Kemp’s Majestic Three-Run Blast Moves Dodgers Into First Place Tie

Matt Kemp

The Dodgers aren’t going down without a fight folks. For the second consecutive night the Dodgers rallied in the late innings overcoming a 2-0 deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth. This time around it was Matt Kemp’s majestic three-run blast that gave the Dodgers the lead and eventual win. There were other contributions as well. There was Clayton Kershaw’s strong start. Manny Machado’s key walk against Archie Bradley in the eighth was pivotal, and Enrique Hernandez’s incredible diving play in the top of the ninth. Whatever it was, the 2018 Dodgers resembled the 2017 Dodgers as they beat the Snakes by a 3-2 score. The win moves them into a first place tie with Colorado just a half game behind both clubs.

Speaking of Kemp, he was the coldest Dodger in the lineup. Batting cleanup, he was 0 for 3 before he hit the home run in the eighth inning. I didn’t mind Kemp starting so much, but I cringed when I saw Austin Barnes penciled in yet again in the eighth spot. The Dodgers rolled out their all-righty lineup with Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Yasmani Grandal on the bench. Newly acquired David Freese was in the lineup too, playing first base. Freese got a hit in his first Dodger at-bat and also reached on a hit by pitch.

Dbacks   2 5 1

Dodgers 3 6 2

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Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

The two southpaws battled each other as the Dodgers and Dbacks were once again involved in another pitching duel. Kershaw has been pitching well lately, posting a 1.99 ERA over his last ten starts. Patrick Corbin has also been on a roll, posting a 2.24 ERA over his last 12 starts. It was no surprise that both hurlers locked in.

Unfortunately the Snakes got the drop on Kershaw first. Eduardo Escobar timed a first pitch fastball in the top of the second, slugging his 20 home run of the season to give the Dbacks a 1-0 lead. Kershaw was great the rest of the way. Entering the fifth inning, the Escobar blast was the only hit he had allowed. But in the top of the sixth, pinch-hitter Christian Walker took Kershaw deep again. The solo shot put the Snakes up 2-0. For the record Walker has hit two home runs and both have been against Kershaw this year. Baseball is strange people.

Kershaw wound up with a strong effort, tossing seven innings and allowing just the two solo home runs on four hits and not issuing a walk. He struck out only three, but induced weak contact most of the night. On the opposite end, Corbin shut the Dodgers down. He allowed just three hits across 5 innings of work, but was not as economical as Kershaw was. Corbin walked one and struck out seven. The Dodgers had squandered early opportunities, stranding two in the bottom of the second, wasting a Turner double in the bottom of the third, and leaving runners at second and third in the bottom of the fourth.

In the bottom of the eighth with the Dodgers still trailing 2-0, the Snakes brought in Archie Bradley to hold the two-run lead. Hirano had blown the Dodgers away in the seventh inning and the Snakes were likely hoping that Bradley could do the same over the final two frames.

With one out, Justin Turner flared a single over Ketel Marte’s glove into shallow right field. Then Manny Machado engaged in an epic battle with Bradley, fouling off several pitches before drawing a walk. Great at-bat! Kemp followed that by smashing a 1-2 hanging breaking ball over the left center field wall and off the black hitter’s tarp to give the Dodgers the lead! Dodgers up 3-2! What a moonshot ladies and gentlemen!

Up next Kenley Jansen. It’s the top of the ninth and Kenley was looking for his second consecutive save. David Peralta led off and smacked a grounder into the hole between first and second, but Hernandez had other ideas. What a play! With one out, an important out (you’ll see why in a minute) Kenley strikes out Escobar for the second out. However Nick Ahmed doubles into the gap as Chris Taylor slipped and fell down to put the tying run in scoring position. Had Enrique not made that awesome play, then the Dbacks would have tied the game. With the Dodger Stadium crowd on their feet, Kenley gets Marte to pop out for the final out. Dodgers win it!!!

The victory moves the Dodgers (74-62) into a first place tie with the Snakes. Colorado is just a half game behind after they won their game in San Diego. We’ve got one more to go tomorrow. The Dodgers look to take the series and first place on Sunday afternoon. Clay Buchholtz will counter Walker Buehler in the series finale. First pitch is slated for 1:10 PM PST. Let’s do this!

