Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Kemp Cleans Up

Speaking of Matt Kemp...

From "Dodgers' Matt Kemp gets the word from Don Mattingly: He's batting cleanup" by Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times:

Matt Kemp has never been certain of his place in the Dodgers' lineup, batting everywhere from second to seventh as recently as last season.

Now he knows.

Manager Don Mattingly has already made clear that Kemp will bat cleanup.

The other certainties: Rafael Furcal will lead off and Andre Ethier will hit third.

"It's definitely nice to be in one spot, not moving around," Kemp said. "I know what I have to do in the four hole. I know what my job is. I can stick with my plan. I just have to drive in runs and make things happen. My job is to get runs in."

Mattingly said he likes players to know what their jobs are, which is why he has already set his rotation and is close to settling on a lineup.

If everyone stays healthy, the rotation will be lined up the way it is for the exhibition season — in order, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland.

"I think guys get comfortable," Mattingly said.

At this time, Mattingly's plan for the lineup calls for Casey Blake to bat second.

Mattingly said he likes Blake's patience and that his ability to hit the ball to the opposite field will lead to more hit-and-run opportunities. He also noted that the aging third baseman could benefit from seeing more fastballs batting in front of Ethier.

Juan Uribe could bat second on days Blake is off, but Mattingly said he prefers to bat him with men on base.

Uribe and James Loney will likely alternate in the No. 5 and 6 spots, with Uribe batting fifth against left-handers and Loney doing so against right-handers.

Mattingly said he is leaning toward hitting the left fielder in the No. 7 spot and catcher Rod Barajas in front of the pitcher.

Not sure about Blake (2010 OBP: .320) in the two hole, but am definitely liking Mattingly assigning roles this early. Maybe all this stuff about knowing how to deal with younger players is true.


Kyle Baker said...

I like his thinking, at least given what he has to work with.

Alex Cora said...

If Kemp can cut down on those strike outs, I'm hopeful that this will work...