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Matt Kemp Hits Home Runs, Play Him

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The rookie has seven homers in 45 at-bats, including a pinch-hit homer last night in San Diego. Why was it a pinch-hit homer? Because for some reason when you have six homers in 44 at-bats it's not good enough to get in the lineup if you're on the division-leading Dodgers.

Los Angeles lost last night to San Diego 5-3, mainly due to the handiwork of the Padre rookie pitcher, who only allowed three hits in his seven innings of work.

LAist knows what the Blue Crew are doing. They're trying to mimic the 2003 Florida Marlins' two-lead off hitter back-to-back speed attack when the Fish threw Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo at people and got some runs on the board immediately. And with newly-acquired shortstop Rafael Furcal hitting a measly .248, you can see why you'd want to hedge your bets and put the 39 years-young Kenny Lofton (.315) up there batting second. Someone's bound to get on and steal second with one out and the hot hitting Nomah up at the plate.

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But we think that's crazy talk. Andre Ethier needs to ride the bench instead of starting in left field where Kemp should be. Why wouldn't you want a left-handed pinch hitter to compliment the Tomato Can?

And what do the Dodgers have against home run hitters? This is a team who is tied for first in a very competitive division and their top slugger, J.D. Drew, only has nine dingers, just three homers since May 3. Thats nine shots in 207 ABs. Our boy Kemp has seven in 45 ABs. Bench Ethier.

Let Lofton lead off, let Nomar bat second, Kemp third, Drew, then Kent and Furcal. That's not a bad lineup when you have guys like Willy Aybar, who's basically a rookie hitting a steady .300 while batting seventh. In his 27 starts, Aybar has had an 0-for just twice all year. He's gotten a hit in 17 of his last 18 games. If Kent wouldn't have a tizzy, Aybar oughtta be in the #2 slot and everyone would get pushed back a notch. But you cant even pretend you can imagine Jeff Kent feeling good about hitting 7th.

Our advice is to play the kids. Allow some home runs. Make it fun again to go to Chavez Ravine. And nothing says fun more than rookie sensations hitting the crud out of the ball. Dodger Thoughts understands.