Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kemp Down, But Certainly Not Out

Look, Matt Kemp is slumping a bit, sure. What else could possibly be expected of a guy who just got back after spending over a month on the DL during the middle of the season? I'm still quite confident he will revert to form and lead the Dodgers to the divisional crown.

But that doesn't mean one can't worry. Which is exactly what Mark Saxon of ESPN does in his latest game recap feature::

Kemp has been the centerpiece of this offense, when he's healthy, for the past year and a half, but he is in his worst slump since 2010.

He's working to get out of it -- showing up shortly after noon on Monday to take extra batting practice -- but sometimes it takes a little while to get results. Kemp is 0 for his past 19, striking out in the sixth inning to waste the Dodgers' best scoring chance until Hanley Ramirez's two-out home run in the ninth inning.

After that strikeout, Kemp started to chuck the bat, then thought better of it and held on. He started to break it over his knee, then thought better of that. Those might have been his best decisions with a bat in his hand in the past five days.

"I think he's been a little impatient, swinging at the ball out of the strike zone a little bit," manager Don Mattingly said. "They kind of pounded him a little in Pittsburgh and he kind of got a little conscious and that gets you in trouble.

"He needs to stay with what he does and that's pretty much it. You start looking for a ball in and you're in trouble."

Monday night felt like the beginning of the end of what could be a memorable pennant race between these teams. Nobody figures to have a bigger say on its outcome than the Dodgers' best pitcher and the Dodgers' best hitter.

Time to bust out the ol' whupping stick, Matty. We know you can do it.


Fred's Brim said...

Go Matty! Start hitting it the other way!

Dusty Baker said...

The other way meaning forward.

Fred's Brim said...

with your bat

Fred's Brim said...

Is there something wrong, possibly, with Matty's hand?

Dusty Baker said...

Maybe. But to my extremely professionally trained eye (lies), it's his approach at the plate. He's not hitting to the situation, and he's swinging for the stars at every pitch. When he got back from the DL, he was raking. Just putting that ball in play. He needs to return to that. Forget about the HR every time up.

Steve Sax said...

@Dusty: somewhere, manny mota is transcribing notes...