They are who they are, right? Been around all season, through their sporting battles, all the highs and the very lows.
The Dodgers will have to make some difficult decisions in the next week, because they have several more useful bodies than they have postseason roster spots. And only seven games left to figure out the final pieces.
“Nobody's trying out,” Mattingly said. “We know our guys.”
Yeah, well, for the most part. And there’s Matt Kemp.
You say, wait, he’s Matt Kemp! Using him is the biggest no-brainer since cheese on hamburger. And you’re right, mostly. That’s assuming he at least resembles the Matt Kemp that looked as if he might be the best player in the game in 2011.
But Kemp has rarely been that player in a season filled with injury, that has seen him play in less than half its games (68).
Kemp needs this final week to prove to Manager Don Mattingly he is that incredibly productive player, the one who for the most part he hasn’t been seen since April of 2012.
He returned to the lineup Tuesday, after essentially missing more than two months, with tremendous impact, going four for four and driving in three runs. Yet since then he is two for 12 with five strikeouts.
If you assume Andre Either will be healthy for the postseason (he is available to pinch hit Sunday), then the Dodgers already have three quality, healthy outfielders. The three that helped them to that 42-8 run while Kemp was rehabbing his ankle and hamstring.
“Now’s not a time to make friends,” Mattingly said. “Everybody wants to play and somebody’s not going to be happy. But from my standpoint we’ve worked really hard for this and everybody wants to win. And you’ve got to do what’s best for the whole 25. It may not be popular, but someone’s got to play.”
Complicating the Kemp issue is that if the Dodgers open the playoffs against the Cardinals, they’ll face all right-handed starting pitching. Which means Mattingly probably will want the left-handed-hitting Carl Crawford and Ethier in the lineup. Would you sit Yasiel Puig?
This last week of games only matter for getting players healthy, and if they can finish with a better regular-season record than their playoff opponents, great.
There are no tryouts, but that doesn’t mean Kemp doesn’t have something to prove.
“I think everybody knows what’s at stake,” Mattingly said. “And I think you’re hoping that no matter who the choice is that day, that everybody’s in for the win. You hope that it’s not about them at that point, it’s hopefully about the team.
“You make a decision and sometimes it may be the wrong one. You don’t know who the right guy is. You don’t know who’s going to get hot during that stretch of time. One guy steps up, one guy doesn’t. Who knows?”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times