I must confess that I have been on Matt Kemp, possibly even calling him a choker, but in a way, that is a compliment because we expect so much out of Matt. The fact is, in August and September, after all the trades were made, the team only performed when Matt Kemp carried them.
The Dodgers may be Matt Kemps’ team, but he needs help. The problem is that when Matt didn’t do it, nobody did it, for the most part. Case-in-point: last night loss to SF. Matt Was 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and the Dodgers lost. The Dodgers simply do not have a winning culture. The Dodgers do not have the culture that when one player fails to drive in a run, the next guy does it. The Dodgers don’t have a culture of no excuses.
What does culture have to do with it? ONLY EVERYTHING. Take the Cardinals as an example. After winning the Wold Series in 2011, they lost their manager (who is a Hall-of-Fame lock) and their All-Star 1B (another Hall-of-Fame Lock). They got Adam Wainwright (who was arguably their Ace) back, but he never returned to his 2009 and 2010 form (he missed all of 2011 and they still won the Series without him). Their #2 (Carpenter) started just 3 games this season while being injured most of the season. So, Kyle Loshe became their Ace and guys like Jake Westbrrok, Lance Lynn and Janie Garcia all did their share. They had a new manager and yet they made the playoffs. Why? A winning culture.\
They lost Lance Berkman who had a monster year in 2011 and they didn’t miss a beat. Why? A winning culture. They lost Rafael Furcal and still made the playoffs – you know why.
After losing their All-Star 1B, his replacement (Craig) became an absolute monster with RISP. Carlos Beltran fit into that winning culture along with Molina, Holliday, Freeze, Jay, Schumaker, Carpenter and others. A winning culture is contagious. The Cards have a winning culture. The Dodgers don’t. It seems that if Matt Kemp can’t get it done, no one can.
Addre Ethier, Adrian Gonzales and Hanley Ramirez should all be capable, but it doesn’t seem to fall that way.
Money does not buy a winning culture and therein is my greatest fear as a Dodger fan.