The fun with hot streaks in the early part of the season is that the numbers can get so gaudy that one can help but get excited. The flip side, of course, is that slumps are equally magnified. Juan Uribe could have had a 3-for-25 slump in August, but his rate stats wouldn't have been affected that greatly; however, since it's the beginning of the season today's scoreboard at Petco Park will show a .120 batting average for Uribe when he first comes to the plate. Uribe has flaws at the plate -- he doesn't hit for average and he doesn't walk much, to name two -- but I'll bet a sizable sum that Uribe will end his season hitting much better than .120/.154/.160.
Similarly, Matt Kemp won't end his 2011 hitting .429/.515/.679, as he is right now (shocking revelation, I know). All we have to do is remember last season, when Kemp was hitting .351/.366/.703 through eight games. He got even hotter, with seven home runs in his first 14 games of the season, but ended up hitting .249/.310/.450 on the season. That doesn't mean there isn't reason to be excited about Kemp's play so far.
Kemp in those first eight games last year, even while hot, had two walks against 11 strikeouts. So far this season, Kemp has improved that to just three strikeouts and five walks in 33 plate appearances. Kemp was successful in two of his first three stolen base attempts last year, but was caught his next four tries, all in April. This season, Kemp has been a beast on the basepaths, stealing five without getting caught. Even when Kemp gets caught this season, like last night in the first inning, he ends up safe.
Kemp has five singles, two doubles, and a walk in his last 11 plate appearances, dating back to his final at-bat in Colorado on Wednesday. He has back-to-back three-hit games for the fifth time in his career. Twice Kemp has extended that streak to three games: August 10-12, 2008, and July 8-10, 2009.
Will Kemp extend that streak today? He is 3-for-9 with a home run, a double, a walk, and a sacrifice fly against Aaron Harang in his career.
Game Time: 1:05 p.m.