If Matt Kemp has done something that justifies his benching for the second day in a row — something more than striking out four times Sunday — he needs to get his act together.
But if Joe Torre really thinks that the reason his team scored 15 runs Tuesday was because Kemp didn’t start, and that the Dodgers are better tonight with Kemp on the bench, Torre needs to get his act together.
The Dodgers began 2010 with eight regular position players. Other than Blake DeWitt, who was platooned for much of the year, Kemp is the only one of the eight who has been held out of the lineup on consecutive days while healthy.
News flash: Kemp is not the only problem with this team. Casey Blake, for example, has had an unequivocally worse season than Kemp, yet he’s never been given three days to get his head together.
If Kemp truly merits this scapegoating, then by all means, he needs to shape up. But if he’s being held to a standard that other aren’t — a standard that Blake, James Loney, Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin and Manny Ramirez all escaped even when they slumped at the plate at different times this year — it’s time to question whether the Dodgers have made Kemp into a much bigger target than he deserves to be.
Like it or not, Kemp is one of the Dodgers’ best players. Have the Dodgers gotten to the point where they can only see where he fails and are blind to where he succeeds?
Update: Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com filed this report …
… Torre likened the situation to last season, when the Dodgers acquired veteran utility man Ronnie Belliard late in the season and Belliard got so hot at the end that three-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman Orlando Hudson, who would eventually win his fourth, was benched during the playoffs in favor of Belliard.
However, Torre said he was a long way from relegating Kemp — who is hitting .260 with 18 homers and 63 RBIs but has struck out 120 times in 435 at-bats — to a reserve role for the rest of the season.
“I’m not going that far down that road,” Torre said. “I’m just looking to play it a day at a time right now. You don’t just play with the same people all the time. If you want to win, everybody needs to contribute. Matty knocked in two runs [Tuesday] night. I just don’t want to go too far down the road right now.”
I still can’t believe there even is a road.