Posted April 16, 2012 on
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The Los Angeles Dodgers' third-place finish in the NL West likely played a part in Matt Kemp getting beaten out for the 2011 MVP by Ryan Braun, who led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades.
If there was early voting for the award in 2012, Kemp would be the runaway winner after helping Los Angeles get off to its best start in 31 years.
Kemp and the major league-leading Dodgers look to open 10-1 for the first time since moving to Los Angeles, while the host Brewers try to snap a four-game losing streak Tuesday night.
Kemp finished second to Braun for MVP after hitting .324 with league highs of 39 homers and 126 RBIs, along with a career-best 40 steals. Braun got 56 more votes following a season in which he finished second in the NL in batting at .332 and had 33 homers with 111 RBIs. He added a career-high 33 steals.
The difference may have been Braun helping Milwaukee to a franchise-record 96 wins and the NL Central title, while the Dodgers finished 11 1/2 games back. In the early going this season, though, there's no question who the top player in the NL - and baseball - has been.
Kemp is batting .487 with six homers and 16 RBIs, and he homered for the fourth time in three games in a 5-4 victory over San Diego on Sunday.
The Dodgers completed a 6-0 homestand and are 9-1 for the first time since 1981, when they won the World Series.
"He's not going to be able to keep up this pace, I'll say that. But it's legit," manager Don Mattingly told the team's official website. "You don't just do some of the things that he's been doing."
No Dodgers team has opened 10-1 since the Brooklyn Dodgers began 11-1 in 1955 - when the franchise won its first World Series title.
Giving the ball to Chad Billingsley (2-0, 0.63 ERA) could help Los Angeles move closer to that mark. The right-hander has 15 strikeouts and one walk in two starts.
Billingsley gave up one run in six innings of a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, throwing only 77 pitches.
"He's pounding the strike zone and making guys miss," said right fielder Andre Ethier, among the major league leaders with 15 RBIs.
Billingsley will face a Brewers team that batted .215 and posted a 7.31 ERA while losing four straight to end its seven-game trip.
"If we play like this we're going to get beat everywhere," manager Ron Roenicke said following a 7-4 defeat to Atlanta on Sunday. "We can't continue like this.''
The Brewers (4-6) will look to avoid their first five-game skid since Sept. 6-10 with Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 5.91) on the hill. Milwaukee is winless since the right-hander pitched seven innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 road victory over Chicago on Wednesday.
Gallardo is 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles. It's his highest ERA against any team he's faced more than once.
Kemp, 4 for 12 with a double off Gallardo, didn't drive in a run as the Dodgers lost three of four in their last visit to Miller Park from Aug. 15-18.
Braun, batting .343 this season, went 8 for 22 with one homer as Milwaukee took four of six from Los Angeles in 2011.
BEST OF MAXIM
MILWAUKEE - When Matt Kemp talks about his sizzling start at the plate this year, he points to the two teammates batting behind him in the Dodgers lineup: Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera.
Before the Dodgers' game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on Tuesday night, Kemp was asked whether pitchers can still throw around him, giving Kemp little to hit and possibly walking...
MILWAUKEE Last season, there was little arguing whether Milwaukee's Ryan Braun or Los Angeles' Matt Kemp deserved NL MVP consideration. Kemp led the NL in home runs (39) and RBI (126) and added 40 stolen bases, while Braun finished just short of him in all three categories and led the league in slugging percentage and OPS.
But with the direction Braun's Brewers were...
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The Dodgers are currently the talk of baseball thanks to their 9-1 start. Now they get a chance to walk the talk.
Former Dodger greats Tommie Davis (left) and pitcher Don Newcombe were on hand April 15th to take part in baseball's salute to Jackie Robinson. (LA Times)
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Matt Kemp is on fire this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping the team to a 9-1 start and putting him self ahead of his 2011 pace.
Kemp went 3-for-4 with a home run and a RBI in Sundays 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres.
Kemp leads the National League with a .487 batting average and leads the league with 6 home runs and 16 driven in runs.
After last year's campaign that saw Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers finish just one homer shy of a 40/40 season, Kemp has gotten off to a flying start this year with six homers in his first 11 games. This, of course, is leading to various reporters from major outlets pondering the possibility of Kemp having a 50/50 year. To those reporters, I say...are you kidding me?
Matt Kemp has shown no signs of slowing down from his terrific 2011 season when he hit .324 with 39 homers and 126 RBI. Armed with a .417 batting average coming into last weekend’s games, he powered the Dodgers to a 6-1 victory on Saturday. Kemp’s endeavors are a bit newsworthy considering the wasted big-money deals that litters the Dodgers’ recent history. Look no farther...
This just in...Matt Kemp is a friggin' beast.He should have won the NL MVP last season and he's on his way to making a case for himself again this season. Kemp has hit 6 homeruns 10 through games. That's more than the Phillies, Pirates, Nationals, and Cubs. It ties him with the Reds and Padres. That means he has as many or more homeruns than 1/5 of all MLB teams. Wow...
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer At 9-1, the Los Angeles Dodgers own the top record in the majors and are off to their best start since 1981, when they won their last World Series title. With new ownership and Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier piling up hits, the bad feelings from the Frank McCourt era are beginning to fade.
The Dodgers are off to a tremendous start. Currently at 9-and-1 and with the best record in baseball, media outlets across the land are starting to dub them as the comeback team of year. Matt Kemp, who already put up incredible numbers last season, has shown no signs of coming back down to earth. Kemp has six home runs on the year -- all of which have come against the San Diego...
The Dodgers are the talk of baseball with their 9-1 start, the best record in Major League Baseball and their best start in 31 seasons.
The Dodgers beat up on the Padres (6-1 in seven games) and Pirates (three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium), two teams that combined for only a .441 winning percentage last season.
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The season is just a few weeks in but there are already some trends and numbers that should make people take notice.
1. Matt Kemp
My pre-season MVP and 2nd place finisher last year is on fire. He is batting .487 with 6 hr and 16 RBI’s through the Dodgers first ten games. In comparison, the entire Pittsburgh Pirate team has 16 RBI’s and only 4 hrs. Kemp’s fast start has LA...
Ted Lilly pitched seven innings of two-hit ball in his season debut after coming off the disabled list, Matt Kemp hit a pair of two-run homers and Andre Ethier also went deep, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
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