The Dodgers Are Turning Back the Clock to the Future

When the Dodgers re-acquired Matt Kemp this past winter, some fans were ecstatic while others felt he would wreck the chemistry of the Dodgers’ locker room.   Ladies and Gentlemen, the old locker room-wrecking malcontent has been replaced by the new, ingratiating and consummate teammate Matt Kemp. Matt Kemp has become fast friends with Justin Turner and even Cody Bellinger.  On Justin Turner, who still has pain in his wrist, Ken Gurnick wrote this:

“I don’t know when I’m going to [hit]. It’s just a matter of when the pain goes away,” said Turner, whose absence has been felt on offense and defense. “Is it hard not to [play]? Yeah, it stinks. Whether we were 9-0 or 0-9, it would stink all the same, not being out there.”

Turner has continued running and throwing. Manager Dave Roberts said he was hopeful Turner would begin hitting next week.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Turner said. “I’ve had an extended spring training, with everything but swinging a bat– playing catch, running, lifting, fielding ground balls with my right hand, everthing.”

At that point, locker neighbor Matt Kemp saw the media swarming around Turner.

“What is going on? Leave him alone,” said Kemp. “He’ll be back, I promise. He’s going to come save us.”

That’s the Matt Kemp the Dodgers now have.  Forget about the old fat, lazy, crotchety Matt Kemp.  I’m talking about the Matt Kemp who “flew” into 2nd base for a double last night… sliding the last 15 feet on his belly and the Matt Kemp who finally got a pitch he could take out of the park and he did it.

Matt Kemp was a Dodger from 2006 to 2014, but I was never a big fan – that was when I had pressbox, field and lockeroom access and saw first hand what Matt Kemp was about.  Oh, he could be charming at times, but there was always this edge.  Not so much now.  After the game, Kenley Jansen shouted “Matt is back!”… within earshot of teammate Matt Kemp, whose locker sits next to the Dodger closer’s.

No…Kenley’s back!” Kemp returned with a grin. “It’s awesome,” Jansen said. “That’s my boy. It’s fun to see him back.”

When Matt Kemp arrived back to the Dodgers, he had ZERO value – if it wasn’t zero. it was close.  But minus 40 pounds, getting into great shape and with the understanding he can be part of history, he is playing at a very high level… and he’s just getting warmed up.  He is going with the pitches, not being “pull happy” and taking what the pitchers give him.  His notoriously bad defense has been absent as well.

Matt Kemp is not a platoon player for the Dodgers, although his understudy will play a lot – at the end of games for defense and to give him a rest.  This is not the Young Bison, but an Old Bison can still do damage.  I have heard some fans predict he will be injured and of course ANYONE can be injured but historically speaking, Matt Kemp has averaged 526 AB’s over his career, including 2012 and 2013 when he missed significant time.

I believe that Matt Kemp has at least one… and maybe two good year left and I am talking .300 BA and 30 HR good! That brings me to another player who I predicted could have a career year and that is Hyun-Jin Ryu.  It was a long road back for him and he has gotten most of his velocity back.  There were times in 2017 when he pitched very well and others when he pitched very poorly. I believe that correlated with muscle memory, scarring and just pushing through small issues of the rehab process.

It is my belief that Ryu will have his best year ever as he pitches for another contract (not with the Dodgers).  If he can pitch like that as the Dodgers #5, they will win a lot of those games.  He looked like the old Ryu last night and I will hold high expectations out for him this year.

Maybe FAZ knew what they were getting in Kemp and Ryu… or maybe they just got lucky.  At any rate, I will call Kemp and Ryu “The Standing Pats.”

