Monday, April 16, 2012
Kemp, Player of the Week Again
For the second consecutive week, Matt Kemp today was named National League Player of the Week. It is the first time in the history of the award that the same player has won it the first two weeks of the season. Going back to last season, Matt has actually won the POTW award now three consecutive weeks, (he won it that last week of 2011). It is the first time in the history of the award that it has been won for three consecutive weeks. I say, “Go for four Matt!”
What Kemp has done the first 10 games this year is quite historical. I can't help comparing it to other Dodger Stars of the past. Many of us remember an amazing April that Ron Cey had in 1977. Setting what was then a ML Record with 29 RBI in that month. The Dodgers finished that month with a 17-3 record during Tommy Lasorda's first year as manager. Then there was June, 1985, when Pedro Guerrero tied both Babe Ruth and Roger Maris for the most home runs in a month (15) during an amazing run. He also tied a team record by reaching base 11 consecutive at bats.
Kemp is having that type of start. He steps to the plate and everyone stops what they are doing to see if he'll hit one out. He should be the most feared hitter in baseball. With Ethier and Rivera hot behind him, opponents are forced with the option of picking their poison. I'm surprised to see that they continue to pitch to him.
Another thing of note. The Pirates employed an infield shift against Kemp, placing three of their infielders to the left side of second base. The Padres didn't bother with that tactic playing Kemp in a more conventional defensive alignment. It'll be interesting to see what the rest of the league does defensively against Kemp.
So let's enjoy this while it's happening. Kemp is on fire, the team is winning everything. The ball is bouncing our way. The calls are going our way. It won't always be this way. This is a rarity of epic proportions. It has made the baseball season of 2012 even more special than normal. It won't continue...but we can always hope.
Let me put it this way. If the Dodgers return from this road trip at 4-2, we should all be doing handstands and cartwheels. That would be considered to be a remarkable start. This start of the year streak won't reach the proportions of the '55 Dodgers (22-2), the '78 Dodgers (17-3) and the '84 Detroit Tigers (35-5). I would love to see that, but this team is not that good.
To put this start in perspective. If the Dodgers play .500 ball the rest of the year, they will finish with an 85-77record. That might be enough for a wild card.
In other news today, the rival San Francisco Giants announced that they have signed starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner to a contract through the 2017 season (with an option through the 2018 season). As much as I can’t stand the Giants, I must say this is a wise move for that franchise that now has it’s top three starters inked through 2014. We can all just hope they continue to flounder offensively because if they do get a semi respectable offense, they will be a team to constantly reckon with.
Reports are that he was signed for $35-40 million for 5 years. Now the Dodgers can gauge a little bit more what Kershaw will cost them. Wait, let me take that back, now It’ll be easier to gauge what they should have signed him for two years ago, before he won the Cy Young award. If Clayton does what I think he’ll do this year, the Dodgers will really have to be open to an 8 year deal in the neighborhood of $180-200 million.