There are very few things more frustrating to a fan base than a baseball team having trouble scoring runs. After their series against the Giants the Dodgers are in that boat with seven runs scored and an unproductive middle of the order. That includes Matt Kemp, 0-for-10 on the season and chief among the frustrated in Wednesday night's 5-3 loss.
"(My pitch selection) wasn't that good. I had more bad at-bats than I had good at-bats," Kemp said. "I have to be a little more consistent."
Kemp came up with two runners on base in the first inning, then came up with the bases loaded in the second. Each time, Kemp flew out to his counterpart Angel Pagan in center field. After a walk in the fifth inning, Kemp came up with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth inning, down 5-2. Kemp topped a ball to Pablo Sandoval, who stepped on third base and threw to first for a double play. In the eighth inning, Kemp came up as the tying run with Nick Punto on first base, but struck out to end the inning.
"I thought he swung the bat okay tonight, especially early," said manager Don Mattingly. "The first two balls I thought he hit the ball right on the nose, then the walk. Then he just got a little too anxious."
Kemp is hardly alone in his slump, as Luis Cruz is also 0-for-10 and Adrian Gonzalez 1-for-9. The team as a whole is hitting .176/.275/.276 through three games and are 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position.
Both Kemp and Mattingly insist that Kemp's surgically repaired left shoulder is not hindering him at the plate.
"I think Matt is fine. I think Matt is pressing a little bit, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "I think he's trying to get going, obviously when you're in your third game and you haven't gotten a hit yet."
Kemp sees signs of improvement in his swing.
"Today I felt really really good. I hit the ball hard a couple of times and drew a walk. You can't always get hits. With the bases loaded the first time I hit the ball really hard right at Pagan. It was just stupid hitting on my part, I hit it right at him," Kemp quipped. "I just have to be patient, do what I do, have good at-bats, swing at good pitches, and good things will come."
The Dodgers are off Thursday and as Kemp said, "This series is over. We're not worried about it anymore. We have to get ready for Pittsburgh." The Pirates come to town for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium beginning Friday night. Zack Greinke makes his Dodgers debut in the opener against southpaw Jonathan Sanchez. But in the interim, Chad Billingsley will make a minor league rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night.