DODGER NEWS

  • It was good to see CT3 and Seager get back-to-back jacks last night.  They can cross those off their lists.
  • Dodgers are 2nd in team ERA and #1 in WHIP.
  • When this offense starts clicking on all cylinders look out.
  • Now, all they have to do is figure out what to do with Joc…

MINOR LEAGUE NOTES

  • Dean Kremer of RCQ went 5 scoreless innings last night and allowed 3 hits with 1 BB and 6 K’s.
  • Omar Estevez, Conner Wong and Cristian Santana are all off the great starts with RCQ – all are over .300.
  • Lux and Kendall are hitting .050 and .130 respectively.  Both scare the Bejesus outt’ me.
  • Ramon Rodriguez, Starling Heredia, Jared Walker and Romer Cuadrado are off to good starts at GLL – all over .300.
  • At Tulsa, Angelo Mora and Conner Joe are hitting over .300 while Kaybear Ruiz is at .286.  Will Smith is at .235 and Raley and Peters are around .200.
  • Justin DeFractus has pitched 6 innings and allowed 0 runs at Tulsa, Shea Spitzbarth, Josh Sborz, Yadier Alvarez and Dennis Santana have ERA’s of 2.79 and below at Tulsa.
  • At OKC, Taijeron, Locastro. Valera, Muncy, Brockmeyer and Peter are all above .300, while Toles and Verdugo are at .294 and .278 respectively. Stweart and Buehler both had good starts.

MINOR LEAGUE RECAP BYALWAYS COMPETE

OKC beat Round Rock Express in walk off fashion…8-7. The Dodgers scored 4 runs in the 9th capped by Travis Taijeron walk off single. 2 batters prior, Alex Verdugo got his sole hit of the night, a two run bases loaded single to tie the score. The offense was led by Toles (double), Muncy (double, 2nd HR), and Taijeron. Toles and Muncy each had a 2 hit night, while Taijeron had a 3-3 night. Zach Neal started for the Dodgers and went 4 innings, allowing 2 runs, on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strike outs. Neal was followed by 34 year old former Giant Guillermo Moscoso who gave up a grand slam to Christian Lopes in his 1 inning. Joe Broussard, Daniel Hudson, and Edward Paredes finished the game with Paredes getting the win. This was Moscoso’s first game in the U.S. since 2013. He went to Japan for three years, and then pitched in the Mexican League in 2017.

Willie Calhoun got his 1st HR of the season, but is off to a slow start with the Express. His 5 game slash line is .192/.222/.346/.568.

Tulsa lost 5-0 to Midland Rock Hounds (A’s) 5-0 behind 25 year old RHP, Joel Seddon. Seddon out-dueled Dennis Santana, allowing 3 hits over the 1st 7 innings to get the win. Santana also pitched very well after giving up a 2 run 2 out HR in the 1st inning. He allowed a single in the final 4 innings he pitched. Overall, he allowed the 2 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strike outs. Daniel Corcino and Brian Moran followed Santana allowing the final 3 runs for the final 5-0 score. The offense consisted of 4 hits including a double by Will Smith and another multi hit game for Kyle Garlick (2 singles). After a slow 0-9 start, Garlick has gone 6-13 in his next three games.

Rancho was also shutout last night, losing 1-0 to Stockton Ports (A’s). Dean Kremer started and pitched 5 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strike outs. Isaac Anderson relieved Kremer and gave up the sole run and absorbing his 2nd loss of the young season. Andrew Istler followed and finished the game. The Quake offense was limited to 4 singles, 2 by LF Cody Thomas.

The Great Lakes Loons suffered the third Dodger affiliate loss of the day, losing 10-4 to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers). Max Gamboa started his second game for the Loons and went 4.2 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 K’s. But the wheels came off the bus after Gamboa left. Zach Pop followed with 1.1 IP, allowing 3 additional runs (2 earned), on 4 hits 0 BB, and 2 K, and then Jordan Pearce hit a granny off of Aneurys Zabala for the final 4 Whitecap runs. Devin Hemmerich finished for the Loons. Offensively, the Loons got 9 hits including 2 doubles (CF Brayan Morales and 1B Nick Yarnall). The offense was led by Carlos Rincon, Nick Yarnall, and Starling Heredia each with 2 hits apiece. After going 0-fer in his 1st, 19 year old Starling Heredia has a 5 game hitting streak, including 4 consecutive multi-hit games. He now has a 2018 slash line of .346/.370/.385/.755.

