After nine seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp was dealt to the San Diego Padres in a December trade that sent shockwaves throughout Los Angeles and the league. It didn’t take long for Kemp to face his former team as the Padres began a three-game set at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.
Kemp went 5-for-13 with one double, three RBIs and one walk during the series and proceeded to have an impressive first month of the season. May has been a different story however, as he entered Friday’s game batting .176/.205/.203 with zero home runs and six RBIs this month.
Kemp’s second return to Los Angeles and his slump faced a tall order as Zack Greinke, who has dominated the Padres among other National League West opponents over the last two seasons, was on the mound. Greinke allowed one run on six hits and had five strikeouts in 7.2 innings.
Of the six hits Greinke allowed, Kemp didn’t have any as he went 0-for-3 with one walk. Overall this season Kemp is 3-for-13 with one RBI three strikeouts and three walks when facing Greinke.
After another frustrating night at the plate, the 30-year-old outfielder spoke highly of his former teammate, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball,” Padres right fielder Matt Kemp said. “And if he makes a mistake, which he rarely does, you’ve got to make him pay. He made most of his pitches tonight and he had some good stuff.”
Whereas Clayton Kershaw was the pitcher the Dodgers depended on to change their fortunes last season, Greinke has very much assumed that role in 2015. “Zack pretty much dominated that game,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after his club’s win.
“He was on the attack, obviously very few pitches early. Just really sharp tonight. I thought he was outstanding.” Greinke walked away with a no-decision Friday night, but is 5-1 with a 1.48 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over nine starts.