Matt Kemp’s offensive woes have manager Don Mattingly thinking outside the box as the slugger is hitting second in the lineup tonight.
Kemp has primarily hit in the third spot, with Mattingly sparingly flipping him and Adrian Gonzalez in the cleanup spot.
While he’s in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak, Kemp is still stuck on one home run and isn’t driving runners in like he’s supposed to. Many suggest that his offseason shoulder surgery is hampering his power, but this move might wake his bat up.
It’s an interesting move by Mattingly and one I suggested earlier in the week when I saw the Blue Jays move struggling slugger Jose Bautista into the second spot. With the Dodgers struggling to hit with runners in scoring position, moving Kemp up will take some pressure off of him while he tries to regain his power stroke.
Kemp spoke to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times about his power outage:
“Everyone asks about the home runs and the power, it’s more about the doubles. That’s how you drive in runs. I’m not against home runs, don’t get me wrong. But it’s doubles that really end up being the ones that drive the runs in.”
It’s about time for Mattingly to shake the lineup up as the Dodgers will embark on a six-game road trip starting Friday in Atlanta as the schedule toughens up. If Kemp is going to snap out of his slump it’s going to need to be now.
Kemp faces Nationals starter Dan Haren tonight, who he’s had some success against in the past. He’s 10-36 with three home runs and six RBI’s.
This is the type of move that Mattingly had to make and it shows that he’s keen on making sure his star outfielder finally gets his power back.