Kemp sits as Mattingly juggles OF rotation

Kemp sits as Mattingly juggles OF rotation

PHILADELPHIA -- For the second time in as many games, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was out of the starting lineup on Saturday.

The veteran has struggled defensively this season, but Kemp has produced at the plate. Since May 3, Kemp is hitting .344 (22-for-64) with eight multi-hit games. Add that to the fact he has hit .390 (23-for-59) in his career at Citizens Bank Park and his omission may appear a bit strange. But the reality is the outfield alignment is something manager Don Mattingly approaches as a day-to-day part of his job.

It certainly helps that the entire outfield is hitting right now including Andre Ethier -- Saturday's center fielder -- who hit .340 (17-for-50) with six doubles in his previous 17 games.

"Every day for me is different," said Mattingly, who fielded many of the same questions on Friday afternoon. "I liked the way we looked last night. Every day presents its own circumstances. How we match up. Who the opposing pitcher is, what guys need a day off. That's how it has to be done."

It's also part of Mattingly's job to make his players accept that they won't play every day. For now, Mattingly sees having five outfielders producing as a good problem to have, if it's a problem at all.

"It changes things when everybody is swinging the bat well," Mattingly said. "But it's a good problem.

"I think they kinda do [understand the process]. If it's three or five guys, if it's just on production, we're doing pretty good and that's how we have to look at it. I think guys do struggle with it. But that's when you have to sacrifice for the team.

"We like to defend. If you look at us, we made a decision to build around pitching. It's pitching and defense first."

Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.