Wednesday, May 28, 2014

With Crawford hurt, now is Kemp's time to step up

Matt Kemp was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game on Tuesday night.  He said he's healthy and wants his chance to play again.

Thanks to a badly rolled ankle from Carl Crawford, he's going to get his wish.

Those pregame fly balls that Kemp was tracking down in left were apparently a sign of things to come, as a few hours later Crawford was limping off the field after turning his ankle on a freak play in the Dodgers' 6-3 win over the Reds.  A trip to the DL is a mere formality at this point.

Now is the time for Kemp to step up, embrace left field as his own, and showcase his all-around game again.  To his credit, he has not popped off publicly about basically being told he's not good enough for center field anymore.  I'm sure he wasn't happy, but who would be?  I think he's handled it with class, and that's a big plus.

With Scott Van Slyke as virtually the only other option to play left, I would expect Kemp to get plenty of starts as long as he shows good instincts there.  If not, then Don Mattingly has shown that he's not afraid to rest his "stars" and go with the hot hand.  But, Kemp should be given a chance to show he's that guy.

The outfield should be an exciting thing to watch for Dodger fans, as Yasiel Puig is playing like an All-Star starter, Andre Ethier had four RBIs last night and is clearly settling into his everyday role in center, and now a spot opens for Kemp to get playing time again.  Of course, nobody wants to see an injury, but the only silver lining is that hopefully Kemp can relax and play better knowing he's going to be in the lineup when he shows up at the ballpark each day.

So, Mr. Kemp, now is your time to shine in left.  Take advantage of it!

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