LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp is leading the National League in batting average, and he's in the conversation for the All-Star Game. What is this, 2011?"I don't care," said Kemp, who went 2-for-4 with his seventh home run and four RBIs in the Dodgers' 8-2 win over the Phillies on
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp is leading the National League in batting average, and he's in the conversation for the All-Star Game. What is this, 2011?
"I don't care," said Kemp, who went 2-for-4 with his seventh home run and four RBIs in the Dodgers' 8-2 win over the Phillies on Wednesday night. "We got a long ways to go. I'm just trying to help us get wins, I promise you. Whatever other good things happen, that's what it is. I'm not even worried about that."
Kemp is leading the NL with a .345 average, leads the club with 30 RBIs and has a .926 OPS. He hasn't been an All-Star since 2012, hasn't won a Silver Slugger Award since he finished third in batting and second in the NL MVP vote in 2011. Away from the Dodgers since 2014, he was all but given up on a year ago when he got hurt and gained weight and was sent to the Dodgers in a December trade with Atlanta that was largely viewed as a salary swap.
On a club that played six weeks without Justin Turner, Kemp has emerged as the stabilizing right-handed hitter in the middle of the Dodgers' lineup, just like old times. There's still two-thirds of the season left, but Kemp is reminded that the Dodgers haven't had a batting champ since Tommy Davis went back to back in 1962-63.
"Those things are always fun, but it's more for the family and friends and all that," he said. "Honestly, all I care about is us getting to the playoffs and winning a championship. My expectations, my plan every year, is to drive in runs and make things happen for the team. All the other things are icing on the cake."
In May, Kemp has two homers, seven doubles, 12 RBIs and six runs scored.
"A guy that has his track record, the work ethic, the professionalism, the hit tool. Self-admittedly, he's learning some things in his 10th year, as far as approaching pitchers, talking to the hitters and coaches. Matt's really growing," said manager Dave Roberts.
"You see his at-bat quality. He's always been a guy that can drive in runs and get a hit and slug a little bit, but to take the walk, stay out of the double play, stay on a slider down and away and use the whole field, I haven't seen that consistently, even at his best. There's a lot of good things going on with Matt."
Kemp doesn't argue.
"I'm around a lot of good hitters and good coaches, not that I wasn't on earlier teams," Kemp said. "I talk to a right-handed hitter like [Turner], we talk about our approach and stick with that. So far, so good."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.