Since arriving in San Diego, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been unable to hit well and Matt Kemp is no exception.
Through two of the three games, Kemp is 3-for-10 with five strikeouts. Kemp struck out in his first two at-bats Saturday before snapping the streak with a walk and later an infield single. He then hit a two-out double off the left field wall in the 10th inning, but was stranded and the Dodgers went on to lose in the home half of the inning.
Despite some of his recent troubles, Kemp has performed markedly well as the season has gone on. Given the resurgence, a natural inclination to respond to critics may kick in, but not for Kemp, according to the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
I’m not that type of person,” he said when given the opportunity. “Y’all can do that. Everybody gets criticized in this game. Everybody goes through tough times. I don’t worry about what people say.”
Kemp’s season took an unexpected turn when he was removed from center field and benched. Manager Don Mattingly then revealed his decision to place Kemp in left, which didn’t sit particularly well with the outfielder.
Eventually Kemp made his way to right field — the position he entered the Majors playing — and it’s been smooth sailing since. Kemp hasn’t been much of a liability defensively and his offense has picked up. Through the process, Kemp maintained a stance that he simply wanted to play every day, which he again reiterated to Plunkett.
The Oklahoma native also critiqued the tendency for a player to be considered ineffective due to a stretch of subpar play:
We all go through ups and downs. Some people see a guy struggling for awhile and say, ‘Oh, he’s lost it.’ But that’s not the case.”
As Kemp received consistent playing time in June, his batting average slowly increased. He hit .317 during the month and followed it with a .325 average in July. August hasn’t been quite as successful, but Kemp is currently batting .277 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs on the season.
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