“Spraying Hits All Around the Ballpark”
DODGERS BLUE…..They booed and booed and booed him, and he kept hitting homers. Matt Kemp, you remember him? He was brought to San Diego in the first wave of big money player acquisitions by GM-AJ Preller.
It didn’t work out. He was making a lot of money, didn’t hit very much, wasn’t a clubhouse leader at all, and then was dealt away. And in his closing comments, he openly admitted he wasn’t all that motivated.
Yes I guess it would be culture shock to go from a pennant contender, and playing in LA, to go to a perrenial cellar-dweller in San Diego. He was welcomed with open arms by fans, who wanted him to succeed and to lead. He did neither.
Then Kemp went to Atlanta, dragging his big contract with him, still getting paid by the Padres, and played on a loser there.
After being dealt back to the Dodgers in salary dump deals involving Adrian Gonzalez, he admitted to being over-weight and not playing well for the Braves.
That’s the most offensive part about Kemp. All that money, with teams that needed him, and he admits he was jaking it in San Diego and Atlanta. This is his final year on the mega-deal, and he won’t ever get a big contract again.
Sure he’s wearing Dodgers colors again, but he’s not the same player, and he’s not viewed the same by the fans either.
It would have been nice if he had embraced the Padres. Of course it would have been nice is Justin Upton hadn’t come here and acted ike a mercenary, or if brother Melvin Upton had acted like a turd, or James Shields could have acted like he cared to fix things when things went to bad. But none of that happened.
But Kemp acted in such an appalling way, here and in Atlanta, I can see why they boo him, boo him, boo him more, regardless if he hits a home run or not. Would have been nice if pride was important as his paycheck.
PADRES PROBLMES…..Not an easy time for 3rd baseman Chase Headley. Once a Silver Slugger-Gold Glove 3rd baseman here, he is on the Friars bench now.
Who could have imagined Headley hitting (.038) to start the season? Who would believe the guy, who once controlled the strike zone, and hit so well with the Yankees a year ago, would be (1-for-26) with 13-strikeouts?
Manager Andy Green seemed offended when I asked him if Headley had become a ‘lost soul?’. His confidence is waning. He’s taking so many pitches. You just don’t recognize him at the plate. And he won’t get on the field until Christian Villanueva cools off, or pitchers start throwing him curveballs.
Maybe Green was peeved when I asked with so many smart guys in the Padres dugout, Green, Mark McGuire, hitting coach Matt Stairs, there would be a smart guy among the three, who could find a flaw, to help Headley out.
Give the veteran credit. He wants to play, wants to earn his 13M a year on the final year of his deal, and still makes himself available to the media.
ANGEL OVERWHELMED….Nerves, the moment, the batting order. It sure didn’t look like Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday night. After two dominant starts against the punch-and-judy Oakland A’s, the Red Sox jumped on the Japanese pitching sensation.
He looked un-nerved facing a (13-2) Bosox batting order. Mookie Betts, the leadoff hitter, teed off a home-run pitch as the first batter of the game, and it went downhill from there.
Obtain was throwing at 97-99-100, hitting the strike zone sometime, but missing as much too. That and he had no location at all with his secondary pitchers.
His arm slot looked different from the first two games I saw him pitch. His stride to the play looked stiff. His follow-thru was off. Balls sailed high, low, inside and outside.
I also wondered if the language barrier was a problem, when he was struggling How does catch Martin Maldonado communicate with him. There were 3-mound trips in his 56-pitch two inning struggle.
Pitching once every 7-days, the Angels have done a good job scheduling him on the mound and at DH. But this was really surprising. The coming out party turned out to be a knockout outing.
But he’s just a kid, who will figure it out.
Matt Kemp probably won’t ever. Chase Headley wants to. Shohei Ohtani will get his next opportunity next week.
And so baseball moves on.