The Los Angeles Dodgers had the opportunity to sweep the New York Mets Thursday night, but instead suffered a 5-3 loss after tying the game in the seventh inning. The Dodgers committed two errors in the loss, one of which was charged to Matt Kemp and led to a run on the next batter.
The error was Kemp’s fourth of the season, tops among center fielders in MLB. Following Thursday’s loss, manager Don Mattingly and Kemp both discussed the errors and called for the need to improve. The Dodgers are no longer averaging over one error per game, now at 39 through 48 games.
Kemp was left out Friday’s lineup as the Dodgers opened a weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies. When questioned on the decision, Mattingly said center field remains a position the team is monitoring, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
Center field has been a situation we continue to look at.”
Mattingly further went on to once again call for improvement in center:
We need to continue to get better out there.”
Mattingly’s comments come two weeks after he declared Kemp and Yasiel Puig every day players who had taken hold of their respective positions. Kemp began the season on the disabled list as he still recovered from off-season ankle surgery.
Andre Ethier, arguably the team’s most versatile outfielder and who’s often been on the outside looking in, started in Kemp’s place. Thus far, the season has been a bag of mixed results for Kemp. While he’s managed to stay healthy, he hasn’t shown the same speed or instincts defensively as year’s past.
Some of the struggles can be attributed to Kemp having been stripped of the opportunity to play on a daily basis. Kemp’s rehab during Spring Training involved conservative increases in the intensity of his workouts until the Dodgers deemed him healthy enough to be reinstated from the DL.
With Mattingly stating the team will continue to keep an eye on center, it may open the door for Puig, the Dodgers’ best outfielder, to slide over, where he’s started six times in his career.
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