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Joe Torre benches Matt Kemp for the second straight game

Aug 11, 2010, 4:17 PM EST

Matt Kemp is out of the Dodgers’ lineup tonight for the second straight game and since he said yesterday that there’s nothing wrong with him physically … well, that means he’s simply been benched. Again.
Kemp has had a disappointing season on both sides of the ball and is just 2-for-21 since a five-hit game on August 2, but his .260/.317/.451 overall line is hardly awful and obviously his track record is good enough that it just seems odd that the Dodgers are so willing to jerk him around at age 25.
Tonight manager Joe Torre is sitting Kemp in favor of left-handed hitters Scott Podsednik and Jay Gibbons versus right-hander Roy Oswalt. Perhaps that’s not completely insane on a one-game, platoon-based level, but Kemp has a 50-point edge over Podsednik in career OPS versus righties and obviously there’s something beyond that going on here.

  1. Philip P - Aug 11, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    This is getting ugly. Kemp is loaded with talent and as frustrating as he can be he is still young and the Dodgers should be showing greater patience. I think they are reaching a point of no return where by benching him repeatedly, they had better try to move him in the offseason before they kill his market value. I fear that within a year Either will be the only position player left from the core that emerged together back in 2006 (Ethier, Kemp, Loney, Martin) with zero World Series titles to show for it. Bloody shame….

  2. The Rabbit - Aug 11, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    If I remember correctly, earlier in the season Ned Colletti (in place of looking in a mirror) had a public temper tantrum and blamed all of the Dodgers woes on Matt Kemp. Kemp was hitting reasonably well at the time, certainly better than where he stands at the moment.
    It does beg the questions: Is this Torre’s decision, Colletti’s, or some joint agreement? Would they bench Kemp if he doesn’t bleed Dodger blue?

  3. Philip P - Aug 11, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    My vote is some joint old school treatment on the part of Torre & Coletti; with Torre’s future up in the air it is becoming harder to imagine Kemp being a Dodger next season if Torre returns and perhaps even if he doesn’t if you assume that Mattingly gets the job. I am curious as to what kind of package they could get for him in the offseason. I would prefer to keep him but at this point a trade may be best for all parties. No way he hets through waivers though so this won’t be resolved until the offseason at the earliest.

  4. David - Aug 11, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Kemp’s real sin was not being on the ’96 – ’00 Yankees. It seems those are the only players Torre is able to handle. Look at the enormous talent he has misused and befuddled: Arod, Sheffield, Martin, Ethier, Kemp**…All super talented players who could not get it together playing for Torre. The main job of an MLB manager is not deciding when to hit-and-run, or penciling in the lineup. It is getting the most out of the very talented players on the roster, and making sure they play hard all the time. Torre has shown that is not his forte.
    **Not to mention to one middle reliever per year he sacrifices to the baseball gods by overuse to the point of ending a career (Nelson, Quantrill, Sturtze, Proctor, Vizcaino, Bellasario etc).

  5. JBerardi - Aug 11, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    “**Not to mention to one middle reliever per year he sacrifices to the baseball gods by overuse to the point of ending a career (Nelson, Quantrill, Sturtze, Proctor, Vizcaino, Bellasario etc).”

    You know, I hear this about Torre a lot, and I used to buy it as a criticism, but the more I think about it, it’s not really valid. Middle relievers are incredibly volatile year-to-year anyway, so if you’ve got a guy who’s pitching well, why NOT wear him out? Torre is supposed to be winning games, not preserving Scott Proctor’s oh-so-promising career.

  6. JBerardi - Aug 11, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    Now, as far as Kemp goes, LA better figure out some way to kiss and make up with the guy, regardless of how frustrated by him they may be with him. Otherwise, they’re going to wind up on the severely losing end of a trade.

  7. Old Gator - Aug 12, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    I suspect that it’s just Rihanna wearing the poor bastard out, the way Jessica Simpson drained poor Tony Romo…and forced him to make conversation afterward.

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