When Dee Gordon was traded from the Los Angeles Dodger to the Miami Marlins, the motives were not immediately apparent. Gordon was coming off his best season in the Majors, finished leading the league in stolen bases and triples, so when he was traded away, it was a bit of mystery as to who would take over.
However, just hours later, the Dodgers announced the addition of veteran infielder, Howie Kendrick in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Along with playing a steady second base, Kendrick has become an important part of the Dodgers offense this season, as he’s hit three home runs, one triple and seven doubles.
Kendrick credits his success at the plate to his ability to read pitchers, according to Dan Arritt of ESPN:
I kind if go off of feel and what I see that day,” he said. “The more simple I can keep it, the better off I’ll be. I just build off my own database. Once I see a guy, I can remember what he did to me, or what the ball looks like coming out [of his hand]. It’s just better to have that type of memory versus seeing it on video.”
On top of the extra-base hits, Kendrick has been quite consistent at the plate, never going hitless in more than two consecutive games. Some of that can be tied to his ability and belief in adjusting mid-game or mid at-bat:
That’s what the game’s about, making adjustments and just trying to keep moving, and I think that’s the biggest part of playing every day is, every day, you’ve got to make some kind of adjustment.”
Kendrick opened the season batting cleanup in back of Adrian Gonzalez and their production led to manager Don Mattingly recently referring to them as a “dynamic duo” in the heart of the lineup. The 31-year-old second baseman’s poise and patience in the dugout, on the field and in the clubhouse certainly helped the Dodgers get off to a strong start this season.
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