Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Clutch Win in Extras, Magic Number at 5... Hanley Hobbling

There’s not a lot of things sweeter than a clutch win over the Giants.  Yasiel Puig worked his magic again with a key double.  Adrian Gonzalez won it with a walk off hit.  Zack Greinke and most of the Dodger bullpen did their job.  And what about Brian Wilson picking up the win against his former team?  It was a team effort as games against Matt Cain never seem to be easy for the Dodgers.  The magic number is reduced to five and the Dodgers still have a chance to clinch the division during this home stand.

For the second time this week we’ve seen Mattingly take a page out of the Cincinnati Reds playbook and utilize Dee Gordon successfully as a pinch runner who steals a bag and gets himself into scoring position.  It's a real nice weapon  to have.  Will this be an option he’ll want in post-season play?  If so, someone like Jerry Hairston will have to be left off the roster.  There are other things of concern at present though, and the first one is Hanley Ramirez.
(photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP)
When Ramirez went down the other day after fouling a ball off his left ankle, I got the impression that it was an injury that might be something that hobbles him for a little while.  After watching him in action for two games since, it’s fairly apparent that he is not close to 100 %.  Now with a report that he aggravated his hamstring, it’s probably time to shut him down.  Hamstrings need time off to heal.

The Dodgers may  need to clinch this thing without Ramirez and as soon as possible, because you know that Ramirez will do everything in his power to convince his manager that he’s ready to go, even if he isn’t healthy.  Hanley really needs to sit and let that ankle and hamstring get better.  I find it hard to believe he'll do so voluntarily when the division title is so close.

There are probably those that believe that the Dodgers need to go hard with all their horses until they clinch, but that's a foolish tactic to take when you have a 12 game lead with 16 games to play.  It's safe to sit these guys.  We'd all love to see them clinch at home, but a common sense approach needs to be taken, and that is to heal this team up as much as possible for the playoffs.

It’s the time of year where everyone is banged up to some extent.  AJ Ellis with his various ailments from all the foul tips he has taken on the shoulder, thigh or bare wrists and hands.  Yasiel Puig who hasn’t met an outfield wall in the league up close and personal.  Adrian Gonzalez, who has been overworked all season.  All of this guys need to sit and heal a bit.

At the same time, there’s Matt Kemp, struggling to get back on the playing field.  He needs the playing time. He needs plate appearances.  The season is running out for him, and he knows it.  The final 12 or 13 games can serve as a test to see if he is well enough to make the post season roster.

(Photo by Luis Sinco/LA Times)

Kemp’s leadership will be tested in these next few weeks.  If he isn’t sound, will he do the right thing for the team and step down, allowing another player on the roster?  Will his pride allow him to do that, which is make an honest self-assessment of his worth to the team right now?

We will see the true character of Matt Kemp in these next few weeks.   Either that of a player that worked his tail off to get back in the lineup, or perhaps of the unselfish team guy that steps down and allows a more sound player to be on the post-season roster.  I have been quite vocal believing that Kemp needs to come back, but as time creeps into mid-September now, I’m starting to question if there is enough time for him to make a comeback.

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