Harold Reynolds said on MLB Network on this morning that Matt Kemp lost 41 pounds during the offseason. Reynolds added that Kemp was pushing to lose 50 pounds. Kemp showed up at Dodgers camp today and people are saying he’s noticeably thinner.
In other news, Matt Kemp had 40-50 pounds to lose. I mean, I’ve watched him play a lot in the past couple of years and he is a beefier dude than he was back in his MVP candidate days, but 40-50 pounds is . . . alot.
Whatever it takes, I suppose. He ended up back on the Dodgers in a mutual salary dump situation involving Adrian Gonzalez and the Braves, so it’s not like the Dodgers need to play him. Indeed, they could simply release him, pay him and be no worse off. But if Kemp is in shape and does show some improvement on defense and at the plate, it’s not crazy to think that he could stay with the club as a backup outfielder. Wouldn’t bet the farm on it or anything, but stranger things have happened.
And for what it’s worth, I’m not going to put this in the Best Shape of His Life category. A judgment call, mostly, in that it didn’t seem calculated to improve Kemp’s stock as opposed to simply being an observation. BSOHL usually comes with some sort of propaganda angle. This seems more like a “dang, Kemp’s lost some weight” thing.
UPDATE: Showing up to camp in “great shape” is not new for Kemp, our Matthew Pouliot reminds us. This story was written about Kemp allegedly being in great shape . . . a year ago.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.