|Kershaw and Kemp - Both give us reasons to watch September baseball|
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Kemp and Kershaw step a Little Bit Closer to the MVP and Cy
The thirteen run drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals was another step in the Dodgers trek to have Clayton Kershaw win the Cy Young and Matt Kemp the MVP. Both players moved a few paces forward in pursuit of those goals. I expect the Dodger P.R. department to go on a full court press to stress each player as being deserving of each award.
With 7 starts remaining, Kershaw needs 4 more wins to become the 1st Dodger pitcher to win 20 games in the past 20 years. As lame a statistic as the “win” is, I can’t help but be lured in by the magic of 20 wins. 20 game winners just don’t seem be as common these days. Kershaw as a 23 year old is creeping up the ladder as a leader in other statistical categories as well.
He now is 3rd in the ERA race.
He continues to lead the league in strikeouts, now with 207.
He is the youngest pitcher to have back to back 200 strikeout seasons since Doc Gooden in 1985.
He is tied for the league lead with 16 wins.
The Cardinals are as good as any team against Kershaw, always working him deep in counts. Today’s game was no different, with Clayton tossing 108 pitches through 6 innings. This time however, Kershaw was coasting with more run support than he ever dreamed of.
That run support started three hitters into the game when NL MVP favorite Matt Kemp blasted a 420 foot, 3 run shot, deep into the left-center field stands. It was a mammoth no-doubter and put Kemp within one homer of reaching the 30-30 plateau.
Kemp still remains in the running for the triple crown, something that hasn’t happened in the National League in since Joe Medwick did it in the year before The Wizard of Oz hit the movie theaters for the first time.
Kemp is 4th in batting averge (.321, trailing Ryan Braun who is hitting .336)
He is 3rd in RBI with 95, (Prince Fielder has 100)
He is 4th in home runs with 29, two behind league leader Albert Pujols who has 31.
Additionally Kemp ranks third in hits, stolen bases, slugging %, and fourth in OPS.
If Kemp is able to kick things up a notch in the final month, September may be a rather interesting month, despite the Dodgers being out of the pennant race.
The Kershaw and Kemp performances have made the 2011 season the strangest Dodger season I can recall ever following. Do the Dodgers dare have two players win the most prestigious awards in the league while the club is in the cellar?