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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21 thoughts on “Kemp’s Majestic Three-Run Blast Moves Dodgers Into First Place Tie

  1. I’m happy to get the win with Kemp’s blast. But there is so much more to hope for than what this game showed.

    I still feel that Kershaw is a great pitcher, but he still chokes in big games, and this was a big game where he gave up 2 HR’s on only 4 hits.

    The Dodgers still are not producing many hits and not moving runners to home plate except with the long ball. Some will feel that it doesn’t matter as long as we win. I don’t share this view. When I see guys like Turner getting on base consistently and Manny whiffing and chasing pitches that should not be chased, I wonder what is it going to take to get a simple base hit with a runner on? I see a guy like Freese, get on base twice with no one to push him in. I see a guy like Puig who doesn’t know how to run the bases and makes mistakes much too often that causes the team lost chances. Freese had to signal to him to take 3B as he was being run down from home plate! At least Freese had the presence of mind to see what was happening. He’s a smart player and should help this team with his IQ. He knows how to play the game and will make an excellent 1Bman.

    Way too many KO’s. Dbacks pitching is good, but our hitters look lost. Again, a game with 6 hits. Guys like Grandal, Dozier, and Kike, just not delivering sharp at bats. Kike did have a great defensive play, Dozier drops an easy one. Sloppy play. Dozier is becoming a guy that I am beginning to question. Can he play the kind of baseball as a hitter that I would like to see at 2B? I am really beginning to doubt it.

    Of course, we are grateful for Kemp’s blast but I would like to see this team win in other ways.

    1. Jeff
      The Dodgers win maybe the most important game of the year so far on Kemp’s blast and you want to say Kershaw choked? Gimme a break, Kershaw didn’t choke, he gave up 2 runs on 2 HRs on the 1st pitch. He did not choke. Kemp’s blast was only the 5th Dodger hit and you give all the credit those who got the singles. Yes, those singles are very important as was the walk by Manny before the HR. Why do you feel the need to give no credit to those who have been hitting HRs and not just Kemp? Why doesn’t Puig know how to run the bases you ask? Perhaps you should ask Dummy and the coaching staff? It was great Freeze directed Puig in this instance but it is the coaching staffs responsiblity to teach it. Leave it to guys like you to question this win when many contributed to it. You want wins on singles instead of just wins. This was a big win for the Dodgers, let’s treat it that way.

      1. package, it’s a game of mistakes. Mistakes the pitchers make, the fielders, and the base runners. They are the ones who are on the field, not the coaches. Good teams capitalize on mistakes. Good teams don’t win every game.

        I gave Kershaw credit and then I made a statement that can probably hold due to his history. Kershaw is giving up more HR’s than ever. BB’s too. It is generally thought that giving up BB’s and HR’s is a pitcher’s mistake. Of course, the batter has to be on the ball especially with an HR.

        The Dodgers are generally criticized on this board because they don’t hit well and don’t bring in RISP. Isn’t this something you’ve noticed? Or, do you blame everything on Dummy and his dumb cohorts? I bet you even think that Puig is under a remote control device that Dummy presses every time he makes a mistake. And, who didn’t give credit to Kemp? It was a clutch blast. Did you give credit to Kemp when he was slumping and couldn’t hit the side of a barn?

        1. Jeff
          When and even now with Kemp in slump I do see it happening but I think he has help maintaining this slump. Every time he gets a couple of hits, Dummy takes him out for a day or two. That hurts the batter as I feel he needs consistancy of ABs. Knocking in runs is what Kemp led the league in the first half. He is one of the few all stars on this Dodger team but you feel the need to run him down. By the way, you didn’t hear me run down Taylor when he strikes out 3 gazillon times or pitchers who are not playing well. And finally, Kershaw has allowed more home runs and walks than his normal self but I recognize greatness and I am happy I was able to witness some of it. You on the other hand don’t get that Kersh has gotten no run support so lets blame him, right? Get Real. I blame Dummy for the things he should be accountable for like baserunning, pitching decisions and lineups to name a few. He has not delivered at all in those areas.

