Padres News: San Diego Padres Matt Kemp Gets a Much-Needed Break

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Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

When the San Diego Padres acquired Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers it was like a three-ringed circus had pulled into town. Perhaps it was the Annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings being in town that led that atmospheric change. The trade that was all but complete, wasn’t being announced after a Kemp physical.

The word spread that Matt Kemp had some abnormalities on his physical. Was it his surgically repaired shoulder or foot? No, the issue had to do with his hips where they were said to be arthritic. Arthritic hips? Really? That was news to most Dodger and Padres fans. He had never reported any issues with his hips. The trade was ultimately agreed upon and it seems like Kemp is on a mission to prove that physical was wrong.

Coming into Mother’s Day Kemp was the only San Diego Padres player who hasn’t had a day off. His season has been productive and I really have no complaints about the play from the right fielder. He has been adequate on the field and his presence in the locker room is invaluable. Looking at Kemp’s numbers this season, .277 batting average with 1 homer run and 20 RBI’s is solid but not spectacular. Kemp has surprisingly only walked five times in 130 at bats. He seems to be pressing at the plate. Perhaps in an effort to prove all his critics wrong.

The low amount of walks has given Kemp a career low on base percentage of .309. That is unacceptable from your #3 hitter and a player of Kemp’s ilk. He will surely catch fire any day now and the home runs will come. Kemp, traditionally hits his home runs in bunches and this season will be no different. Padres fans will just have to remain calm and wait for the hot streak. The man needed a day off though, as he was the last Padres to get a breather. Wil Myers and Justin Upton both had already had a day off, Kemp was due.

His health has and will be the major concern for the Oklahoma product. He has always had all the ability in the world, but recently had some health issues. From 2008-2011, Matt Kemp averaged 158 games played and even had a consecutive game streak of 399 games at one point. He wants to play everyday, and he comes to the ballpark ready to play. You really have to respect that about a player in this day and age of the game. It’s very easy to request a day off, especially against some of the better pitchers in the league. Some players have been accused of doing that in an attempt to save their batting average. Kemp will have none of that, and that’s what you want from a leader on your team. His type of fierce attitude cannot be taught, you have to be born with that competitive nature. Matt Kemp just hates to lose, and that fuels his competitive fire.

With two days off the team should start their series in Seattle with a fresh step about them. The Padres begin a two game series on Tuesday when Ian Kennedy faces James Paxton and the Seattle Mariners. Paxton is a left handed pitcher, so the Padres should score some runs for Kennedy. He just needs to limit the Mariners lineup featuring Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano. On Wednesday the Padres send ace James Shields out to the mound and the Mariners counter with yet another left-handed pitcher in Roenis Elias. I guess the Mariners haven’t noticed the Padres own lefties. The team is set up to succeed in the Veder Cup, we will see what happens.

*** The Mariners made a pitching change as Taijuan Walker is to pitch on Wednesday for Seattle instead of Roenis Elias.

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