Matt Kemp will still run, but he’ll run smarter thanks to Davey Lopes

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One of the more surprising things last season was just how poorly Matt Kemp performed on the base paths. He was caught stealing 15 times on 34 attempts last season, and that’s just not getting the job done. With that success rate he’s better off not going at all.

But go he will this year, and unlike last year, he’ll have the help of Davey Lopes, who is now the Dodgers’ base running coach. The same Lopes who, as the Phillies first base coach, had that team stealing bases with a great deal of success. Of the regular starters in Philly last year, only Raul Ibanez had a bad stolen base success rate, and that was on a mere 7 attempts.  No one ran a ton there, but when they ran, they ran very efficiently.

That’s what Lopes stresses in an article by Bill Shaikin in the Los Angeles Times:

“Some guys think that, because of their speed and ability, they can steal at any time, in any situation, against any given pitcher,” Lopes said. “That’s when you get hurt. “In a sequence of seven or eight pitches, a pitcher may give you one pitch to steal. He may slow down his motion one time. If you’re not ready, you’re going to miss your opportunity.

While watching Kemp steal against the Angels a week ago Saturday, another guy in the press box asked aloud why on Earth the Phillies would let Davey Lopes go.  The consensus was that the Phillies, as a rule, don’t pay a lot for coaches, Lopes wanted too much money, so off he went.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I suspect we’ll see this year just how valuable Davey Lopes is.

Mike Trout to undergo foot surgery

Mike Trout
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Angels star outfielder Mike Trout is done for the year, per a team press release. He’ll undergo surgery to remove the Morton’s neuroma in his right foot sometime over the next week, which will likely require a recovery period that stretches beyond the two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Trout, 28, has been day-to-day with a foot injury since the first week of September. On Monday, he underwent a cryoablation procedure to treat the neuroma on his right foot, but evidently requires further treatment to resolve the issue completely. Per manager Brad Ausmus, Trout ‘tested his foot by running’ on Sunday and found he was still experiencing too much pain to play, prompting his decision to undergo season-ending surgery.

This figures to be the first major setback Trout has seen since his thumb surgery in 2017, but there’s no reason to believe his current ailment will have any substantial effect on his 2020 season. Still, it’s an unfortunate end to another monster campaign by the eight-time All-Star and AL MVP contender, who will finish his 2019 season batting .291/.438/.645 with an AL-best 45 home runs, .1083 OPS, and league-leading 8.6 fWAR.