Last year, September was a dark stain in an otherwise magic filled season. Seriously, 2017 for Dodgers fans was pure magic. September was not. At one point they lost 11 in a row. 2018 has not been magic for the Dodgers. Despite still being in a competitive race and boasting a 73-62 record coming into Saturday night, it has been marred by huge cold slumps in the offense.
The bullpen has been horrifically inconsistent. The front office acquired sluggers Machado and Dozier, and even then the offense has been very ‘boom or bust.’ It has not been magic, and it hasn’t felt like magic. Down by 2 in the 8th, the mood by Dodger fans was not hopeful.
Matt Kemp’s 8th Inning At Bat
The Dodgers got 2 runners on in the 8th inning last night, and Matt Kemp found himself at the plate. “Dodgers Twitter” is normally a place of hope springs eternal. in 2017 there was an assurance, a feeling of “of course they’re going to come back.” 2018 hasn’t been that way, and the Dodgers have certainly not been clutch. With the recent struggles of Matt Kemp, I can’t say there was a lot of hope in the ether.
Odds on if Matt Kemp GIDP here?
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) September 2, 2018
Saw that license plate on the 405.
'PNCHIT4MAT' Utah plates https://t.co/jPFIIgXZIz
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) September 2, 2018
Wow. Letting Kemp hit?
— Frank Martinez (@FrankTalkLA) September 2, 2018
In the interest of honesty–a tweet of mine from the night before was making the rounds, especially after Matt Kemp had a few bad at-bats previously in the game.
STOP. PUTTING. MATT. KEMP. IN. THE. HEART. OF. THE. ORDER.
— AJ Gonzalez? (@AJontheguitar) August 31, 2018
There were a lot of people not excited about Matt Kemp stepping up to the plate against Archie Bradley. When he went down 1-2 in the count, I admit to sighing and wanting to walk away from the screen. However, as Dodger fans, we tend to be gluttons to perceived punishment, so I would never. Then came THIS.
Archie Bradley floated a little breaking ball near the bottom of the zone (not a bad pitch, but on 1-2, why leave it in the zone at all?) Matt Kemp did not miss it. Charley Steiner’s call was admittedly beautiful, and the Dodgers were ‘back from the dead.’
Dodger fans grew accustomed to this kind of late-inning magic last year, and Matt Kemp’s blast provided some reminders of this team’s talent, and that the magic can be recaptured. Last night was absolutely a turning point, that grew on the comeback win from the night before against the Diamondbacks.
That this dramatic home-run came off of reliever Archie Bradley added some added sweetness to an already beautiful moment. Archie Bradley does not have a lot of fans in Dodger ether, after some comments he made last year, to which he doubled down on by saying, “I love it though. Keep (Tweeting at) me.” Adding that to a particularly self-defecating (not self-deprecating) story he told on a podcast earlier this year, I’m sure Dodger fans will be happy to oblige him by tweeting at him.
Everyone on the Dodgers bench, in the seats at Chavez Ravine, and in our homes were on their feet when Kemp put that 1-2 pitch into the stands. Kemp himself was fired up rounding the bases. This moment could, and should, be a catalyst for the Dodgers. Many of the Dodgers issues with runners on base is psychological. Justin Turner himself even said that himself. This moment could turn that around.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”http://www.dodgersnation.com/game-preview-dodgers-look-for-sole-possession-of-first-place-vs-diamondbacks-ac0899/2018/09/02/”]Game Preview: Dodgers Look For Sole Possession of First Place vs Diamondbacks[/button]