Kemp to rescue

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One would hate to think how the Dodgers would have fared had Matt Kemp not been on the roster this season.

The Dodgers (41-35), who have won the National League West five consecutive seasons, were 16-26 at one point, but have gone 25-9 since in large measure because of Kemp’s all-around play.

Kemp, who is batting .318, didn’t get credit for a run batted in after hitting into a double play in the eighth inning that scored a run and made it 6-4 in an eventual 8-7 win in 11 innings over New York last Sunday at Citi Field.

Kemp’s pinch hit grand slam on Saturday helped the Dodgers to an 8-3 triumph against the Mets.

“It’s a little different. You gotta get moving around a lot earlier,’’ Kemp said to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal on the difference between starting and coming off the bench. “Starting to get the hang of it a little bit when I’m not in there in games.’’

Kemp was a longshot to make the roster, but has flourished after losing 40 pounds and rededicating himself during spring training.

Kemp, who came over to the Dodgers in a trade with Atlanta, was asked if he thought he could still contribute at age 33.

“My expectations were of course to make this team and try to help them in any way possible,’’ said Kemp. “We’ve been doing good so far. The team’s playing really well. Happy where we’re at. Just gotta keep it going. There’s a long season ahead of us.’’

With the way Kemp’s produced at the plate (13 homers and 47 RBIs) and in left field, it’s likely he’ll make the All-Star team, his first since 2012.

“That would be great,’’ said Kemp, who has knocked in 100 or more runs four times of making the All-Star team a third time. “I think my family would enjoy it.’’

On Friday, Kemp, who has smacked 272 homers with 967 RBIs, singled and scored a run as the Dodgers took out the Mets 5-2.

Kemp has hit 20 or more homers eight times with a high of 39 in 2011 when he led the NL and had 126 RBIs, which paced the NL, along with a personal-best 40 stolen bases.

For all of this, Kemp took second place in the NL Most Valuable Player voting.

Kemp, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Dodgers in 2003, was traded to San Diego where he belted 46 homers with 169 RBIs in 254 games before being traded to the Braves where he accounted for 31 homers with 103 RBIs in 171 games.

When Kemp, a two-time Silver Slugger winner and two-time Gold Glove winner, was traded to the Dodgers in 2017, it was believed he would be dealt to another team.

Kemp wasn’t and has been the Dodgers’ most-productive player. You know he’s glad and so are the Dodgers.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at yankeespride55@gmail.com.

 

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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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