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Kemp throws his way into the lineup

9/16/2012

As he watched Matt Kemp strike out in his first three at-bats Saturday night, manager Don Mattingly formed a plan for Sunday's day game. He was going to give Kemp a "mental day," a game to sit and watch and take his mind off this protracted batting slump.

Then, Kemp had one of his best at-bats in weeks, even if it wasn't obvious to the crowd. It resulted in a fairly week ground ball to the shortstop, but Kemp had some good swings against hard-throwing reliever Mitchell Boggs, timing 96-mph fastballs and fouling some balls straight back, a sign that a hitter is seeing the ball well and just missing it.

Just a few minutes later, Kemp made the throw that seemed to turn the game's momentum, a one-hop strike that nabbed Yadier Molina at third and may have sparked the Dodgers' two-run, two-out rally in the ninth. Mattingly changed his mind about Sunday.

Kemp is back in there, batting third, trying to snap out of a funk that has seen him bat .114 this month with two RBIs and 12 strikeouts.

"He's going to want to be out there," Mattingly said. "That kind of charge may be something that sparks him going forward."

Here are lineups for Sunday's game, with Stephen Fife stepping in for injured Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers facing St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright:

St. Louis

Jon Jay CF

Carlos Beltran RF

Matt Holliday LF

Allen Craig 1B

Yadier Molina C

David Freese 3B

Skip Schumaker 2B

Pete Kozma SS

Wainwright P

Dodgers

Shane Victorino LF

Andre Ethier RF

Kemp CF

Adrian Gonzalez 1B

Hanley Ramirez SS

Luis Cruz 3B

Mark Ellis 2B

Matt Treanor C

Stephen Fife P