Matt Kemp takes his show on the road in Dodgers’ 2-0 win
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As the bankrupt Dodgers’ 2011 season winds to an end, you have to admire its consistency. A regular Swiss watch.
On Friday there was more of what this season has consistently delivered: turmoil with ownership and Matt Kemp starring on the field.
On the same day Major League Baseball asked the Bankruptcy Court to put the Dodgers up for sale, Kemp continued his torrid finish to the season.
Kemp hit his third home run in three games, tying him with Albert Pujols for the National League lead at 37, and led the Dodgers to a 2-0 victory over the Padres in San Diego.
Kemp’s hot finish has him within striking distance of winning the triple crown, something that has not been accomplished in the National League since Joe Medwick did it in 1937 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Not a bad way for Kemp to celebrate his 27th birthday. With his mom in the crowd.
Kemp in the three triple-crown categories: first in runs batted in (119), tied for first in home runs and third in batting average (.326, behind Jose Reyes at .32948 and Ryan Braun at .32903).
The Dodgers have five games left. Their game that was rained out in Washington this month will not be made up, possibly proving costly to Kemp’s triple-crown bid. His solo shot Friday was a blast to right field at Petco Park, one of baseball’s more difficult parks in which to hit home runs.
On the other end of the spectrum Friday was poor Eugenio Velez, who went 0 for 3 (three strikeouts), leaving him 0 for 36 this season. That surpasses Hal Finney, who went 0 for 35 in 1936 for the Pirates and held the previous major league record for a non-pitcher going hitless in a season.
Dating to last season, Velez is on a 0-for-45 streak, tying Bill Bergen (1909 Brooklyn Dodgers) and Craig Counsell (this year with the Brewers) for most consecutive at-bats without a hit.
The victory left the Dodgers 79-77 on the season, the first time they have been two games over .500 since they were 6-4 on April 11.
Left-hander Ted Lilly pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings for the win and raised his record to 11-14. He walked two, gave up four hits and struck out seven.
Mike MacDougal completed the seventh, Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the eighth (leaving him at 15.95 strikeouts per nine innings) and rookie Javy Guerra pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save.
-- Steve Dilbeck