Categorized | Mark Timmons

With Matt Kemp, It’s Not a Lack of Hustle

It’s not surprising that you might think Kemp was not hustling when he injured his ankle.  A player doesn’t always run top speed or slide every time.  While it may have looked like he wasn’t hustling, I believe it is much deeper than that.  I believe it is a lack of concentration and/or focus, and that is an affliction that plagues many in his generation – the video game generation.  We hear about ADD and ADHD and all of those D’s which can be diet-related or related to any number of drugs and vaccines, but I believe that constant stimulation from i-pods, TV, video games and the like creates gaps in concentration and focus for many athletes.

A good player will always play each situation in their head before the pitch, so they know what to do if certain things happen.  When their mind drifts and they lose focus, they may jog home and fail to slide because they just weren’t prepared mentally.  It wasn’t that they were lazy and didn’t want to hustle – it’s just that their head is not always in the game.

This malady has plagued Matt Kemp his whole career, not so much lately, but it has been a problem.  Medication can fix it, but so can learning to focus.  Sometimes, it takes a professional to help you train your mind.  Either way, Matt needs help!  The Dodgers need Matt.  Know this – Kemp is great teammate, not a sulker, but the fact that he sometimes looses concentration is a concern.

My initial prediction about this team was they they would win 94-95 games, but I also said I would not be surprised if they won 81 games.  They way they have been playing, they could win 95 easily, but my concerns are still health.  Ron Cervenka of Think Blue LA, asked “IS MATT KEMP THE NEXT GRADY SIZEMORE?  It’s a fair question.  Another question is whether Carl Crawford can stay healthy for any extended time?    If Kemp and Crawford can stay healthy – the sky is the limit.  Based upon what I have seen, I don’t like the odds.

Odds and Ends

  • Who still wants to trade Puig (.364) for Stanton (.239)?  If Puig needs to go to AA, then Stanton needs to go to the 8th grade!   Yasil will learn, but he’s still hitting a lot better than Stanton.  He just needs to keep playing.  Trade him?  Put down the crack pipe.
  • The bullpen is not a problem.  I would not make a move now.
  • Smell the rare air at the top.  If you ain’t the lead dog, the view never changes!

Photo credit: drurydrama (Len Radin) / / CC BY-NC-SA


About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

39 Responses to “With Matt Kemp, It’s Not a Lack of Hustle”

  1. Badger says:

    “It wasn’t that they were lazy and didn’t want to hustle – it’s just that their head is not always in the game.”

    That’s fair. I don’t think Kemp is a lazy player. That was one incident and it was inexcusable – but it’s over. Hope everyone on the team learns from it. While on the bases, you run hard, period. You never know what is about to happen.

    It’s also a fair question to ask of Kemp is the next Sizemore. I don’t know. I do know he played well enough to get the massive contract. Is that the end of his “want to”? Could be, we just don’t know. He is set for life. Maybe that’s enough for him. Somehow I doubt that’s the case, but one never knows.

    “Who still wants to trade Puig (.364) for Stanton (.239)?” I would consider it. And those numbers you post as a reference, who believes they will look like that when the season ends? Who believes that Puig will have more home runs and RBI’s than Stanton at the end of their first five years?

  2. Mark_Timmons says:

    Puig really isn\’t a HR hitter, but he\’s a guy who will hit a lot of HR. Stanton is a HR hitter who likely won\’t have a very high BA. I think Puig is a Manny Ramirez type while Stanton is more of a Chris Davis type.

    Puig could win a batting championship(s).

  3. Bill Russell says:

    Well look at the standings now. What a ride this season has brought us.
    Puig for Stanton, Hell NO, Stanton only has one thing better then Puig and that’s more HR’s. Stanton can’t run down the balls in the outfield like Puig is doing that’s for sure. Go Blue

    • Badger says:

      Defense is WAY overrated. Unless you are a C, SS or a CFer, I would rather look at the offensive production. Stanton is listed as a RFer, but I would rather see him in LF.

      Something ain’t right with Stanton this year, I’ll give you that, but his career OPS WRISP, at age 23, is .926, and I’ll TAKE that.

