Matt Kemp is doing more familiar things, setting us up for heartbreak

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

I’m as surprised as you are that Matt Kemp is still a Dodger. After the December trade that brought him back, it was a foregone conclusion he wouldn’t be long for the Dodgers. But here we are a day before Opening Day, and not only is he still in town, he’ll be slotted into the lineup tomorrow against the Giants (likely in the No. 3 or No. 5 spot).

It was his first (and only) home run at Dodger Stadium after the trade since April 29, 2016, when he was with the Padres. His home runs at Camelback Ranch were all pulled to left and left-center field. The home run he hit on Tuesday night looked like the Kemp of old.

That’s the classic Kemp finish. See?

And the home run he hit on Tuesday — coincidentally, against the Angels — looked like this. It brought back all the feels.

Kemp is at his best when he goes to right-center field, as we witnessed many times in his first stint with the Dodgers. He’s not going to do anything defensively, but if he can be a masher against left-handed pitching while not falling completely on his face in left field, the Dodgers just might be able to extract some value out of him.

I have to keep telling myself not to get excited or buy into the hype, but it’s getting more and more difficult when he’s doing the things he used to do.

We’ll see how long he lasts on the roster, but the (way too) early returns are somewhat promising. Just, please, don’t break our hearts, Matty.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.