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Can't like Dodgers' chances if Matt Kemp doesn't shake slump

September 07, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Matt Kemp has hit .182 with four RBI in his last 68 at-bats.
Matt Kemp has hit .182 with four RBI in his last 68 at-bats. (Harry How / Getty Images )

Matt Kemp says the right things, says the kind of things you would hope he would say about his recent offensive struggles.

“It’s frustrating, but I can’t dwell on the past,” Kemp said. “I have to turn the page and do better.”

The current numbers, however, are not good. The Dodgers’ best player is in a slump, and at exactly the wrong time of the season.

He was batting .357 back on Aug. 15 when things started to turn. In his last 68 at-bats, he’s hit .182 with four RBI. His on-base and slugging percentage are both a foreign-looking .250.

It’s been even worse since he went all destruction derby on the Coors Field outfield wall. His second collision left him with a sore knee, jaw and shoulder.

Then the Dodgers came home and he went 3-for-25 (.120) on the Dodgers 3-4 homestand, his lone RBI coming on his only home run in his last 24 games.

Manager Don Mattingly suspects his shoulder remains sore and is affecting his swing, though Kemp will not publicly acknowledge it.

 “There are no excuses, man,” Kemp said. “You have to get better and do my job and try to help the team win.”

Kemp is a lifetime .299 hitter at AT&T Park, so history says it’s as good a place as any for him to turn things around as the Dodgers open the biggest three-game series of their season Friday night.

This is certainly not to lay the blame for the team’s current hitting woes solely at the feet of Kemp. But despite all the additions, he remains the team’s centerpiece, the player who can beat you in so many ways.

Yet if the Dodgers are to put together the kind of streak their season now demands, it’s difficult to imagine it happening without a productive Kemp.

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