Dodgers @ Phillies May 25, 2014: Matt Kemp, Left Fielder, Eventually

citizensbankparkSay what you will about this Dodger team, but they’re never boring, right? For the third consecutive day, neither Matt Kemp nor Hanley Ramirez are in the lineup, though for very different reasons. For Kemp, it’s something of a confirmation of what we’ve been thinking for the last few days: that the team no longer views him as a viable center field option, since every beat reporter has a variation of the “Kemp will start working out in left field” note. Again, Kemp has been a poor center fielder for years, so in the long-term, this is a good thing.

Dodgers
Phillies
10:35 am PT
Philadelphia, PA
2B
Gordon
CF
Revere
LF
Crawford
SS
Rollins
RF
Puig
2B
Utley
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Howard
CF
Ethier
RF
Byrd
3B
Turner
LF
Brown
C
Butera
C
Nieves
SS
Arruebarrena
3B
Hernandez
P
Beckett  (R)
P
Burnett (R)

In the short-term, well, that’s still a huge unknown, particularly why Kemp is still out of the lineup. It’s possible — and this is all speculation, to be clear — he’s reacting to this poorly. It’s also possible he’s fine with it, but just wants a few days of practice there before taking it into a game. While in theory it shouldn’t be hard to move from center to left, it has been nearly eight years since he last played there, since a June 2006 game that had Kenny Lofton, Nomar Garciaparra, Olmedo Saenz, and Jeff Kent in the lineup. So, maybe that’s understandable.

The next question would be, well, what of Carl Crawford? But according to Don Mattingly, it does sound like Kemp would still play center when Crawford or Scott Van Slyke starts in left, so this isn’t a permanent move… yet. I imagine it will be at some point, once the outfield glut is sorted.

Anyway, the bigger problem appears to be Ramirez, out again with what might be a calf injury… or might not. As Bill Plunkett put it, “There is apparently some question whether Ramirez’s issue is calf muscle, achilles tendon or something else with pain showing up in calf,” which, wonderful. I imagine I speak for all of us when I say, please please just put this man on the disabled list. Have we learned nothing from Ramirez’ 2013? He’s a wonderful, nearly incomparable talent, but he’s also proven to be pretty fragile, and that doesn’t improve as a player ages. They gambled and lost on this with Juan Uribe‘s hamstring; let’s please not do it again.

So without Kemp, Ramirez or Uribe… this is now a lineup that has Justin Turner and Erisbel Arruebarrena, as well as Drew Butera spotting in for A.J. Ellis against A.J. Burnett. Here’s to hoping for the good Josh Beckett, or at least one who is lifted before things go sideways, as they did his last time out in New York after a good enough start.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
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.