And just like that, a contender has lost one of its main ingredients.  The piece of accoutrement in this situation is personified by Matt Kemp, who can no longer be found on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ egg salad sandwich.

Injured for most of the year for various reasons – including 52 games over the last 2 months for this particular ankle injury – Matt Kemp could have provided some necessary pop and defensive help in the outfield, especially now that Andre Ethier may not play at all in the first round Divisional Series versus the Atlanta Braves.  Kemp, who is an annual 30/30 threat, should be back to full strength by Spring Training in 2014.  However, that doesn’t mean the Dodgers couldn’t use him now.  If Kemp and Ethier are both missing from the lineup, that will place a lot of pressure on Adrian Gonzalez, rookie Yasiel Puig and often-injured Hanley Ramirez to not only keep performing but also at a high level.  It’s not like Scott Van Slyke, Mark Ellis, and Michael Young are going to be providing much.

Of course, any team that has Clayton Kershaw potentially pitching twice in a 5-game series shouldn’t need much help.  Throw in Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Ricky Nolasco – and the old addage that “pitching wins you championships” – and the Dodgers shouldn’t sweat this news too much.  But, over the course of the playoffs, any additional help is nice and we know that won’t be coming from Kemp for the remainder of the season.

[YouTube, LA Times, ESPN]