The low pitch count continues for the Dodger pitchers; Neal (71), Gamboa (69), and Santana (65). I was not able to get a pitch count for Kremer, but he went 5 innings. Contrarily, David Ledbetter (Round Rock) threw 88 pitches, and Joel Seddon (Midland) threw 89 pitches.

This article has 41 Comments

  1. The Dodgers had a very nice win last night, Ryu pitched 6 scoreless innings and looked very good. Taylor and Seager starting off with back to back homers were just what was needed.
    Stripling, wasn’t sharp, facing 8 hitters and giving up 3 hits and 1 walk.
    Good to hear Turner might start hitting next week.

  2. MINOR LEAGUE RECAP
    .
    OKC beat Round Rock Express in walk off fashion…8-7. The Dodgers scored 4 runs in the 9th capped by Travis Taijeron walk off single. 2 batters prior, Alex Verdugo got his sole hit of the night, a two run bases loaded single to tie the score. The offense was led by Toles (double), Muncy (double, 2nd HR), and Taijeron. Toles and Muncy each had a 2 hit night, while Taijeron had a 3-3 night. Zach Neal started for the Dodgers and went 4 innings, allowing 2 runs, on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strike outs. Neal was followed by 34 year old former Giant Guillermo Moscoso who gave up a grand slam to Christian Lopes in his 1 inning. Joe Broussard, Daniel Hudson, and Edward Paredes finished the game with Paredes getting the win. This was Moscoso’s first game in the U.S. since 2013. He went to Japan for three years, and then pitched in the Mexican League in 2017.
    .
    Willie Calhoun got his 1st HR of the season, but is off to a slow start with the Express. His 5 game slash line is .192/.222/.346/.568.
    .
    Tulsa lost 5-0 to Midland Rock Hounds (A’s) 5-0 behind 25 year old RHP, Joel Seddon. Seddon out-dueled Dennis Santana, allowing 3 hits over the 1st 7 innings to get the win. Santana also pitched very well after giving up a 2 run 2 out HR in the 1st inning. He allowed a single in the final 4 innings he pitched. Overall, he allowed the 2 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strike outs. Daniel Corcino and Brian Moran followed Santana allowing the final 3 runs for the final 5-0 score. The offense consisted of 4 hits including a double by Will Smith and another multi hit game for Kyle Garlick (2 singles). After a slow 0-9 start, Garlick has gone 6-13 in his next three games.
    .
    Rancho was also shutout last night, losing 1-0 to Stockton Ports (A’s). Dean Kremer started and pitched 5 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strike outs. Isaac Anderson relieved Kremer and gave up the sole run and absorbing his 2nd loss of the young season. Andrew Istler followed and finished the game. The Quake offense was limited to 4 singles, 2 by LF Cody Thomas.
    .
    The Great Lakes Loons suffered the third Dodger affiliate loss of the day, losing 10-4 to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers). Max Gamboa started his second game for the Loons and went 4.2 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 K’s. But the wheels came off the bus after Gamboa left. Zach Pop followed with 1.1 IP, allowing 3 additional runs (2 earned), on 4 hits 0 BB, and 2 K, and then Jordan Pearce hit a granny off of Aneurys Zabala for the final 4 Whitecap runs. Devin Hemmerich finished for the Loons. Offensively, the Loons got 9 hits including 2 doubles (CF Brayan Morales and 1B Nick Yarnall). The offense was led by Carlos Rincon, Nick Yarnall, and Starling Heredia each with 2 hits apiece. After going 0-fer in his 1st, 19 year old Starling Heredia has a 5 game hitting streak, including 4 consecutive multi-hit games. He now has a 2018 slash line of .346/.370/.385/.755.
    .
    The low pitch count continues for the Dodger pitchers; Neal (71), Gamboa (69), and Santana (65). I was not able to get a pitch count for Kremer, but he went 5 innings. Contrarily, David Ledbetter (Round Rock) threw 88 pitches, and Joel Seddon (Midland) threw 89 pitches.

