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Imagining the Dodgers season without Matt Kemp

July 30, 2011 |  8:33 am


You're traveling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound but … without Matt Kemp.

Oh, no, not that! Anything but that. Too frightening even for Rod Serling.

The Dodgers are ranked 27th in the majors in runs scored. Now imagine them without Kemp.

"Don’t make me think bad thoughts," said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. "We just won a game."

A game won, 9-5, over the Diamondbacks Friday, thanks in no small part to Kemp driving in five runs. He now leads the National League with 80 RBI.

It has been a completely different Kemp from 2010. This Kemp is in shape, focused at the plate and on the field. This Kemp plays with a desire too often lacking last season. This Kemp is putting up MVP numbers.

"I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what he was capable of," Mattingly said. "He came to me and said, 'Last year is not going to happen again.' "

Kemp worked hard in the offseason, lost weight and came to spring intent on putting the previous season behind him.

"It was a disappointing year on the field for me and I didn’t want it to repeat that," Kemp said. "I promised [Mattingly] I would do my best not to let that happen again."

It certainly hasn’t this season. Kemp has been a lonely weapon for the Dodgers. Not that Mattingly has considered where his team would be without him.

"I wonder more about if we had him and Dre [Andre Ethier] kinda doing their thing, Casey [Blake] is healthy, Fuky [Rafael Furcal] is healthy all year and Juan [Uribe] is having the kind of year he’s capable of," Mattingly said.


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp reacts after hitting a two-run single against Arizona on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times