Matt Kemp tosses his bat after striking out Wednesday against the San Francisco… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
OK, repeat after the Dodgers: It’s only three games, it’s only three games.
True, of course. There will no doubt be plenty of times during the course of a 162-game series that the offense will go silent, where their big bats are made to look small.
But when it’s the first three games of the season, things can get magnified. And three games or not, there is something just wrong about Clayton Kershaw leading the team in home runs.
So, three games or not, it doesn’t look right that Matt Kemp (0 for 10) is without a hit or RBI.
“It’s just three games, I’m not panicking,” Kemp said. “This won’t be the last time I have a bad series, I promise you that. It’s baseball.”
But Kemp had major off-season shoulder surgery, so he will naturally be watched more closely. The jury will remain out until he demonstrates he’s healthy and has mentally put it behind him.
“The shoulder is good,” Kemp said, as he has been saying for weeks.
Said Manager Don Mattingly: “I don’t think the shoulder is an issue, I just think Matt’s a little too fast right now.”
Kemp hit the ball hard in his first two at-bats Wednesday, but at Giants center fielder Angel Pagan. He walked in his third at-bat, but when he came up in the sixth with the bases loaded, he bounced into a double play on a 2-0 count.
“I think Matt’s fine,” Mattingly said. “I think Matt is pressing a little bit, that’s for sure. I think he’s trying to get it going.
“You get into your third game and you haven’t got a hit yet, that thing just climbs a little bit. It’s kind of the exact opposite of a good start. You want to get that monkey off your back with a hit and get rolling.”
Kemp’s opening-series struggles are somewhat magnified by his terrific start last season, when he hit .412 in April with 12 homers and 25 RBI.
Still, he seemed to have a loose attitude following Wednesday’s loss, repeating how it was just three games. Even if the only three games.
“If I stay within myself, I’ll be that 2011 version of Matt Kemp everybody knows,” he said.
The 2011 Kemp had one of the great offensive seasons in Dodgers’ history. If he wants to be that guy again, he’d best get a hit in the Dodgers’ next game on Friday.
In 2011 Kemp never went four consecutive games without a hit. He went three consecutive without a hit only three times all season.