      Puig has shown some signs of being a tremendous talent. He has also shown signs of being a butterhead. This trade, for so many reasons, will not happen, but if we are just talking about it, then it would at least have to be considered. Those who close their minds to possibilities might have given up on the Dodgers a month ago…..

      oh wait……

  4. Badger says:

    Anyone want to place some odds on Kemp going back on the DL? It’s gone from “Matt Kemps’ ankle is not a big deal. He walked off the field fine. I doubt he will miss a game. He also apologized for not running and admitted his guilt. Case closed.” to silence on the matter. You can’t twist an ankle at that angle and come back the next day, or even the next week in most cases. I’ll stick with my first instinct – he’s out two weeks. Why risk it? Another 15 day DL for him and after that…. day to day.

  5. AnewBlueDay says:

    Mark said: “A good player will always play each situation in their head before the pitch, so they know what to do if certain things happen. When their mind drifts and they lose focus, they may jog home and fail to slide because they just weren’t prepared mentally. It wasn’t that they were lazy and didn’t want to hustle – it’s just that their head is not always in the game.”

    Response: There are coaches at both 1st and 3rd base. In this case Wallach the 3b coach — had to have said to Matt: “The bases are loaded, on a ground ball you have to go home, get there.”

    He had to have said that or something like it — if he did not and expected Kemp to see the bases full, and on his own decided what speed he would run . . . then fire Wallach.

    I have coached a lot of 3b. In baseball and softball. It is the same, tell the runner and 3rd, and 2nd and even motion to the runner at 1st base what to do, number of outs, etc. That is why there are there.

    This is basic stuff folks. Would like to hear what Wallach said after the game.

    • Badger says:

      It’s my opinion that it’s entirely on the player Roger. You have to run the what if’s on that grounder….. what if exactly what happens happens? There you are, lollygagging on your way to home and not only are you out, costing a run, an rbi and a hit for a hustling teammate and a run for your team, rather than run through the base, which is OBVIOUSLY the play there, you make an awkward bone headed slide that will cost you and your team further damage.

      Really, REALLY stupid play on Kemp’s part.

      But it happened, and now we move on to the next stage in his career. More time rehabbing and thinking about your professional responsibilities as a $160 million team leader. This team needs you on the field. Get your head out of your ass and get back out there!

  6. Pete M. says:

    Even though in a slump, Joc Pederson for a debut or go with the vets T.G. Jr. or Dee???
    There goes Cap’s run allotment…
    Why not run Seagar up to AA for a time???

  7. Quasimodo says:

    My opinion on Kemp. Yes, there was a moment of lack of concentration and a lack of hustle. That comes from being human. Its part of the package and there’s no way around it. 100% is never given by anybody as there is ALWAYS room for improvement. 3 seconds of a lackadaisical moment by Kemp has us all giving every reason the root of is cause. Shit happens. Sadly shit happened, and the results were not great.

  8. Gonzo says:

    Kemp was just going through the motions, something players do all the time, assuming they won’t be involved in a play. It’ll happen again.

    It’s amazing how many Dodgers fans there are now where I live. Is everybody on the bus now?

  9. Bobbie17 says:

    Lots of blue hats in Vegas. No halos. ???? I don’t think the one incident with Kemp means much. The game was out of reach, and his run meant nothing. Still it was a bad decision to try to score under the circumstances that played out. Actually, the biggest fault of the play was trying to make something out of a bad situation when it was meaningless. He should have stayed out of focus and got tagged out standing up.
    The game situation did not call for all this stuff. The third base coach was out of it too. He should have reminded Kemp that the run was meaningless so don’t do anything stupid. Maybe he did, and Kemp only half listened.

  10. Gonzo says:

    Mark, any info on Alexander Guerrero? 32 mil for 7 years I hope he is really good.

  11. Idaho al says:

    Yes, I will place some odds that Kemp does not go on the DL. I looked at that play several times. I think he rolled the ankle and did not twist it. There is a difference. A rolled ankle is usually not as severe as a twisted ankle. When I was playing basketball many years ago I came down on a foot on the rebound. The Doctor told me I would of been better if I broke the ankle instead of the severe twist. I have had many rolled ankles in the past because the ankle was not very strong. In a couple of days I would be back on my feet. I have coached for many years and a rolled ankle is always better than a twisted ankle.

  12. Idaho al says:

    These players are paid millions of dollars to play baseball. I believe they should always hustle. Maybe it was a lack of focus. Then somebody should talk to him. Either always runs everything out as hard as he can go. I love to see that. These players are professionals, they should know better. It is over, but I still do not like it. It is not the third base coach to tell him. I am sure the coach reminded him the bases were loaded and he had to go anything that was hit. Kemp’s fault and he admitted it.

