Matt Kemp is playing like a superstar again

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Things were going so badly for Matt Kemp a few months ago that the Dodgers moved him from center field and then outright benched him, leading to lots of annoyed quotes and trade speculation.

And now he’s playing like the superstar who finished runner-up for the MVP in 2011.

Kemp was hitting just .268 with eight homers and a .755 OPS in 92 games through July 24, which along with his sub par, injury filled 2013 season had people wondering if he was in a full-on decline phase.

In the 55 games since then Kemp has hit .309 with 16 homers and a .979 OPS, including homering last night on his 30th birthday. Oh, and the Dodgers are 34-21 in those 55 games.

Overall this season Kemp has hit .284 with an .842 OPS in 147 games. His career marks? .292 batting average and .843 OPS. Factor in offense being down across baseball this season and Kemp is out-performing his career norms. And the Dodgers have an MVP-caliber hitter in the middle of the lineup at exactly the right time.