The Dodgers came to the desert last night to do a lot of things. Chiefly, to try and finally put this National League West race to bed. But also, to check on Matt Kemp and, although no one is saying it, I’m fairly certain to activate him from the disabled list sometime today.
So what can they expect from him? He’s allegedly healthy now. No ankle issues, no shoulder issues, no hammy issues. He’s been working out at Camelback Ranch, getting upwards of 10 at-bats a day. But the last time he had an actual at-bat in an actual major league game against an actual major league pitcher was on July 21, and he has had exactly 41 such plate appearances since May 25.
Know this: if the Dodgers do activate Kemp today, he’ll likely be in the starting lineup tonight, when the team kicks of a suddenly critical four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, if for no other reason than that the Dodgers are running out of outfielders. Andre Ethier is still day-to-day with an ankle issue, Carl Crawford is still day-to-day with a back issue, and last time we checked, Yasiel Puig was still day-to-day with a hip issue, although he did pinch hit — ever so briefly, grounding out to end the game on one pitch — on Sunday against the Giants.
Can the Dodgers go deep into the playoffs without Kemp being the Kemp he used to be? Well, sure, they have gotten this far without having him at all. But let’s say Kemp does come back, does get enough at-bats to get his timing back and becomes as productive as a healthy Matt Kemp can be expected to be. If that happens, and assuming Ethier, Crawford, Puig and Hanley Ramirez — whom I also suspect will return to the lineup tonight — are all healthy and ready to go, then the Dodgers could be in pretty good shape going into October, at least from an offensive standpoint.
And that would be a nice change of pace from what we have seen lately, when they have been struggling to score a little less than three runs a game.