  13. Bobby says:

    Damn, some fantastic opinions on this thread by people who really know the game.

    Good article Mark; I agree with it all.

    I don’t know if Joc Pederson would come up, as SVS is really our go to guy right now to call up, and he deserves that callup.

    This first place thing is kinda nice; I agree.

    And B17, I just got back from Vegas yesterday myself; you are right. I saw tons of Dodger gear there as well!!

  14. Bobby says:

    To continue with Gonzo’s post from above regarding our new signing, here is the article:

    Report: Dodgers Sign Cuban Shortstop Alexander Guerrero to 7/$32m Deal
    Posted on July 23, 2013 by Mike Petriello Leave a reply
    I figured no one really wanted to talk about Ryan Braun and all the problems that he brings, but I didn’t think something would happen to push that off the front page so quickly, either. The Dodgers have done so by giving big money to a Cuban, just not the one you think: according to reports, they’ve signed 26-year-old infielder Alexander Guerrero to a seven-year, $32m contract. Guerrero defected in January, and from what I can understand, he hasn’t actually played regularly since 2011 — I’m guessing the whole “lacked the motivation to play” business in those links is basically code for “was caught trying to defect.”

    Due to his age and experience, he does not count against the limited international spending cap, and so the Dodgers (and every other team) were able to bid without restrictions. Unlike Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, there has not been a ton of talk around Guerrero, so it’s difficult to say we know a lot about him.

    Chad Moriyama dug up some decent stats and a video:

    Guerrero has been one of Cuba’s best players the last few years, hitting .338/.408/.641 in 2009, .343/.414/.583 in 2010 and .310/.400/.599 in 2011. Between the three seasons, he delivered 60 homers in 886 at-bats. One imagines that if the reports are true and he eventually becomes a free agent, he could take over as a starting shortstop or second baseman for an MLB team in short order.

    So far, so good, right? Since he hasn’t played competitively in so long, we have no idea what sort of shape he’s in, and therefore shouldn’t really expect that he’s going to make much of an impact on the current season. (Though one unconfirmed report indicates otherwise.) But you expect that a guy his age with this kind of investment isn’t going to be down for long, assuming he’s what the team apparently thinks he is, and Roberto Baly is reporting that he’ll go to Double-A or Triple-A to play second base.

    If so, that’s fantastic. Mark Ellis won’t be back next year, there’s no one currently in the system ready to replace him — no, not Dee Gordon — and we’ve long been terrified of being the team that gives Robinson Cano $200 million this winter. Again, we have no idea if Guerrero is worth it — for every Yasiel Puig & Yu Darvish, there’s Andy Morales & Kei Igawa — but Logan White has proven himself to be pretty adept at these moves in the past.

    If the Dodgers just solved their second base hole (and I cannot overemphasize the “if” there enough), they’ve done it for something like $5 million per year, while Cano is likely to make that in two months. (We can talk at some other point about whether the right play is to have Guerrero play shortstop with Hanley Ramirez at third; we just don’t know enough yet.)

    When the new ownership came aboard, Stan Kasten made it clear that a huge priority was going to be in rebuilding the international operations. So far, he’s backing that talk up with action, and it’s a phenomenal way to both flex that financial muscle and do so in a cost-effective way. Hopefully Guerrero’s worth it, but for now, with the limited information we have, this is nothing but good news.

  15. Quasimodo says:

    Good read, Bobby.

  16. my boy blue says:

    As far as Stanton is concerned, it is not a lack of talent that plagues the young man, but a product of the team he is on. He has no protection in that lineup. Pitchers will not give in with pitches. I am not advocating for a trade, but if he was on this team his numbers would be up there with the National leagues best.

  17. Quasimodo says:

    I like Mitch Williams and all, but I’d like to throw back at him some of the stupid things he’s said in the past. Things like when ‘The Freak’ got his haircut told him that Lincecum was going to be great because of it. Also his talk about ‘chemistry’ and the giants. Just now he was talking on MLBN about Dodgers chemistry.`Well short hair worked wonders on Timmy’s game last night, huh?

  18. AnewBlueDay says:

    So the Dodgers are broke. Out of the Cuban pitcher bidding. They say. Many pitchers come back next season who have been hurt, injured, or just afraid.

  19. Gonzo says:

    So does anybody have a player that Guerrero compares to? From what I have read he has a good glove, bat and sneaky power.

