LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp's career has been revived. Again.He returned to the All-Star Game after a stunning first half, sagged in July and August, but celebrated his 34th birthday Sunday with three hits -- including his 21st home run -- and three RBIs in the Dodgers' 14-0 crushing of
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp's career has been revived. Again.
He returned to the All-Star Game after a stunning first half, sagged in July and August, but celebrated his 34th birthday Sunday with three hits -- including his 21st home run -- and three RBIs in the Dodgers' 14-0 crushing of the Padres.
Kemp not only is back with the Dodgers, he's back in a postseason race for the first time since 2014. This month, he's batting .318 with 13 RBIs.
"To be playing for something, the past couple years have been rough not playing for something in September," he said. "Just to be in position and capable of getting back to the World Series would be fun to be a part of."
He surpassed 1,000 career RBIs on Sunday and said playing meaningful games in September is a joy, even if at his age and on this roster he's no longer an everyday player.
"It's tough for all of us, but we have one common goal," said Kemp. "When you've got weapons like we do, there's sacrifices to be made and the main thing is winning baseball games. I still want to play every day, we all want to play every day. With the guys we have, it's just not possible."
With the loaded roster that management has given him and the platoon approach the franchise utilizes, manager Dave Roberts' toughest job is handling the clubhouse sensitivities. Roberts said Kemp is adjusting.
"Throughout his career, he's been an everyday player," said Roberts. "He understands where we're at as a ballclub and how many good players we have. You can see his season is very productive. We've kept him on the field, he's stayed healthy, he's fresh. It's different for him, a multi-year All-Star, and his buy-in has been great. Does he like it? Probably not. But he understands and accepts it."
Kemp fell a triple shy of a cycle and he acknowledged it would have been nice. He was lifted for pinch-hitter Alvin Toles in the seventh inning.
"I haven't had a triple all year," he said. "It would have been cool, but I was just worried about winning the game."
At one point, Kemp was serenaded by fans in right field with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday."
"Dodgers fans always been good on birthdays, especially now, there's more and more fans and they get louder and louder," Kemp said. "We were turning up out there."
Kemp is 11th in MLB, and fifth in the National League, for RBIs among active players. He has 728 RBIs as a Dodger, which ranks fifth on the all-time Los Angeles Dodgers list. Kemp has a team-high 82 RBIs this year.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.