Kemp throws his way into the lineup

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
11:50
AM PT
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

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.310 12 54 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 15
RBIA. Gonzalez 68
RD. Gordon 58
OPSY. Puig .929
WZ. Greinke 12
ERAC. Kershaw 1.76
SOC. Kershaw 141