Looks like close but no cigar for Kemp’s next Player of the Week award

Matt Kemp follows through Saturday on his ninth home run of the season. © Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012

Dodgers at Astros, 11:05 a.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Andre Ethier, RF
Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Matt Treanor, C
Chad Billingsley, P

Major League Baseball will look everywhere for someone who can be the next National League Player of the Week instead of Matt Kemp, who has won the award the last three times it has been given out. But he hasn’t made it easy.

Kemp has a 1.524 OPS for the week going into the final eligible day today. That’s second among NL regulars, trailing only Freddie Freeman of Atlanta (1.621). And there’s no other batsman that’s really in the running unless someone goes nuts at the plate today.

Among pitchers, Cliff Lee stands an excellent shot at the award with his 10 innings of shutout work Wednesday (followed by a trip to the disabled list with an oblique injury), while Cory Luebke has gone 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA: seven innings of one-run ball in Colorado followed by eight shutout innings Saturday against the Phillies.

My guess is that Luebke gets the nod, but you just can’t say enough about what Kemp has done.

* * *

Congrats to James Loney for hitting his first home run of the season. “Loney began this season 0-for-16 and 1-for-20 but in his last eight games has hit .320/.433/.600, including four doubles and a home run in his last seven starts,” writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.

And congrats as well to Dee Gordon, who went 3 for 4 Saturday and celebrates his 24th birthday today.

* * *

  • New Dodger owner Mark Walter is profiled by Kim Christensen of the Times.
  • Under new management, the Dodgers can learn from the Phillies, writes Bill Baer at ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot.
  • High school coaches still ignore pitch counts at the risk of their young players, writes Chad Moriyama.
  • Roxanna Green, Christina-Taylor Green’s mother, will sign copies of her book at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
  • “You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Seen Dee & Andre’s Pre-Game Boogie” – who can argue with the Sons of Steve Garvey?
  • Anonymous

    Loney had his front leg straight on his home run swing and bent on his fly out with the bases loaded.  It would be interesting to see what would happen if he would duplicate the swing he used for his home run more often.

  • Anonymous

    New ownership should consider that Uribe needs a fresh start in a new town. Even if he started to hit now, he’d never be accepted here…

    • http://dxmachina.livejournal.com/ DXMachina

      I’d be perfectly happy to accept Uribe if he starts hitting, but I don’t see that happening. Besides, what other team is desperate enough to want him?

    • Anonymous

      juan uribe is beginning to look a lot like jason schmidt with a bat.  and a belly. and a not-so-bright look on his face. 

      it’s enough to put you off free agents from SF forever.

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        To be fair, Uribe has already contributed more than Schmidt, just by playing in quite a few games and at least playing good defense. Injuries, too, have been his bugaboo as much as anything, though (in addition to his always-poor OBP). 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

       he seems like one of those guys that all of a sudden in the playoffs he is doing well and you think hey i thought he was on our team. I say keep him and make him earn a spot back if he cares. not just dump him, pay for his salary and give him a fresh chance with another team. if someone wants to trade for him or pay for all of him then that’s different (and won’t happen)…

  • http://www.mythphile.com/ Blue-eyed Gal (Ellen)

    Forgive me if it’s been mentioned, but at the moment, Javy Guerra is leading the majors in saves.

    Just to poke at those who were giving him a hard time for a blown save.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    In that Kemp pic above, kudos to the woman in black shirt next to the kid for being the first to gauge that the ball was going out of the park. And maybe the walrus-stached guy below her. 

    Hope this game isn’t as close as most of the others have been this week (preferably in our favor) and maybe, just maybe, Donnie will let Elbert get some work in. 

  • overkill94

    Not sure if it was mentioned yesterday, but our own Eric Stephen got a shout-out from the radio broadcast about his research concerning Matt Kemp’s last 162 games

    • Anonymous

      Link to the research?

  • Anonymous

    Happy Sunday everybody….wherever you may be :)

    Just wondering, have the Dodgers every toyed with turning Dee into a switch hitter?

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Altuve made a terrific catch of Kemp’s foul fly. 

    • T.M. Brown

      And a whoops play by Rivera to play a good foil. 

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Rivera was sloppy on that grounder. Late in throwing to Chad, and then threw it to his ankles. 

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Billingsley had been pitching well but he sure missed with that one to Lee. 

  • Anonymous

    So this will be the 19th inning thus far this season the Dodgers have been behind. Out of close to 140 innings played.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    I must have missed something – I thought Uribe struck out, but he’s still batting.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M43RQUOKRIFBFM3DK5T2TERQ6U Old Bear

    I am not watching, but I presume that Loney would have made the play in the first inning and that Billingsley would have been out of the inning without facing Lee.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      That’s a safe presumption. 

