Tonight’s lineup: Matt Kemp leading off

His .331 OBP and his 81 strikeouts in 306 plate appearances wouldn’t seem to make him a very likely candidate, but here is Torre’s thinking: As important as it is for a leadoff man to reach base, it is equally important to the opposing pitcher to keep him OFF base. The last thing they want to do is walk the leadoff man. So Wandy Rodriguez figures to be throwing a lot of strikes, and that is when Kemp becomes dangerous. Most of his strikeouts seem to come on pitches out of the zone. And yes, Torre said he will make a point of pointing this out to Kemp before the game. Kemp said his only previous experience leading off came in the Arizona Fall League, where he played in 2005 and hit a walkoff homer to win the championship.

CF Kemp
LF Young
C Martin
2B Kent
1B Loney
3B LaRoche
RF Ethier
SS Maza
LH Kershaw

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  • El Lay Dave

    A .331 OBP is oft-praised Juan Pierre’s BEST from 2005 to the present, with a .327 this season. That didn’t stop Torre from batting him leadoff either. And Kemp is better than what the division leading DBacks are putting out there.

    Kemp 2008: .284 .331 .436 .767
    Chris Young 2008: .231 .301 .426 .727

  • El Lay Dave

    P.S. If it were me, I’d probably Russell Martin leadoff.

  • KevinS

    Is it really that far out of an idea to have Delwyn Young try his hand at leading off?? He’s one of the more patient hitters the Dodgers have on the team and he’s not the slowest either. No, he’s not Furcal/Pierre fast, but he’d manage to steal his share and would hit for power too.

  • Yeager

    How ’bout a moratorium on Juan Pierre bashing at least while he’s on the Disabled List?

  • El Lay Dave

    It’s not JP-bashing to point out that criticizing Kemp’s OBP for a leadoff man (“[Kemp’s] .331 OBP … wouldn’t seem to make him a very likely candidate”) *on this team* is little bit misplaced.

    FWIW, I didn’t like seeing Pierre get hurt.

  • Andrea

    Lately, Kemp has been getting his hits with the bases empty but striking out or flying out with RISP. With that, and his speed, why not try him at lead off?

  • para’s

    Way to go El Lay … Kemp’s been excellent at leadoff tonight.

  • The_Great_Arcade_Fire

    Seriously Tony, why bring up OBP as an issue for when Kemp our praised lead off hitter Pierre has a lower OBP.

  • The_Great_Arcade_Fire

    …for Kemp when…*

  • Tony Jackson

    To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about Pierre or his OBP. What I was thinking was that Kemp isn’t a prototype leadoff hitter, that Torre stuck him there because he had no one else to stick there, and I was looking for some numbers to illustrate that point. The .331 OBP seemed to do that. The strikeouts DEFINITELY seemed to do it. But he had a good night tonight. Went 1 for 4 with a couple of walks, one of them intentional. The unintentional one was big because it helped set up Martin’s RBI single later in the inning.

  • The_Great_Arcade_Fire

    I don’t think the strike outs have anything to do with it. Sure Kemp strikes out a lot but he gets on at a better clip then Pierre. Since players usually don’t get on base when they strike out OBP takes that into account. So since Pierre doesn’t strike out and he doesn’t walk he puts the ball in play a lot more then say Kemp BUT he doesn’t get on base as much. So,that means a lot of those balls that are hit into play are still outs. So Pierre’s lack of strike outs are made up in his lack of hits. He doesn’t strike out but he is still making those outs. Hence the reason Pierre is usually in the top 5 of outs created in a season.

  • The_Great_Arcade_Fire

    I shouldn’t say lack of hits. It is more of a excess of balls put into play. He hits the ball almost too much. Juan Pierre is probably the only guy who can have 200 hits in a season and not hit over .280 in that season. Mostly because he SWINGS AT EVERYTHING!