Say what you want about Matt Kemp, but I'll give him this - he's left a hell of an impression on the Dodgers at the perfect time.
The last five games have been fantastic for Kemp, as pretty much any chatter about moving him at the Trade Deadline has all but disappeared. Never say never, but what he has done is remind everyone just how impactful his bat can be when he's clicking.
Here's a look at his last five games:
7/25 @ SF: 3-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI
7/26 @ SF: 1-for-3, BB
7/27 vs. ATL: 2-for-3, BB
7/28 vs. ATL: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
7/29 vs. ATL: 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB
And just for good measure, his walk-off single in the 10th inning on Wednesday night gave the Dodgers a season-high five-game winning streak. It also keeps them three up on the Giants in the NL West.
What exactly has caused this sudden power surge? Who knows for sure, but I would think comfort being in right field combined with knowing he's etched in the starting lineup everyday can only help. Don Mattingly has settled in on Yasiel Puig in center and Kemp in right, and I wouldn't expect that to change now.
The book on Kemp for most of this season was that his bat was slow in the zone. In other words, if you throw him the hard stuff, he won't catch up to it. Well, three homers in two days will only start to quiet those reports.
I remember last season when the Dodgers were cruising towards a playoff berth, I commented many times how they can really use Kemp's bat to put them over the top. Unfortunately, that never happened thanks to his ankle injury he sustained in late July that eventually led to surgery. Who knows if he would have been good enough to lift the Dodgers over the Cardinals, but they definitely could have used him at least.
As I said before, never say never when it comes to a trade. Considering the fact that Kemp has raised his average 20 points the last five games, and that the Dodgers are winning and playing some inspired baseball of late, I think he can comfortably settle in without worry.
Now let's see if this is an aberration, or if Kemp really has turned things around and is ready to mash again. Because if he is, that will be a lot of fun to watch.