    1. Is Dustin May doing extended spring training or something else. Don’t see his name on any rosters. Injured. Wanted to keep an eye on him and I already lost him. Appreciate some help.

      1. He and Mitch White have been in Extended Spring Training, as are Morgan Cooper and James Marinan.

  3. I certainly concur that Matt is not an anchor on the offense or a virus in the clubhouse. He has been given a second chance, for which he is grateful, and has earned his spot on the team. His teammates seem to be really happy for him. It is not a fake affection.
    .
    His home run to right center was classic Kemp. At 33 there is no reason to believe he can’t have a productive season, maybe even two. He certainly seems capable of making the move to acquire him fall into the genius category. It not only gets the team under the luxury tax threshold but has earned a player still capable of offensive production. Who knew? Maybe FAZ truly did.
    .
    It sometimes seems as Dodger fans we are less apt to forgive our own as we are others. Jeff Kent, who I will forever believe was way out of line speaking out against young Dodgers publicly seemingly drew little criticism because he, “… knew how to play the game”. He certainly didn’t know how to mentor young players or even try being the first out of the locker room and accusing the youngsters of not being professional. Professionalism for many is an acquired trait and takes some fostering, hopefully by teammates.
    .
    Manny Ramirez got instant embrace after being not a canker but a cancer with the Red Sox. I wrote instantly at that time on TBLA that the Ramirez thing would not end well.
    .
    I read the unforgiving comments on some sites with posters almost trying to will Matt to fail. He will, like most hitters, at least 70-75% of the time. But, a healthy, happy, physically fit Matt Kemp is still capable of doing some serious damage and as the offense gets into full swing he doesn’t have to be number one. What a bonus if he hits .275 with 20 or more home runs and 70 or more runs batted in and why not? He pretty much did that in a weak line up in Atlanta in 2017 in 438 at bats. He will top those at bats this year. He could get injured but who doesn’t? See Justin Turner.
    .
    Go Matt! This could be one of our feel good stories this year.

    1. Here’s my direct quote about Manny when the Dodgers traded for him:“I’d rather lose without him than win with him!”

    2. yeah, I doubted kemp too but i’m a believer now. I guess we didn’t stand pat, but instead went backwards, and so far, that has made all the difference. h/t Robert frost

  4. Great win. Ryu looked sharp.
    Hopefully the Keekay-as-a-clean-up-hitter experiment will come to a merciful end.

    1. I think where a hitter hits makes little difference over time. If they keep winning with him at cleanup, so be it!

      1. Until he puts up better numbers than .148 (I know, too early to judge) he and the team would be better suited if he batted lower in the line up. He’s a good ballplayer but is better as a sub than a regular. I look forward to Turner’s return so he can do what he does best.
        *
        This “Select all images” thing is getting tiresome. I just had to go through three panels just to post.

        1. It’s the damn spanners – if we don’t do that they hack the site. We are looking for alternatives…

  5. I am really excited for Ryu! What a great game for him. The Dodgers needed that and so did he. As far as Matt Kemp goes I am all in if he plays like he has been playing. His story isn’t finished yet and I hope it has a storybook ending with the Dodgers winning the World Series!

  6. Roberts: Please note that Kemp hit his homer off a righty. He needs to start 5 games a week minimum.

  7. dingers and zeroes. what a difference a day [or two] makes.

    man, seager got into that ball yesterday. when he hits them they go far.

    because of his quiet nature and his baby face, I tend to forget what a physical monster he is. large man.

    shades of shawn green perhaps

  8. I’ll take 6 good innings from Ryu all season long. I can’t and won’t drink the kool aid on Kemp. His speed always made up for bad routes in the outfield. I guess if he lays down a good
    slash and is average in left field that would be getting what we need form him.

