UPDATE: The Dodgers just announced that Kemp left the game with a right knee contusion and was taken for precautionary X-rays on his jaw. He doesn’t have any concussion symptoms, so it sounds like he won’t have to miss much time.
9:54 PM: Matt Kemp crashed into the center field fence at Coors Field last night in the eighth inning, but managed to stay in the game. He wasn’t as fortunate tonight.
Kemp was trying to track down a fly ball off the bat of Josh Rutledge in the bottom of the first inning tonight when he ran full-speed into the center field fence. You can watch video of the play here.
Kemp was on the ground for several moments while being examined by team trainers, but he eventually got to his feet and convinced all involved that he was OK to stay in the game. The ball found him with the very next batter though, as Jordan Pacheco hit a bloop to center field which caused Kemp to make a diving attempt. He came up empty-handed and appeared to be flexing his neck and jaw when he got back up. He was removed from the game after the next batter.
Kemp has already served two stints on the disabled list this year with hamstring injuries. The Dodgers have added plenty of reinforcements over the past month, but the road to a potential postseason berth would be a lot tougher if he requires another extended absence.
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.