  2. I’ll take it. We got a bit lucky with so many missed chances to move runners, but Kemp came through in the clutch.

    Tomorrow is another day and hopefully we build a head of steam coming off tonight’s dramatic win.

    1. YF

      Lefties have better numbers against Conroy!

      And I could see why with his slider, because Conroy couldn’t threw his slider like that, to lefties hitters.

      At the least, both Cody and Muncy should have started that game, because of what I said.

      1. You mean Corbin? Muncy has reverse splits, he hits lefty’s better than RH. Bellinger is hitting a little over .210 vs LHP. But give Corbin credit. He kept them off balance and had them swinging at the wind. The K ratio the last month or so on this team is alarming. And Machado caught the bug too. Biggest culprit is Taylor, with Grandal right behind him. Barnes is painful to watch at the plate. Nothing like the kid from last year. No confidence up there what so ever. Muncy probably did not start because he is not as good a defensive player as Freese. Bellinger did not start because of his low BA against lefty’s. Maybe they run into one, maybe not. Manager thought different.

  3. Kike owes Bellinger a beer. None of the team’s other “first basemen” could have made that play. Freese isn’t Forsythe, thank God, but neither he nor Dozier can do anything for the club that our existing players couldn’t already do. The money and players spent on them would have been better spent on a GOOD relief pitcher. And don’t get me started on $9MM for Forsythe but couldn’t afford $7MM for Morrow. FAZ is still an idiot.

  4. There is no way that Freeze should play over Cody.

    Not only because Cody is hot, but because he is to valuable to this team, up at bat, and on defense, where ever he is playing, not to mention, the bases.

    But if Freeze could play second, I would start him there, over Dozier against lefties, because Dozier has not hit lefties, since he joined this team.

    Like I told YF, the Dbacks starter, had better numbers against righties, then lefties.

    I would have had at least had Muncy and Cody, in that line up last night.

    And about Kemp, without Kemp, this team wouldn’t be in this pennant race, because he carried this team, for the entire first half of the season, by himself.

    And if they were not starting him one day, and sitting him the next day, he would probably be hitting better then he is.

    He is not use to not starting everyday!

    And these constant changes in line ups, are not good for any hitter, because hitters need consistency, to make the right adjustments, to keep up with all the adjustments, pitchers are making, on them.

    And Kemp saved the team again, last night.

    1. Quite so. I think every player hits better if he hits every day. And there is logic in replacing a hitter if he has proven he can’t hit that type of pitcher well… But only if his replacement actually hits him better. I don’t see any sense in replacing a .250 overall hitter who hits maybe .220 against lefties with another player who hits maybe .250 against lefties and .200 overall. Little or no gain there. Put your best players out there and throw the stat sheet away…
      I know there are a lot of Kike haters here, but I’d like to see the team let Dozier go this fall and give Kike a full time shot at second base. Thirty home runs from that position wouldn’t be hard to take. Get the DH, that’s Muncy, with emergency use at first, second, or third.

      1. Jonah

        If Kiké could hit like he has in August for a decent average, I have no problem with him.

        It looks to me after Kiké had that terrible July, when he only hit 149, he changed his approach a lot, and that is the reason he had such a good, August.

        I like Dozier but he is in his thirties, and the last thing this team needs, is one more, all or nothing hitter.

        But I do like Dozier much better then Forsythe though.

        Kershaw is going to have to be even more careful with his first pitches, because his fastball was only at 90 last night.

        And every hitter doesn’t want to get in a deep count with Kershaw, so he has to make sure his first pitches, are more precise.

        That is the only reason I was concerned with Kershaw, because hitters like to jump his first pitches.

        And Kenley has to be more conscious of that too, when he throws his first pitch.

        I thought the Dbacks had seen Buehler before, but in the numbers at Dodger com, non of the Dbacks have any at bats, against Buehler.

        But our hitters, have not seen much of the Dbacks starter today, because he was on the Red Sox, in the American League most of his career.

