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."
Jon Jay CF
Allen Craig 1B
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
Pete Kozma SS
Andre Ethier RF
Luis Cruz 3B
Mark Ellis 2B
Stephen Fife P