Still seeking power stroke, Kemp records 1,000th hit
LOS ANGELES -- It's only a matter of time before Matt Kemp's power returns, according to manager Don Mattingly.
Kemp has only one home run in 36 games. The All-Star had 12 homers in his first 36 games last season. And though it was only a single, Kemp's fifth-inning hit in Sunday's 5-3 win was the 1,000th of his career.
"I feel like he's still going to hit his homers," Mattingly said before the Dodgers' Mother's Day win. "They're going to come, but when you're forcing them, they don't seem to come. That's the one thing I don't want him to do, try to force home runs. When he's having good swings and starts to get his hits, the power is right there with it. The more good swings you have, the better chance for the power to be there."
Kemp has been having good swings lately and extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third inning on Sunday. He's batting .319 (15-for-47) during that stretch, with two doubles and four RBIs.
Still, Kemp hasn't homered since hitting a two-run shot to right on April 24 at the Mets.
"He just needs to get to the point where he's driving the ball in the gaps," Mattingly said. "Everybody asks about the home runs and power, it's more about the doubles. That's how you drive in runs. I'm not against homers, don't get me wrong. It's the doubles that end up being the ones that drive in runs."
Kemp has seven doubles and is on pace to eclipse last season's total of 22. He's second on the Dodgers with 14 RBIs.
"Home runs are just something that happens," said Kemp. "My main concern is getting on base and hitting with runners in scoring position."