Entering Sunday night’s nationally broadcast game against the Giants, Matt Kemp last homered on September 24, also against the Giants. Before that? July 21 against the Nationals, the fateful day he injured his ankle on a play at home plate. Kemp, playing in just his third game of the 2014 season, only needed his first two at-bats against Giants starter Matt Cain to notch his first two dingers of the season.
In the second inning, Kemp blasted a 1-0 fastball to left center for a solo shot, putting the Dodgers up 1-0. In the fourth, Kemp drove an 0-1 fastball to right center for a two-run bomb, increasing the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0. He finished 2-for-3 on the night and the Dodgers held on for a 6-2 victory.
One game does not a comeback make, however. Nobody doubts Kemp’s ability to be productive with the bat and in the outfield; they do, however, question his ability to stay healthy over an entire season, a feat he hasn’t accomplished since losing the NL MVP race to Ryan Braun in 2011.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.