Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

The Bison’s back in town

Matt Kemp’s game-winning homer (and just let that phrase marinate for a moment) Tuesday was the latest sign that he will be a key factor in the Dodger postseason.

Kemp has a .385 on-base percentage. .542 slugging percentage and .927 OPS in 26 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list September 16, .384 OBP, .576 slugging and .959 OPS in 73 plate appearances since May 28. Concerns remain about his durability this year, but he’s quickly knocking down the arguments that he’s not capable of helping this Dodger team.

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.


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  1. ASW1

    Just in time, too!

    This guy says Ethier targeting Colorado series now at the earliest :

    • RBI

      I really feel for Ethier. He has been a phenomenal team member, and his flexibility and talent were hugely important elements of our success this year. I truly hope he gets to participate in the post-season, but either way, he deserves a lot of praise.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        Totally agree. Steiner & Mo have taken up the Ethier Recognition campaign, but rightfully so.

        • WBBsAs

          So Steiner’s not wrong about everything, then?

          • Bob_Hendley

            Not sure that he is wrong more than anyone else, but he seems so enthusiatic when he is wrong.

          • Bob_in_Vegas

            I’ve never been a Steiner hater . . . I just hate when he gets my hopes up with the call and he’s incorrect.

            I’ve always liked Mo, including when he does play-by-play.

    • WBBsAs

      Can’t wait much longer than that.

  2. TPruett

    Clearly, if Kemp is healthy and swinging well, he needs to be in there every day, as he brings more to the party than Ethier or Crawford…and has shown the capability to absolutely carry the team for a period of weeks when he’s swinging well. However, I believe Mattingly will bench him against tough righthanders if Ethier is healthy enough to play defense. It fits Donnie’s MO: risk aversion and inoculation from criticism. Of course, this means Mattingly is exactly the same as 99% of the managers in the history of baseball :) To me though, the REAL question is, given a healthy Ethier and a healthy Crawford…who does he play against LEFTHANDERS. Crawford is hitting .206/.264/.294 against lefties…Ethier is hitting .221/.275/.338. Ethier’s edge in power (meager though it may be), along with what I believe to be his superior defense, would seem to give him the edge…but who knows. Now assuming, (as I hope is the case), that Kemp is in there every day…who plays against righties? To me this is a no-brainer: Ethier gets the nod. His OPS against righties is .854, including a robust .394 OBP. Crawfords OBP is .350, with a .778 OPS. However, Donnie may value (overvalue?) Crawford’s speed. It will be interesting to see.

    • I agree that Crawford is a fourth outfielder if all four are healthy. I don’t agree that Mattingly sees Kemp as someone you bench against any righthanders, including tough ones, unless maybe he has a particularly bad history against one. But by and large, Mattingly only benches Kemp for health reasons.

      Benching Kemp for any reason won’t inoculate Mattingly against criticism. If a healthy Kemp sits on the bench and any of the three starting outfielders does poorly, people will instantly ask why Kemp wasn’t playing.

      • NoahUCLA

        If Crawford sits and Puig leads off, then who would you bat second? Against righties I might put Ethier second, not Mark Ellis (which is what Mattingly will probably do) or Kemp. I think Adrian and Hanley are locked at 3-4, for good reason, and Kemp or Ethier bats 5th. I’d sure like to see AJ’s offense come back for the postseason. We really need him hitting or getting on, especially with the likelihood that Kemp and/or Hanley with their high OBP will be on base when he gets up to bat.

        • TPruett

          I’d like to see Matt bat 2nd against Lefties

        • Bumsrap

          I prefer Gonzales’ speed hit fifth.

          • PismoBruce

            Absolutely. Your job Gonzo is to drive in runs-period. Having him clog the bases is one of the things that chaps me most about Mattingly.

      • TPruett

        You’re probably right…though people around town seem to have short memories regarding Matt Kemp.

      • btimmer

        Kemp is 3 for 24 lifetime against Wainwright. And 0 for 6 against Kelly. In the 2009 NLDS, Kemp was 0 for 4 against Wainwright. Ethier is 10 for 33 in the regular season against Wainwright and homered off of him in the NLDS.

  3. Jack Dawkins

    Saint Louis winning today. Feels like it will be dodgers opening the fall campaign in the mound city.

  4. Bob_in_Vegas

    LOVE seeing this. I’ve felt for Matt sitting while the rest of the team was celebrating.

    Let the Bison roam!

  5. KT

    Dodgers lineup:
    Puig RF
    Crawford LF
    Kemp CF
    Young 1B
    A Ellis C
    Hairston 3B
    Schumaker 2B
    Punto SS
    Nolasco P

    • ASW1

      Giants lineup :

      1. Angel Pagan (S) CF

      2. Gregor Blanco (L) LF

      3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B

      4. Buster Posey (R) C

      5. Hunter Pence (R) RF

      6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B

      7. Brandon Crawford (L) SS

      8. Tony Abreu (S) 2B

      9. Barry Zito (L) P

  6. KT

    Bill Shaikin ‏@BillShaikin1m
    #Dodgers can change playoff roster between rounds, if they advance. If Ethier can’t play in NLDS, he still could in later rounds.

