Dodgers @ Phillies May 24, 2014: Matt Kemp, Benched Again

citizensbankparkThis morning, I wrote about whether Matt Kemp‘s defense in center field had deteriorated to the point that Andre Ethier was actually now the best option there. Peter Gammons liked it. Now, we’ve learned that Ethier is starting over Kemp for the second day in a row, and what was a “thing” has quickly turned into a thing. Not that deciding Kemp is a terrible center fielder is suddenly breaking news, of course, but what’s so odd about it is why it’s happening right now — just weeks after Don Mattingly essentially named Kemp and Yasiel Puig as starters, and Ethier and Carl Crawford as fighting for left field. (Kemp has performed at the plate, hitting .303/.338/.421 in May.)

Dodgers
Phillies
12:05pm PT
Philadelphia, PA
2B
Gordon
CF
Revere
RF
Puig
SS
Rollins
SS
Ramirez
2B
Utley
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Howard
LF
Crawford
RF
Byrd
CF
Ethier
LF
Brown
3B
Turner
C
Ruiz
C
Ellis
3B
Hernandez
P
Haren (R)
P
Buchanan (R)

To flip on that now, well… it’s weird timing, to be sure. It’s not like we only just learned Kemp is a lousy outfielder, right? Sadly, I’m not in the clubhouse this series, but I can’t imagine Kemp is thrilled with this. I’m positive this isn’t the last we’ve heard of it.

Not to be lost in all this, of course: Crawford is batting fifth for the first time as a Dodger and only the second time in his career, the first being the first half of a doubleheader with Boston on August 16, 2011.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers face another in what is seemingly an endless string of rookie pitchers, with 25-year-old righty David Buchanan making his big league debut in place of the injured Cliff Lee. A 7th-round pick out of Georgia State in 2010, Buchanan has had a mostly nondescript career to this point, never appearing on any top prospect lists, and — well, let’s clarify that for a second, shall we?

Usually a “top prospect list” means something like Baseball America‘s Top 100. You won’t find Buchanan on that list. You won’t find him on nearly any list. Minor League Ball does the top 30 for each organization — the top 20 in order, then 10 more honorable mentions — and a mere six weeks ago, Buchanan wasn’t even on that for the Phillies. He is, I suppose, the rough equivalent of Red Patterson‘s status with the Dodgers. Expect him to go at least seven innings and allow no more than one earned run.

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LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
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RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.