Kemp makes history with ninth homer

Matt Kemp probably won’t win his fourth consecutive National League Player of the Week award, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of performance. Kemp has left no doubt in the early going that he is the best player in the National League.

Kemp homered on Saturday in Houston, his third consecutive game with a home run and his seventh home run in eight games.

“The greatest player on the planet just did it again,” said Dodgers television broadcaster Eric Collins after Kemp’s ninth home run of the season.

Kemp hit that ninth home run in the 15th game of the season, the fastest Dodgers player ever to reach nine home runs. He was the fastest to nine home runs in the majors since Alex Rodriguez hit 12 home runs through 15 games for the 2007 New York Yankees.

Even with an 0-for-3 on Sunday in Houston to snap his 10-game hitting streak, Kemp is still hitting .450/.500/.967 on the season with nine home runs, 22 RBI, and 17 runs scored.

Kemp won the final NL Player of the Week award last season for hitting .423/.444/.923 with three home runs and seven RBI for the week of September 19-25, 2011.

Kemp won the first NL Player of the Week award this season for hitting .412/.389/.824 with two home runs and eight RBI for the week of April 5-8, 2012.

Kemp won the NL Player of the Week award again for the week of April 9-15, 2012 after hitting .545/.615/1.182 with four home runs and eight RBI.

Kemp followed that up by hitting .381/.458/.857 with three home runs and six RBI against Milwaukee and Houston this week and even though he probably won’t win the weekly honor again Kemp continues to produce for the Dodgers.

NOTES, QUOTES
Kemp’s hitting streak ends at 10
   –CF Matt Kemp went 0-for-3 Sunday in Houston to snap his 10-game hitting streak.
   –3B Juan Uribe returned to the starting lineup Sunday after missing four games with a left wrist injury.
   “He’s still getting treatment, but I feel like he’s been ready for two days,” manager Don Mattingly said before the game.
   –RF Andre Ethier and CF Matt Kemp each played the first 141 defensive innings of the season for the Dodgers until both were removed on Sunday before the bottom of the sixth inning in Houston with the Dodgers trailing 10-0.
   –LHP Scott Elbert pitched Sunday in Houston, his first outing since April 13.
   “We’ve run into two lineups in a row that have called for right-handed relievers,” Mattingly said Saturday. “They’ve got three lefties on the bench to pinch-hit.”
   –2B Mark Ellis went 2-for-3 with a walk on Sunday in Houston and even though he didn’t score in the game, Ellis remains second in the National League with 14 runs scored, trailing only the 17 runs scored by teammate CF Matt Kemp.
   –RHP Kenley Jansen has pitched in a major league leading 10 games out of the first 16 contests for the Dodgers, a testament to how many close games and leads the Dodgers have had in the early going.
   “We’re doing to have to slow him down a little,” manager Don Mattingly said before the game on Sunday. “History of the game tells us we’re probably not going to play .800 ball and need him in those situations all year. We don’t feel like we’ve abused him and will try not to use him today.”
   BY THE NUMBERS: 27 — Innings after which the Dodgers have trailed this season out of 147 total innings during their 12-4 start.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’re doing to have to slow him down a little. History of the game tells us we’re probably not going to play .800 ball and need him in those situations all year.” — Manager Don Mattingly on RHP Kenley Jansen, who pitched in 10 of the Dodgers’ first 15 games.