Zack Greinke was wonderful last night, and Juan Uribe hit his fifth homer in eight games, and Hanley Ramirez got on base four times, and Patrick Corbin got knocked out early, and absolutely no one cares about any of that because MATT KEMP YES MATT KEMP.
Kemp had four hits in his return to the lineup, and that’s the takeaway here, because after so much frustration this year it was wonderful just to see the man in action and happy. (The marquee image above is obviously not from last night’s game, but you can see why I chose it.) I’m hoping that we’ve learned by now not to expect anything from Kemp beyond that day’s game, because by the time the regular season ends he might very well have been abducted by aliens or have contracted flesh-eating disease or something, but it was difficult to watch that and not become very hopeful for what he might provide.
After all — tongue firmly in cheek here — when Kemp has played lately, he’s been great; over his last six games (five starts), he’s hitting .579/.619/1.211 with three homers. Sure, that includes games on July 3/4/5 and 21 as well as yesterday, and makes a mockery of small sample size, but we can enjoy the fun, right?
So that being the case, we’re already starting to hear people asking the inevitable question of “what will happen with four outfielders in the playoffs?!” and the answer is simple: the Dodgers don’t have four outfielders. They haven’t all season, and they don’t right now, not with Andre Ethier still in that walking boot and Carl Crawford‘s sore back acting up. (Crawford’s only hitting .289/.329/.366 without a homer and only four steals in the second half, anyway.)
By the time the playoffs roll around, we have no idea who might be healthy or not, but if we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that these things take care of themselves. They always, always do. And if not? If all four guys are fully ready to go? Then that’s a pretty good problem to have, and suddenly having what might be the most dangerous pinch-hitter available — whomever of the three that might be, and I see “three” because we all know that Yasiel Puig is playing every day — doesn’t feel like a problem to me, nor does the idea of having a better option than Michael Young to be the DH should the Dodgers get to the World Series.
The fact that Kemp is even playing right now remains somewhat surprising to those of us who thought for certain his season was over, so let’s take what we can get. Who knows what things will look like in October, right? The focus now is A) finishing off the Diamondbacks tonight and B) keeping everyone, Kemp included, healthy. Beyond that, things will fall into place, as always.