    For those of you who didn’t know

  7. ASW1

    Most teams would have really struggled if they had a player of Kemp’s caliber go down with injury for as much of the season as Kemp did this year – Dodgers were very fortunate they had Ethier to take over CF and perform the way he did this season. And of course fortunate to have Puig come up and take over RF, and have Crawford, an afterthought, throw-in that the RSox forced on Ned to be rid of his contract – basically saying “OK, Ned if you REALLY want Adrian Gonzalez THAT bad – then here – you have to take Carl Crawford off our hands too!”

    And now that Ethier regrettably goes down, who just happens to FINALLY become healthy enough to come in and take over for Ethier in CF but a player of Matt Kemp’s caliber – Matt Kemp!

    Not sure if it is the perfect word to describe all this but I keep thinking : SERENDIPITY

  8. KT

    New leader in NL seedings: 1) StL 2) Barves 3) us

  9. KT

    Last KCAL game ever…hopefully

  10. ASW1

    So, you guys hear that with the move to TWC next season, Fox will not be airing pre- and postgame shows on the Dodgers during the playoffs? Lame.

  11. ASW1

    Ethier already sent back to LA to meet with Neal ElAttrache – Hope the Dodgers win but I hope even more that Puig, Kemp, and Crawford end the game healthy.

  12. KT

    Go BLUE!!!! Let’s take this series and make it 29 -16 – 6

  13. KT

    setting up the DP

  14. KT

    Come on 1-2-3 DP

  15. KT

    Nice pitchout

  16. ASW1

    Tony Abreu? What the heck has got into this guy? 10 rbi’s all year and then 4 in 2 games.

    • WBBsAs

      If it means the Gnats decide he’s their 2B of the future, I’m OK with it.

  17. KT

    Anyone watching the Gnats feed see Pence run into AJ on the triple by Abreu…it was like he wasn’t paying attention

  18. KT

    got it this time Yasiel

  19. KT

    Remind of some of our team mates…at least we don’t do it on the field

  20. KT

    Let’s go Matty

  21. Bob_in_Vegas


  22. ASW1

    Missed a 3-run jack by a foot or two

  23. ASW1

    Nice AB by our clean-up hitter there…

  24. Bob_in_Vegas

    Would have been nice to see some of that resurgent AJ power . . . even to get it past the infield.

  25. Bob_in_Vegas

    No matter what happens here, Kemp has had two great ABs and THAT is enough to make me really happy!

  26. Bob_in_Vegas

    A break . . . we’ll take it!

  27. RBI

    Weird home run. Snuck out of here.

  28. Bob_in_Vegas

    Better to have Ricky’s bubble burst now than in the playoffs.

    • RBI

      Good point. But those three Giants have hit him hard his whole career.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        And they won’t be in the playoffs.

      • scooplew

        I hope it is only a bubble burst for Nolasco. The way he has pitched lately has been way below par. In a five-game playoff series he would be needed to pitch one game, probably the fourth game following Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. With two days off, if the series goes five games, Kershaw would be available to go in the fifth game.

  29. scooplew

    Unless Donnie goes with only 10 pitchers, as discussed by Jon recently, I don’t think Hairston merits consideration for being on the post-season roster. He is now 3-for-44.

  30. Bob_in_Vegas

    Has anyone heard if anyone talked with Chad Billingsley and his reaction to this year (e.g. missing out on it)? If he comes back close to the level when he was last pitching, this staff will be even stronger next year!

    • KT

      Heard reports that he’s already on a throwing program and is ahead of schedule and “he” thinks he’s going to be ready by spring training

  31. ASW1

    Time to score some runs!

  32. KT

    nice Sandoval

  33. KT

    Amanda Rykoff @amandarykoff

    Here’s a shot of Scherzer’s heterochromatic blue and brown goggles. LOVE.…

  34. ASW1


  35. KT

    Come on AJ

  36. KT

    Ok let’s score at least two

  37. RBI

    Well, at least it got a little exciting.

  38. RBI

    First round against Braves versus Cards…Dodger Thoughts thoughts?

  39. foul tip

    Nolasco again with the positive spin on a subpar performance. It may be just for public consumption, because he’s unlikely to be all that confident with playoffs looming. Maybe some regression to the mean, because he’s not going to post Kershaw numbers all the time like during his great run. Even if it’s normal regression, atrocious timing.

    He may be working on being skipped as 4th starter and be looking at the long man role.

  40. foul tip

    Bullpen continued its good work last night….

    2.1 IP, no hits, 2 BB, 5 Ks. With Nolasco’s 7, Dodger pitching punched out 12.

    Not hard to guess who walked the 2. Maybe he should be called Cardiac Marmol.

    Best AB plan for batters v him might be just stand there. You can’t hit him, but he’s about as likely to walk you as strike you out.

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