  20. Quasimodo says:

    Its my thinking that Kemp will go on the 15 day DL today and wouldn’t be shocked if that were to be extended. If its not extended he’ll still be sitting out 3 days after being activated. He’s wearing a boot on his left foot just like the one I’m wearing on my right foot. I’ve been wearing it for 6 weeks and will for next 6. The problem with my foot wasn’t addressed soon enough and has calcified. I was told had it been addressed immediately I could lose the boot after 18 days to 3 weeks.

  21. Bobby says:

    Jose Dominguez sent back to the minors, and Carlos Marmol called up.

  22. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Did the Dodgers actually sign Guerrero? I haven’t seen any official Dodger announcements/press releases, so maybe it’s not a done deal, and he’s still in play as reported in this from MLB Trade Rumors.

    “The bullpen is not a problem. I would not make a move now.” Maybe you were just thinking about not making a trade move. Whatever the case, they did make a move, replacing Dominguez with Marmol. Dominguez still needs to incorporate his off-speed stuff more often. If he does, he could be important in the future. As for Marmol, if he finds his old self he’ll be a great addition. If not, well that’s another matter.

    I don’t know what Matt Kemp’s problems are, but not hustling is definitely not one of them. As for the other stuff, I don’t know enough to offer an opinion. As for his current injury, he should probably go on the DL if only for precautionary reasons. Keeping him around now means playing a man short. Not a good idea.

  23. Mark_Timmons says:

    I know a thing or three about ankles.

    Story 1: When I was 29 and could prove the theory that White Men Can’t Jump was false, I severely sprained my left ankle – actually I tore the ligaments severely. I have a pretty high pain threshold, but was literally paralyzed with pain for about 20 minutes. I simply couldn’t move. They offered surgery and I declined – I couldn’t afford the time off. It healed, but I was never able to dunk a basketball again. Sure, some of it might have been mental, but I lost a good 10 inches on my vertical jump. It took over 5 months before I could walk without a limp. Pain Level – 9.9

    Story 2: When I was 42, I broke my right ankle – not displaced – so it was put in a walking boot. I had to fly to Dallas the next day and that boot is somewhere in a trash can in the airport. I could feel the fracture move, but it didn’t hurt anything like the torn ligaments. Pain Level 2.1

    You just never know about ankles.

    The ligament tear cost me my NBA career… that and the fact I had no talent!


  24. Mark_Timmons says:

    The Guerrero deal is not final. It probably will be, but someone jumped the gun. This may cost someone their job. The Dodgers are looking for the leak!

  25. Davey Lopes says:

    LIke I said earlier, ankle injuries keep giving and giving and giving. Just one little misstep and you will be limping all over again. Yet another injury that Kemp is going to have to deal with for the balance of the season.

  26. Bball says:

    So…. When does fine come back?

  27. Mark_Timmons says:

    Probably next week, unless there is another injury sooner..

  28. Bball says:

    Yet another replayable play

  29. Badger says:

    Bad Cap and clearly Marmol ain’t ready.
    Interesting takes in here today. The point about Stanton in that lineup is a good one.

    I have rolled my ankle a few times too (never like that) and I was out of most activity for over a week. If Kemp is back before two weeks I would be very surprised.

    Mark if I had your size and my speed and quickness I would have played D1 football and likely gone pro.

  30. Mark_Timmons says:


    The only sport I could have played if football – Quarterback. I had a compact short motion and could throw a football accurately over 80 yards. However, the school I attended did not have a football team. I was always good at every other sport, but not THAT good that I could have played any higher up. I always wonder “what if?”

    We will never know. ;)

  31. my boy blue says:

    This team has fight!! I like the way Puig worked that last AB. AGon what a professional.

  32. the truth hurts says:

    Speechless….this team has surely found some chemistry.

  33. jerry says:

    so you guy still want to get rid of ethier..


  1. [...] With Matt Kemp, It’s Not a Lack of Hustle It’s not surprising that you might think Kemp was not hustling when he injured his ankle.  A player doesn’t always run top speed or slide every time.  While it may have looked like he wasn’t hustling, I believe it is much deeper than that.  I believe it is a lack of concentration and/or focus, and [...]… [...]

  2. [...] for the fifth consecutive game, finishing the sixth inning in his sixth start. more… With Matt Kemp, It’s Not a Lack of Hustle – 07/23/2013 It’s not surprising that you might think Kemp was not [...]

  3. [...] The rest of the article can be found here: – Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Vin Scully, Andre Ethier and the Dodgers [...]

Leave a Reply

Mandatory Daily Dodger Reading