The Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to their second consecutive victory on Monday behind another offensive outburst at the plate. This time, the bats broke out against the San Diego Padres’ pitching staff, reaching double-digits in the run column for the first time all season.
Matt Kemp led the way with two hits in two at-bats, including a three-run home run in the third inning to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 6-2. Despite his strong showing, however, the 33-year-old was removed in the fifth inning in favor of pinch-hitter Joc Pederson.
That led to speculation that Kemp suffered an apparent injury, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed he simply wanted to get Pederson some extra at-bats against right-handed pitching.
Kemp was understanding of Roberts’ decision and supported Pederson off the bench, via Michael Duarte of NBC LA:
“Doc explained to me what he wanted to do. He wanted to get Joc in there, get it going for him. I was there on the bench cheering for him. It is what it is.”
Of the Dodgers’ 15 games thus far, Kemp has been penciled in as the starting left fielder for 12 of them. However, he was prematurely removed from the game in half of those appearances for a defensive replacement.
With Pederson struggling in the early going, it makes sense that Roberts wanted to give him an extended look while simultaneously affording Kemp some extra rest. Pederson went 0-for-1 in his opportunity, but managed to draw two walks as well.
Despite only playing for half the game, Kemp was happy to silence the Padres fans in attendance with his three-run blast.