kemp_swing-homer_2014-04-06

Dodgers 6, Giants 2: MATT KEMP OMG MATTY MATT KEMP YES

kemp_swing-homer_2014-04-06If not for the fact that this post is already going to have GIFs, this post would start with nothing but GIFs. (Like this! Or this!) But still, if you’re bouncing off the walls jusssssst a little bit about Matt Kemp right now, no one would blame you.

First, wonderful glorious GIFs, thanks to Chad — here’s Kemp taking Matt Cain deep in the second inning:


GIF Link

And then again in the fourth:


GIF Link

Since Kemp’s final homer of last season also came off of Cain, that’s three homers in a row for our Matt against their Matt. And since Kemp somehow managed to get through the entirety of 2013 without a single homer at home, this was his first homer at Dodger Stadium since he took out Jorge De La Rosa on Sept. 30, 2012. That was his third homer in two days, and we bring that up because tonight was the sixth time in his career that he’s hit multiple homers in a game; the last time was Sept. 29, 2012, when he hit one off Tyler Chatwood and another off Josh Roenicke.

But those are just the pure dry facts, and as great as they are, they don’t really capture what this means. I’ll be the first to tell you that placing too much importance on a single game is setting yourself up for failure, but it’s difficult not to look at those clips — and particularly the image leading this post — and not get excited. Somewhat lost in all the focus on Kemp’s destroyed ankle over the winter was that his shoulder was what was causing him so much trouble last year, and even that needed a cleanup procedure. Just look at the homers. Look at the extension. Look at the lack of concern about the shoulder. It’s been a long time since we saw that.

Again, let’s see him do it over a few weeks, or stay healthy for a few months. Let’s try to be realistic. But if you wanted to fall asleep tonight dreaming about 2011 vintage Kemp, I wouldn’t blame you. It’s been way too long.

***

greinke_2014-04-06

All I want to talk about is Kemp, and that’s all you want to talk about too. But we should probably remember that Hanley Ramirez also hit his first two homers of the year, and we should definitely remember that before Kemp went off, this post was absolutely going to be about Zack Greinke, who looked absolutely phenomenal tonight, hitting his spots and ripping through the San Francisco lineup. Greinke struck out six of the first 10 Giants he saw, and eight overall without a walk. In the first five innings, only one Giant even reached second. In the sixth, he ran into trouble by allowing solo homers to Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence, ending his day after he got the third out. But while homers aren’t great, you can really, really make them not hurt as much when they come without anyone on base.

That’s what Greinke managed to do, and he just looked outstanding — pitching in on the offensive side with a fifth-inning double, as well. That was one of three doubles the Dodgers hit tonight, along with one from Ramirez and one from Adrian Gonzalez; the total offensive output was three doubles and four homers. Zero walks, zero singles. Weird, weird night, and I mean that: the Dodgers have never done that before. Actually, just about no one has ever done that before, with the 1923 St. Louis Browns pulling off the 7 XBH / 0 BB / 0 1B trick in an April game against Detroit. And even then, they mixed in triples, so congratulations, you’ve just seen an all-time baseball first in the sense of this specific combination. This is the best sport ever.

Chris Withrow then came out for the seventh and struck out Brandon CrawfordEhire Adrianza, and Gregor Blanco. Withrow has now struck out eight of the 17 hitters he’s faced this year. Really looking forward to the riots when he inevitably ends up back in Triple-A, you guys. After J.P. Howell retired two of the three he faced in the eighth, Chris Perez came and struck out Buster Posey on a steady diet of sliders. Or so I assume. I think I blacked out just watching him jog to the mound. Kenley Jansen then came in to make Pence look silly, allow a Mike Morse single, whiff Brandon Crawford, and blow away pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez. All told, the Dodgers struck out 16 and go into tomorrow’s day off at 5-3, a half-game behind the Giants.

But hey, guys: Matt Kemp.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


376 comments
thedodgerman
thedodgerman

I think my favorite part of all this #magicalKemVpness, is this:

The Monocle
The Monocle

Any word on what happened to Greinky in the 6th?  He was visibly acting different and gave up two homers before finishing the inning.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

i cheered at kemps first dinger and giggled like a fool at the second. sooooo good. 

Jeremy_N
Jeremy_N

does anyone know what kind of pitch that 83 mph thing is that Kenley throws like once a game? it doesnt really move like a changeup, but maybe it is.

Boxxybabee
Boxxybabee

"The game the Dodgers played tonight was Guggenheim Baseball Management's platonic ideal of a  Dodger game this season. Hella home runs and dominant pitching. I might never again listen to Bethoven's 5th after tonight."

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

I was getting sick, when the ESPNouncers were splooshing all over Detroits' rotation.  I am not arguing their greatness, but with Kershaw we are just a half step behind them.  and MAYBE if Chad's arm didn't fall off again we are right there neck and neck with them.

ryus_hadouken
ryus_hadouken

Can't wait to see a AGON, Kemp, Hanley, and Puig line up late in the season. 


IT.SHALL.HAPPEN


stat:

If one isolated Kemp's 2011 year WAR stat (his best season in the majors+last time he wasn't an injured shell of himself) and add the WAR stats from last season for the rest of the bunch I named, than Dodgers would be valued at an extra 22.7 wins from these four (position) players alone. 

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@The Monocle  Probably just tired. Keep in mind that his spring was shortened by a lot because of his calf.

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

I think pitching happened, he seemed determined to get the last out

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

is a good article on melky, mike. i hope to see a similar one about kemp soon. 

MScottEiland
MScottEiland

@Catfishin While the objection as a whole is flawed, the idea that a lot of less entertaining parts of the game that waste time (repeated throws to first, repeated reliever changes in a single inning to gain minor advantages, etc.) could be done away with without wrecking the game is a a sound one.

Lobo
Lobo

@Catfishin Forget 3.5 hours, football games routinely run 4

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@Omer (beercoozie)  Question: I have not seen the first movie, but I'm familiar enough with the backstory of Cap'n A from the comic books. Do i need to see the first movie?

Lobo
Lobo

@steelmohawk If Ryu takes a step forward this year then I think we are every bit their equal in the top three.  Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu would match up great against Verlander, Scherzer, and Sanchez.  They have more depth behind those three, though if Chad comes back like his old self we would rival them there too

Omer (beercoozie)
Omer (beercoozie)

No, it works as a stand-alone movie. I thought it was cool that the super-hero stuff was kind of kept to a minimum. It was kind of like an espionage/action movie.