Frustrated Kemp: ‘I have to do a better job’

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — On April 5, 2012, with incoming owner Magic Johnson, and disgraced outgoing owner Frank McCourt sitting next to each other at Petco Park, Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer to give the Dodgers a 5-3 win over the Padres on Opening Day.
 
In May, the Guggenheim Management group officially took over, and the billion-dollar makeover of the Dodgers was underway.
 
A little over a year later, it’s still more of a project than a completed plan.
 
On Tuesday night at that same Petco Park, the Dodgers bullpen gave up its first runs of any kind this season — six of them — and it was San Diego that came away with a 9-3 win in the Padres’ home opener.

A frustrated Kemp, who doubled but is hitting just .167 with zero home runs
and two RBI, let his frustration fly during his postgame interview.
 
“We — I — have
just got to start hitting,” he said about the team’s troubles with
getting runners across the plate. “It’s not hard to figure out. I have
to do a better job, step up and do something different.
 
“I‘m
frustrated right now. We lost today. (Carl Crawford) and Mark (Ellis)
have been doing a great job at the top of the lineup, and I have to get
in that mix. I have to figure out a way to start helping my team. When I
start driving in some runs and getting on base for Adrian (Gonzalez) to drive me
in, we’re going to be a pretty dangerous team.”
 
Kemp went on to say he’s confident his production will come around, but he wants it to happen right now.
 
“I’m
going to turn it around,” Kemp said. “I just want to do it now. I’m
missing pitches that I normally hit, so I’ve got to change some things;
think about using my hands and wrists and hitting the ball to
right-center.
 
“Then I’ll be a dangerous hitter again. When I’m right, there’s not a ballpark that can hold me.”
 
The Padres (2-5) came into the game with the third-worst record in baseball, scoring just 14 runs in their six games. The second batter of the game for the Padres, Will Venable, hit a solo homer off Dodger starter Josh Beckett and third baseman Jedd Gyorko had an RBI single to stake San Diego to a 2-0 lead.
 
After a Juan Uribe two-run homer — his first of the season — in the fourth inning off Padres’ starter Clayton Richard, Beckett allowed his second solo home run of the game to .125 hitting Nick Hundley to give the Padres a 3-2 margin.

The Dodgers tied it up in the seventh when Adrian Gonzalez singled to score Carl Crawford, and with the Dodger bullpen being nearly unhittable so far this season, it looked like L.A. was poised once again for a late-inning win over the Padres to spoil their home opener.
 
Not this year.
 
San Diego got to relievers Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez, Matt Guerrier and J.P. Howell for a half-dozen runs to send the 4-3 Dodgers down to defeat.
 
NOTES — Right-hander Chad Billingsley will make his season debut for the Dodgers Wednesday night. He hasn’t made an official start since March 7 in spring training when he suffered a contusion to his right index finger.