Jul 2, 2010, 12:16 PM EDT
Joe Torre failed to start Matt Kemp for three straight games this week, and when he was asked about it he was kind of coy. The impression given was that he was giving Kemp some time off in order for him to regroup and find a way out of his season-long slump. Dylan Hernandez reports, however, that it was much less zen than that: Kemp was being punished.
Why? Because during Saturday’s game with the Yankees he failed to back up second base when Russell Martin threw to try and nail and Derek Jeter, whole was stealing on the play. When the throw skipped, Kemp wasn’t there and Jeter scampered on to third base.
The problem came after the inning when bench coach Bob Schaefer tried to remind Kemp of his defensive responsibilities on steals, Kemp was dismissive and Torre subsequently decided that Kemp needed some time off.
True Blue L.A. had a great post recently analyzing Kemp’s struggles this year, and determined that they were mostly a function of speed: he’s getting caught stealing, he’s hitting into double plays, he’s not getting infield hits and he’s not tracking down fly balls.
One possibility is that he’s lost a step or has an injury or something. Another possibility — made more likely in my mind given Hernandez’s story — is that Kemp just isn’t all that motivated to bust his ass like he has in the past.
- Video: Pablo Sandoval catches final out in foul territory, Giants win 2014 World Series 5
- Madison Bumgarner pitches the Giants to their third World Series win in five seasons 61
- Madison Bumgarner named World Series MVP … obviously 17
- Pablo Sandoval sets new postseason hits record 7
- There’s nothing better than a Game 7? Well, maybe there is. 23
- Report: Cubs hire Joe Maddon as manager 60
- World Series, Game 7: Giants vs. Royals lineups 3
- Remembering World Series Game 7s of the past 30 years 30
- A veteran says enough is enough when it comes to tributes for the soldiers (277)
- Jose Canseco shot his middle finger off (145)
- Shocker! Joe Maddon to opt out of his contract and leave the Rays (142)
- Oscar Taveras dies after car accident in the Dominican Republic (140)
- 10-0! The Royals romp, tie it up at three games a piece (109)