Matt Kemp’s consecutive games streak ended at 399 on Monday night, and worse news followed after the game, as the 2011 NL MVP runner-up was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
It’s just Kemp’s second career trip to the DL. The first came due to a shoulder injury in April 2007.
Kemp’s absence will make Tony Gwynn Jr. the Dodgers’ primary center fielder for a couple of weeks, though manager Don Mattingly indicated that Andre Ethier would likely make a couple of starts there. Ethier would probably play center against left-handers, allowing Scott Van Slyke to get some starts over Gwynn.
Jerry Sands is the replacement for Kemp on the roster. He was off to a slow start at Triple-A Albuquerque before suddenly going 6-for-7 with three homers and two walks the last two days. He’s primarily a left fielder, but the Dodgers could use him at first base over James Loney versus southpaws.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.