[mlbvideo id=”35689791″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman
Matt Kemp, who had eight home runs for the season one month ago, has moved in position to lead the Dodgers in circuit clouts.
Kemp has doubled his 2014 homer total since July 29, moving past Scott Van Slyke, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez to within two of Adrian Gonzalez. He has a .584 slugging percentage and .923 OPS in that time.
What’s weird about the potential of Kemp leading the Dodgers in home runs is that he won’t lead them in innings played at any position. He is all but guaranteed to finish behind Carl Crawford in left field, Yasiel Puig in right field and either Puig or Andre Ethier in center.
(That’s right: Puig could lead the Dodgers in time served in both center and right field, though Ethier is likely to prevail in center by at least a few innings. Puig, 0 for his last 18 with six walks, is not in tonight’s starting lineup. )
While Kemp has certainly been a regular in the outfield, his season will be split fairly neatly among the three positions. So far, Kemp has played 369 1/3 innings in left, 326 in center and 287 1/3 in right.
The last Dodger to lead the team in home runs without a regular position was Al Ferrara, who hit 16 homers in 1967 while playing fewer innings in right field than Ron Fairly and fewer in left than three other players. Ferrara led the Dodgers in home runs despite only starting 87 games that year.
Meanwhile, Van Slyke, who hit his 10th home run and first since July 22 on Wednesday, appears to have escaped serious injury after rolling his ankle. He told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com today that he was fine and ready to play.