Navigating any freeway in the greater Los Angeles area after 3 p.m. during the week typically proves to be a difficult task. On Friday, it figures to be even more unpleasant as the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play Game 1 of the NL Division Series at 3:37 p.m. PT.
While arriving to Dodger Stadium for the early afternoon start time is something those attending the game will need to contend with, the players will also have a battle on their hands. On top of needing to face aces Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright, batters will at some point need to pick up the ball amid shadows that will cross the infield.
According to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider, Matt Kemp said he won’t have issue playing in right field, but was less certain of his chances at the plate:
You can see the ball in right field,” Kemp said. “It’s seeing the ball at the plate, which is important to scoring runs. So you know, I’m going to swing with my eyes closed and see what happens.”
Kemp offered some criticism of Friday’s start time, but also added there’s nothing to be done other trying to find a way to win the game:
You know, honestly, I don’t get why we play during the shadow times, but it’s one of those games,” Kemp said. “But both teams got to do it — we’ve got to find a way to win.”
After a slow start to the season, Kemp has found little difficulty in seeing pitches as he hit .322 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in September and was named the NL Player of the Month. One day after fighting off shadows, the players will return for Game 2 Saturday, which has a more desirable start time of 6:37 p.m. PT.