .350 since the all star break. You can’t take him out of the lineup.
A better option might be sending center fielder Joc Pederson to Oklahoma City for the rest of the minor league season.
Pederson is in a horrible 1-for-38 slump and could use a change of scenery. A similar demotion last year for Yasiel Puig had a career-altering effect.
Kershaw’s return is a little farther away, but he should be back in the rotation in two weeks, plenty of time to build up his arm strength and stamina for the playoffs.