Benches cleared in today’s Braves-Padres game when Julio Teheran hit Matt Kemp with a pitch, but umpire Jordan Baker may have kept things from escalating a lot further by taking Kemp down as he tried to make a mid-scrum rush toward Teheran.
Being tackled/slipping and being landed on by an umpire seemed to take any remaining aggression out of Kemp, who had a calm chat as Baker escorted him to first base.
Padres outfielder Matt Kemp has been in a much-publicized slump, entering play Saturday batting a meager .247/.280/.324 with one home run and 26 RBI. He hadn’t homered since April 18, but that changed against Reds starter Michael Lorenzen on Saturday afternoon.
In the fourth inning, with the bases empty and one out, Kemp drove an 0-1 fastball to right-center, bouncing off of the top of the fence and into the stands for a home run. The blast only reduced the Padres’ deficit to 4-1, but at least Kemp got off the schneid. Kemp would add a two-run double in the sixth to cut the Padres’ lead to 6-3, then a two-run single in the eighth inning to break a 7-7 tie. He finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a walk and five RBI.
Wednesday night Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson homered for the fifth consecutive game, adding to what has been an incredible start for the 23-year-old rookie.
Five straight games with a home run ties the Dodgers’ franchise record, which Pederson now shares with Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Shawn Green, and Roy Campanella.
And not only does Pederson have 17 homers in 53 games, his home runs have traveled an average of 428 feet to lead all of baseball. He’s crushing pitches.
In addition to the spectacular power Pederson has also shown incredible patience at the plate, drawing 35 walks in 53 games. He’s hitting a modest .267, but all the power and patience combine to give him a lofty .393 on-base percentage and .606 slugging percentage.
Here’s a list of the highest OPS totals by a 23-year-old center fielder in MLB history:
Willie Mays 1954 1.078
Mickey Mantle 1955 1.042
Ken Griffey Jr. 1993 1.025
Al Simmons 1925 1.018
Ty Cobb 1910 1.008
JOC PEDERSON 2015 .999
Pederson has only played one-third of a season, but even with that caveat being on a list like that where the five guys ahead of him are all Hall of Famers (or soon to be Hall of Famers) is remarkable.
He’s currently out-hitting the other 23-year-old center fielder for a California team, reigning MVP Mike Trout, who has a measly* .932 OPS for the Angels this season.
* Note: .932 is a really, really good OPS.