Brewers @ Dodgers May 29, 2012: The Return of Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp is back, and all is right with the world. (Jerry Sands, as expected, was shipped back to Albuquerque to make room for him.) Seriously, though, take a look at the lineup below. How much better does it feel to have our all-world center fielder back in the fold? Frankly, I’m not sure how we managed to last this long without him, but kudos for the patchwork group of fill-ins for playing so well in his absence.

Nathan Eovaldi is also back with the club for his second stint and first appearance of the season, but what interests me the most about this lineup is that Ivan De Jesus is actually getting a chance to play, hitting second and playing second base. I’ve been somewhat surprised at how the man we’ve all thought was passed over within the organization has been Don Mattingly’s go-to pinch-hitting choice ahead of Sands & Scott Van Slyke lately, and now he’s actually getting a chance to play ahead of Elian Herrera, at least for a night. His chance to impress may yet be short; Dylan Hernandez reports that Juan Uribe is improving and is expected to take batting practice tomorrow.

On the other side, Milwaukee trots out one of the most inexperienced batteries I think I can remember in some time. Pitcher Michael Fiers faced ten MLB batters with the Brewers last year; catcher Martin Maldonado caught one inning apiece in three September games. He’s hitting just .198/.270/.347 in Triple-A this year, but the Brewers found their depth challenged by injuries to regular catchers Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras.

It’s Lucroy’s injury which is the most relevant to Dodger fans, even outside of this series, because he was having an A.J. Ellis-like breakout season. Now that he’s expected to be out well into July, that clears another potential All-Star competitor out of Ellis’ way. Ellis, by the way, has become such a folk hero that we’re even reading about him in publications that aren’t specific to baseball. Over at The Classical today, Eric Nusbaum touches on Ellismania, and keep an eye out for a few links and names you just might recognize from the comments…

So the movement has begun. The Dodger blogosphere, led by Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, turned a sort of speculative half-joke into a completely earnest, unironic, and yes, frivolous, All-Star campaign.There is a website, AJEllis2KC.com, and an associated hashtag #AJ2KC. There is AJ Ellis Facts, the best Dodger-related Tumblr since Emo Juan Uribe, and there will soon be t-shirts for sale with AJ Ellis’ likeness that simply say OBP.

Brewers
Dodgers
RF
Hart
LF
Gwynn
CF
Aoki
2B
De Jesus
LF
Braun
CF
Kemp
3B
Ramirez
RF
Ethier
1B
Green
3B
Hairston
2B
Weeks
1B
Loney
SS
Ransom
C
Ellis
C
Maldonado
SS
Gordon
P
Fiers
P
Eovaldi

 

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