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Dodger Thoughts: Summer stories

In homage to Grant Brisbee's terrific Baseball Nation piece today, "The Stories You'd Be Reading If The First Half Didn't Exist," here are some Dodger headlines you might see if the season had actually begun July 13.

Kemp off to another MVP-caliber start
The star centerfielder has a .953 OPS and is on pace for 34 home runs in 2012.

Offseason additions struggle to impact lineup
Hanley Ramirez (.686 OPS) and Shane Victorino (.613 OPS) have combined for as many home runs as Juan Uribe (.689 OPS). When will Uribe get the chance to play he deserves?

Dodger bench eager to get Kennedy back
The reserve infielder, who comes off the disabled list today, is 8 for 21 with two walks and a .959 OPS.

Andr-eh Ethier?
The rightfielder is getting on base (.359 OBP) but has one home run in 23 starts.

A.J. Ellis ambles to promising start
The catcher not only has nine bases on balls in 72 plate appearances, he is second on the team with three homers. Time to start the All-Star campaign!

Chad Billingsley blah blah at last?
The enigmatic righty has a 2.03 ERA after his first four starts, topping even Clayton Kershaw's 2.78.

No surprise: Ronald Belisario unreliable
After a long layoff, the setup man has a 5.93 ERA despite 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

Offseason busts, Part II: Harang, Capuano shaky
The free-agent signees have almost identical stats after five starts apiece, each with ERAs close to 5.00.

Kenley Jansen is born to close
Taking over for Javy Guerra, the fireballer has allowed two runs in 12 games with 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings; on pace for 45 saves before the regular season finale next July.

Are the Dodgers pretenders or contenders?
Their record is one game over .500 at 13-12, but sit in fourth place, 1 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres.

For more from Jon Weisman, visit Dodger Thoughts and follow @dodgerthoughts on Twitter.