Matt Kemp’s status was the story of the Dodgers’ afternoon, as conflicting — or rather, evolving — reports appeared on whether he would be activated for tonight’s game. At best, it appears, he would be used as a pinch-hitter.
During that time, I tweeted the following:
I am a Matt Kemp optimist. Join me. He could be the latest great story for the 2013 #dodgers.
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) September 16, 2013
No, Kemp might not contribute at all to the Dodgers for the remainder of this season, playoffs or otherwise. But I’m bothered by the cynicism that assumes he can’t or won’t be a factor, not only because he so recently was the best player in the National League, but because he was looking better in the games before his freak sliding injury in July.
In his most recent 12 starts, Kemp had a .383 on-base percentage and .595 slugging, with a home run every 14 at-bats. Admittedly, those came at least two months ago, but they at least put the lie to the notion that he was fatally lost at the plate. For some reason, some people refuse to believe that he had shown signs of regaining his form.
Also keep in mind that when the season began, the Coors Field injury to his labrum and subsequent surgery were much more recent than they are now.
It’s anyone’s guess what (if anything) will happen next, but let’s start with an open mind. This is not a guy off the street.