Matt Kemp returned to the starting lineup of the Dodgers on Tuesday for the first time since injuring his ankle against the Washington Nationals in July. Matt Kemp somehow left off right where he was months ago.
Eric Stephen of True Blue LA summed up well where Matt Kemp was at the time of his injury
The good: Matt Kemp, starting tonight, has homered in 3 of his last 4 starts. The bad: Those starts came July 3, 4, 21
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) September 17, 2013
It’s been nearly two months since his last start, and 3 weeks prior to that were his last consecutive starts. Despite all the setbacks, Matt Kemp had a big game in the Dodgers 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The win moved the Dodgers ‘magic number’ into the ‘2 to go’ column. Kemp was 4-4 with 1 run scored and 3 RBI’s.
It’s funny how lineups with Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp seem to do better than those with Nick Punto and Nick Buss #mysteries
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) September 18, 2013
It is a strange phenomenon.
The Dodgers were rolling without Kemp in July and August, but after Hanley, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Yasiel Puig all missed time in recent games, it was not those same Dodgers out there that lost 4 in a row. Vin Scully said it during Monday’s game that these were not the August Dodgers, these were the May Dodgers.
But Kemp hit two doubles that both would have been out of Dodgers Stadium according to Scully, and contributed to 5 of the Dodgers 9 runs on the night.
Matt Kemp had been almost exclusively an onlooker during this great stretch run. He understandably told reporters “I miss baseball, man” after the game.
And just as importantly Don Mattingly did what he didn’t do on July 21st to maintain his health. Both were games the Dodgers put out of reach, but this time Mattingly lifted Kemp for Skip Schumacher late in the game. Last time, Kemp injured his ankle in an awkward slide at home when he should have been out of the game already.
Hanley Ramirez makes this offense go, but Kemp could really make it soar.