  9. Great game by Ryu and good to see some offense for a change. The pitching match up today greatly favors the Dodgers and they really need a sweep of a team they should beat. It was funny to listen to the A’s announcers complaining about having to PH for the pitchers. It’s a lot tougher to manage your bench and bullpen in the NL. One game at a time but a sweep and day off will set the team up for a prime performance against the Dirtbags.

    Kemp and Bellinger need to move to the 4 and 5 holes, maybe swap when match ups dictate. Utley needs to play more too, he has looked good so far. Puig is pressing and needs to relax. When he stays in the strike zone and doesn’t chase the inside pitches he usually makes hard contact. Kike is pressing too, not sure what to do there. Joc is not a good part time player or PH at this point, give Kemp some more rope.

  10. It appears the Padres and Rockies don’t care much for each other. Surprised the Dodgers and Giants don’t get into it more often.

  11. I know I’m beating a dying horse here, but what to do with Joc? Vegas is right, he is not a part time player, coming off the bench to hit is not his game. Kemp is getting most of the at bats, so Joc seems to be strictly a defensive replacement late in the game. He looks uncomfortable as hell pinch hitting. Think we might be seeing a Toles sighting in a few weeks if this keeps up.

  12. Isn’t anyone concerned that in a game where the Dodgers hit 3 HR, they only scored 4 R? The team still can’t hit/score.

    The A’s pitcher had nothing last night. Colombe and Hatcher threw zeros for heaven sake. They only scored 4 R.

    1. I agree. That bothered me last night. 11 hits, but only 4 runs. ALSO, 0 for 5 RISP. Of the 4 guys with RBIs, they each have either 2 or 3 for the season to date (Seager & Forsythe 2 each and Kemp & Taylor 3 each). I’ll take the 11 hits, but we need to scor more.

  13. I like the lineup except for Joc in the 2 hole but Puig needed a day off. I like Cory-Kemp-Cody 3-4-5 a lot and Utley and Grandal needed to play more. Maybe Puig goes to the 2 hole Friday, he has hit well there in the past and his speed plays on the bases. I predict a good showing tonight for the Blue! Wood just needs to keep the ball down and the bullpen is rested. Kenly looks close to his old self.

  14. Dodgers stink tonight.
    1 – Wood can’t throw faster than 88-89
    2 – Kemp slow getting down the line
    3 – No one hits. The run was a gift
    4 – Utley – a brain fart
    5 – Who said that Taylor is a CF? That throw shouldn’t have been made and what a horrible throw!

    1. Wood didn’t pitch that well but all 7 runs being earned was an official scoring mistake. Utley deserved an error not a FC. Taylor’s throw was an air mailThe team is playing with no sense of urgency at all, very flat. Mengdon is getting a bunch of love for his stupid mustache on the A’s channel and the Dodgers are making him look like a major league pitcher. Vegas Golden Knights vs Kings is a better game to watch tonight. The Lakers have trotted out a D-League team but are beating up the Clippers anyway. Why watch the Dodgers flail away when I have options?

  15. The Good News is that Buehler went 5 innings and allowed 1 run at OKC as they won 19-1!

    Call OKC UP!

  16. More rants…
    1 – Baez stinks
    2 – Why did Roberts waste Chargois to get 2 outs in the 5th? Why not leave him in rather than waste 2 relievers? Why not use Font as a long man since they were down 6 runs anyway?
    3 – I can’t believe that Wood gave up a 2 out hit to the pitcher!

  17. What happened to Joc? He has really cut down his swing but looks pretty anemic up there. The A’s play by play guys said they talked to a Dodgers’ scout who said that Joc has been up there looking to take a walk. If so, they really should send him down.

  18. Alexander might try perfecting that pitch elsewhere other than at game, somewhere like the minors maybe?

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