The Dodgers have been a two-man offense so far, but when those two are as hot as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are, that’s plenty good enough.
Kemp went 3-for-4 and hit his sixth homer Sunday as part of a 5-4 win over the Padres, moving the Dodgers to 9-1 on the season.
Kemp is batting .487 this season and has driven in 16 runs in the Dodgers’ 10 games. Ethier has 15 RBI. No one else in either league has more than 12 RBI. Combined, those two have knocked in 31 of the Dodgers’ 50 runs.
Kemp should have been the NL MVP last year, yet he’s already way ahead of his 2011 pace. After 10 games last season, he was hitting .441, but he had just one homer and five RBI.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.