Lost in the Dodgers' recent Mannymania and Ethieriffic batting performances have been the quiet slumps of Russell Martin and Matt Kemp. In the Dodgers' 19 games since August 19, the two have virtually disappeared offensively:
Add to these numbers Martin's belated burden of batting leadoff as well as his declining defensive output, and Kemp's accompanying drop in the batting order, and it makes you wonder if Joe Torre has a plan for these two during the stretch run.
Clearly Martin needs rest, but the team has only two off-days left in September. Torre could assign Danny Ardoin to a certain starter; Ardoin has been the starting catcher for Clayton Kershaw five times and Hiroki Kuroda three times. (And the Dodgers went 2-6 in those games. Call it Grady's Dilemma.)
As for Kemp, it seems a stint batting in front of Manny is the cure for any ailing bat—but does Torre dare mess with the chemistry of the Dodgers' suddenly potent offense?
Yesterday we wrote the Dodgers are playing well-rounded baseball right now. That still holds, but it would be nice if Martin and Kemp could get in on the act.
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