The Difference a Day, and Matt Kemp, Can Make

Just a day ago, Hanley Ramirez seemed days, if not weeks, away from returning to the Dodgers’ lineup, Yasiel Puig had started and played a full game, but with his nagging injuries, playing back-to-back games was still a question, and then there was Matt Kemp. He had rejoined the team, but not one would let on when he might be starting a game and roaming center field. He pinch hit with two outs in the ninth and the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position, and ended the game with …… a strikeout.

But the sun rose in Socal this morning, the boys in Blue trudged to the Magic Castle, and Mr. Kemp was in the lineup and playing center field, and Hanley Ramirez was listed as the shortstop.

Would it be the Matt Kemp that hit .254 through July 5 with only five home runs and 24

Majestic Matt Kemp L.A. Dodgers Cool Base Player Performance Jersey

runs batted in, and the Matt Kemp who pinch hit the night before, or the real Matt Kemp, who in his one game in late July before re-injuring himself, hit a home run, double, single, and drove in three? Well it was the real Matt Kemp, who did cover center field seemingly without a problem, and who started the game with a first inning double driving in the first two runs of the game, and who went on to go four-for-four and drive in three. He did give way in the seventh to pinch runner Skip Schumaker who finished up in center field.

It was also a major step for Ramirez, who was on base four times with a single and three walks. He also did leave the game early, in the bottom of the eighth, with the team

nursing a 9-2 lead. And Puig played the whole game,

So, most of the walking wounded returned, and the Dodgers clobbered the Diamondbacks, 9-3, and reduced their magic number to one. More importantly, the overall

team play, and that of Kemp, seemed to be yet again a turning point, this time for the good.

The Dodgers need to play well over the last 11 games, and go into the playoffs raging, not whimpering.

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