      • Anonymous

        Did I hear something about Bills and a groin pull and did Rivera aggravate it with a Loney should have been playing first base throw that made Bills stumble past first…. 

  • Anonymous

    Gameday and Gameday Audio are wack today…

  • Anonymous

    Whoa – Gameday has Uribe popping up on a pitch waaaay up and out of the strike zone! E-Gameday!

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Chad just can’t find the strike zone right now. 

    • Anonymous

      Lack of moral fiber.

      • http://twitter.com/DodgerTony Anthony Forkush

        Moral  terpitude. Terpitude.

    • Anonymous

      it’s actually better when he doesn’t.

  • T.M. Brown

    I definitely couldn’t have made that catch, buttttt an above average RF probably should. 

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      That’s pretty harsh to say that a guy should catch a ball that was hit over the wall. Yeah it looked close but that would take a great catch.

      • T.M. Brown

        And Ethier isn’t Edmonds or something, and timing jumps on a wall is much more difficult than people realize. Maybe just wishful thinking to prevent a GS. 

        • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

          It definitely would have been nice if he had saved Chad’s bacon.

    • Anonymous

      are you talking about gold glove winning right fielder, andre ethier?

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Ethier needed a glove with little more “fiber” at the end.

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, look at that – today might be a good day to take my family out to the park and get ice cream.

  • Adam Luther

    Billingsley at Minute Maid into today…4-0, 1.78 ERA 25K’s in 30.1 IP.

    • Anonymous

      which makes this afternoon a prime example of regression to the mean.

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Bad Inning Billingsley made his appearance today, I see.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    I think beast mode just slept.

    • Anonymous

       or got slain

  • Anonymous

    just snakebit today.  that never happens.  the this is just all the more annoying because I have to listen to the houston homers bust their buttons at every minor event.

    • Anonymous

      But they still have to root for the Astros. 

      • Anonymous

        that’s it.  I switched over to the streamed audio (that I apparently can’t mention by name, lest I get my thread pulled). 

    • Anonymous

       They’re actually not as bad as some of these other announcers. You should try listening to the OKC Thunder announcers, they’re pretty bad about it.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the Yankees overcame a 9-0 deficit yesterday, so…

    • Anonymous

      yeah, but we don’t have the advantage of bobby valentine in the other dugout.  that had to have helped.

  • Anonymous

    Rivera turning and twisting today at 1B

  • KT

    Just caught up and this game has been poorly executed almost by all…I think it good to get it all out in one game instead of spread out over many games

  • Anonymous

    1 hit, 2 errors, a couple of passed balls, eyebrow raising misplays, assorted “what was that?” moments . . .  I hope the dodgers are getting it all out of their system today.  there is a pretty hot braves team coming to town monday night.

  • KT

    And with that I go to another previously recorded sports event…Have a good day all

    • Anonymous

      Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Who is playing CF now?

    • Anonymous

      Gwynn, Jr.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s that guy in the stands that missed kemp’s home run bomb last night.  apparently, they drew straws, and he lost.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Oh well, the first clunker of the season. Had to happen sometime right?  I take it Bills’ groin was bothering him after all? Didn’t look right at all in the couple of innings I saw earlier.   And Wandy is always good against LA (it seems anyway) and was due this year to get his first win. I don’t like it, but it’s one of those Last Day of the Road Trip Blues/Blahs games that happen. {shrug} Hope Bills is okay, though. 

    • Anonymous

      I hope JW is in there to take one for the team.  it’s more important to stay out of the bullpen than it is to avoid turning a 10 run loss into a 15 run loss.

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Since the game has gone to Hades in a handbasket, I’m going to vent about the seemingly-universal practice by paint and hardware stores (both big-box and local) that paint can be sold in no unit smaller than a quart. In order to paint a new 18-inch long, 3/4-inch square piece of shelf trim for a kitchen cupboard, I had to buy a full quart of semi-gloss. I used at most one-brushful. Now I have 15.999-recurring ounces of white paint to store. That’s about $13.20 of the $13.27 cost sitting around getting crusty and old.

    Grrrh.

    ETA: Before anyone says “why didn’t you paint it before you put it in place?” it’s because a carpenter we had doing other work did it as a favor. Otherwise I’d have gotten a can of spray paint and done it first.

    • Anonymous

      state lotteries get on my nerves.  first of all, there is something morally wrong with state sponsored, nay, state induced gambling. but it’s not even very good gambling.  you have better chance of getting hit by lightning . . . twice . . . in the same day.  and it seems to prey on the poor.  you never see a guy jump out of a mercedez and run in to buy a lotto ticket.  it’s always some miserable pregnant woman crawling out of a ’67 vista cruiser station wagon full of crying, dirty kids to blow the rent money on lotto tickets.

      it just seems wrong.

      and also, for reasons that are beyond me, it takes forever to complete a lotto transaction.  meanwhile, the people standing in line grow old, my beer gets warm, and my hot dog gets cold.