        But he has pitched really well lately, but at least he doesn’t have reverse splits like Conroy had last night, so if Roberts goes with all righties again, they should do better today.

  5. Be thankful Doc did not remove Kemp for defensive reasons. He usually takes him out after the 7th inning. But guess he knew he might need his bat in the 8th. Lack of consistent playing time in my mind is why Kemp’s slump has continued. He looks like he is starting to figure it out, and boom, back on the bench. Rest is one thing, Matt needs to be out there every day. Just because Corbin has worse splits vs left handed hitters, does not mean the manager agrees with your reasoning MJ. Stats are one thing, in game decisions and lineups are out of the fans hands. Yep, Cody is the best defender at 1st on the team, but Roberts wanted to get the new guy in the action sooner than later, and since he is a decent defender, better than Muncy at 1st, Freese got the start. No way he was playing over Turner at the hot corner, although the plan is for him to give JT a blow now and then.

    1. Michael

      I think what this line up did against Conroy last night, says it all!

      The only rightie hitter, that did much of anything, when Conroy was in that game, was Turner.

      And both Puig and Dozier have not hit lefties at all.

      Cody and especially Muncy, have far better numbers against lefties, then those two.

      I never thought for a second about taking Turner out of this line up, for anyone.

      Freeze has played a little second base this year, too.

      And almost this same rightie line up, didn’t do a thing against Conroy, when they faced him earlier in the season, this year, too.

      And it is stupid to sit Puig against righties, and play him against every leftie, because Puig hits righties much better, and by a lot!

      1. For the second time MJ, his name is Patrick Corbin, not Conroy. And although you have your facts basically right, Dozier hits lefty’s better than Bellinger, Puig, Hernandez, Pederson, Grandal, Utley, Taylor, Toles and Verdugo. That’s 9 guys and 2 from the starting lineup last night. And Dozier, despite making an error that led to nothing, is in there for his defense. He was a gold glove second baseman at Minnesota. And it is safe to say that Roberts and the coaching staff have the same stats and figures available to them that you do. By the way, Dozier is hitting .237 against lefty’s and Bellinger a paltry .224. Muncy is hitting lefty’s better than he is RH at .276. Turner is hitting .356 against lefty’s and is the only player above .300 against them. 4 players are below .200 against lefty’s. Toles, Verdugo, Utley, and Pederson. 2 are barely over at .207, Grandal and Puig. Players above .270, Machado, Kemp and Freese. With Machado and Freese in the .290’s. The entire team has not done much damage to LH pitching. But you and I both know that Roberts has been doing this all RH hitting lineup all year. And he did it last year too, except last year, it worked better. Taylor was actually hitting for average and Barnes was in the .280’s. Dodgers hitting .231 as a team against LHP. They have 51 HR’s and 169 RBI’s off of LH and have struck out a whopping 401 times in 1500 at bats.

        1. Just to show the lack of value of numbers, not to argue with you…
          .224 versus .237. That is 13 hits in a thousand at bats. Left handed pitchers only, it would take about 5 years to get that many at bats. All other points of comparison aside, there is no difference in these two hitters.

          1. In a perfect world maybe, but Bellinger is a 1st baseman and Dozier plays 2nd. So, no way Belli is taking his place, or he Belli’s and since Freese replaced Belli in the lineup, your point is moot since he is way better than Bellinger at . 291. And Dozier is better than all the 2nd basemen listed….

        2. Michael

          Like I already said, the results we have gotten with that same line up against Corbin twice this year, backs the numbers.

          Muncy is hitting for a better average against lefties, and his OPS is in the 900s against lefties too, so you can’t keep a bat like that on the bench against lefties, when this team struggles against lefties.

          And I was not necessarily talking about Cody at first, remember he plays Center too.

          Dozier is not hitting against lefties, and we have plenty of second baseman on this team.

  6. Michael

    If you haven’t figured it out by now, this team is very flexible, and a few players play more then one position, including Cody!

    I wasn’t even thinking about Cody at first, I was thinking about Muncy.

    And Kike’ could as easily played right, like he is today.

    And Cody is in center like I suggested, and Muncy is also at first, like I suggested.

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