Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Matt Kemp: Has a Superstar Ever Been This Lost at the Plate?

        By Ross Newhan

        A few observations....

        --Yes, it has only been two weeks, but I don't recall ever seeing a verifiable superstar looking as lost at the plate as Matt Kemp. The Dodger center fielder can not hit a breaking pitch, seems equally unsteady in the field, and is the equivalent of the Thin Man after his shoulder surgery, reducing his home run strength to that dreaded cliche of "warning track power."

        --Unless the Angels prove they can generate a consistent winning streak (a difficult task given their major league worst starting pitching statistics) the heat is going to build again under Mike Scioscia when, in fact, it was general manager Jerry Dipoto who put together a second tier rotation of Joe (home run) Blanton, Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas. Granted, no one could predict the injury to Jered Weaver or the inconsistency of C.J. Wilson, but the buck has to stop at the top, and that means Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno, and we're not even talking about Albert Pujols' legs holding up for another eight years and Josh Hamilton appearing incapable of regaining MVP form.

      --Midway through April you would have to say that Bryce Harper has edged past Mike Trout as the better of the two young players.

      --Anyone who says that Justin and B.J. Upton weren't problems at times in their previous clubhouses is obscuring the facts, but uniting them in the Atlanta clubhouse has been an inspired move--at least until this point--as the Braves reeled off 10 straight wins before losing to Kansas City Wednesday. Justin, in particular became the first player in the history of a club that once included Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones to hit eight home runs in 13 games. 

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