    • Anonymous

      You’re getting ripped off more than you think. On the mainland, we get 32 ounces in a quart…

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

         WHAT?!? 

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    For this game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlImg2bm28

    Onwards! Two tough home series ahead. They’ll need to pick it back up and I expect they will.
    For Astros, I recommend spreading their runs around a bit more. ;)

  • Anonymous

    I think the dodgers planned this loss.  They just wanted to re-live what it was like to be hapless losers last season.  Now that they’ve gotten that out of the way, they can string together another 7-8 wins without as much scrutiny from the press now that they’ve gotten blown out; proving they’re humans and not engineered android replacement players incapable of doing much wrong day in and day out.

  • Anonymous

    How much longer before Adam Kennedy gets DFA’ed or released?  I say the over-under is May 15.  If it weren’t for Kennedy, I’d be asking the same question about Juan Uribe, but Kennedy is way worse, if that’s possible (Kennedy’s OPS is more than 200 points less than Uribe).
    .
    In the meantime, Josh Fields is OPSing .980 at ABQ, and would be the obvious callup candidate if either of those two goes away.  Castellanos is even better (OPS 1.240) but he’s been playing second, and hasn’t played third since 2009; he’s also young enough that the reps at AAA will help his development.
    .
    Right now, I’d rather see an infield roster of Loney, Van Slyke, Ellis, Castellanos, Gordon, Sellers, Hairston, and Fields, than the current infield roster of Loney, Rivera, Ellis, Kennedy, Gordon, Sellers, Uribe, and Hairston.  I’d rather see the youngsters get a chance to prove themselves, than see veterans who are only proving that they aren’t very good.  How much worse can they be than guys with OPS of .522 and .312?

    • Anonymous

      But Kennedy “really wanted to be a Dodger.” Doesn’t that count for anything? (I’m kidding, of course.)

      Really wish they’d bring Fields up to see what he can do. 

    • Anonymous

      Colletti rushed to lock up Kennedy signing him on November 30. He even gave Kennedy a $50,000 raise to $800,000. Originally a 2nd baseman, Kennedy has ML experience at 1st,2nd,3rd and has played ss and all 3 OF positions in a few games. But as it has turned out for the Dodgers this season, and I assume it was Colletti’s plan, Kennedy is the teams LH PH. He hit 244/284/355/632 against RHP last season in 334 PA again vs RHP. There’s no way he gets that much use on the Dodgers but Colletti must have thought his ability to play all those positions would be useful. Do the Dodgers need a LH PH? It seems like a good idea since some RHP are much better vs RHH but it certainly is a luxury when the player isn’t hitting. Fields is a RHH. If you want to DFA Kennedy, which is a good idea, I think a LHH is preferable even one that isn’t likely to get time in the field as long as they can produce at the plate.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Kennedy is this year’s Navarro, except perhaps with a better work ethic. Inexplicable to offer him a a guaranteed contract, but that might keep him around for a while. 

      That said, MacDougal is looking like DFA bait once Coffey returns, unless there’s another injury.

      With Ellis playing decently, not sure it’s not good to have Castellanos continue working on his defense in AAA for a while. 

      • Anonymous

        If Kennedy is this year’s Navarro, I want him at the plate late in any scoreless game.

        And no other time.

      • Anonymous

        The problem with using someone solely as a left-handed pinch hitter is that they have to at least be able to hit right-handed pitching better than a right-handed pinch hitter.  Yes Kennedy does better against lefties than righties, but last year his OPS vs lefties was .669 – still nothing great.  By contrast, Jerry Hairston Jr. is a right-handed batter; last year his OPS vs righties was .735, vs lefties was .706.  So even though Hairston is supposedly a worse-handed batter vs lefties, his OPS was higher than Kennedy who is supposedly a better-handed batter.
        .
        Given that Kennedy’s sole reason for sticking around seems to be his ability to play several positions, it seems more like he’s this year’s… are we allowed to mention Eugenio Velez, now that he’s gone?

  • foul tip

     Steve Rushin pays homage to Vin for si.com.  Reads as if he catches every game Vin does–

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/steve_rushin/04/18/vin.scully/index.html?sct=mlb_bf3_a7

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • http://www.mythphile.com/ Blue-eyed Gal (Ellen)

    Random note: Did anyone see that poor Vincente Padilla was the pitcher who gave up the grand slam that started the Sox meltdown on Saturday? Ouch.