Daily Distractions: Charting Matt Kemp’s struggles.

ESPN Stats and Info gives Matt Kemp the Hot Zone treatment on its blog today.

Author Mark Simon highlights several things that have ailed Kemp this season; here’s one more: Kemp is getting behind in the count a lot and not making pitchers pay when he gets ahead. According to ESPN’s chart, Kemp is 10 for 37 (.270) when he’s behind in the count and 4 for 17 (.235) when he’s ahead.

Here is ESPN’s “heat map” for balls in play/strikeouts when Kemp was ahead in the count last season:

Matt  Kemp 2012 heat map

That’s how you make a pitcher pay.

Onto some bullet points:

• The Dodgers announced three international signings Sunday, all from the Dominican Republic: RHP Osiris Ramirez from Puerto Plata; RHP Angel German from Bani; and third baseman Jimy Perez, also from Bani.

Fernando Nieve, who made 24 starts for Triple-A Albuquerque last year, is back on the market after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians.

• Happy 25th birthday, Dee Gordon.

• Is it time to give up on Luis Cruz?

Andre Ethier did a very short interview with GQ.

• Al Michaels was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Santa Monica on Friday. Related: Game 6 of the 1985 World Series is on Youtube in its entirety.

• Not a baseball story, but if you’ve ever wanted to strangle a broadcaster for being a homer, you will appreciate this: An NHL general manager got the broadcaster of an opposing team to apologize for comparing one of his players to Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert Kennedy in 1968.

• What were Justin Sellers and Cruz pantomiming in the Dodgers’ dugout yesterday? (Insert comment about their batting averages here.)

• Don’t blame Don Mattingly for the Dodgers’ struggles, writes Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com.

• Ghostly International is one of my favorite Indie record labels. It’s not for everyone, but if you dig instrumental hip hop, here’s a representative sample of their work, Pistol Whip by Lord Raja:

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