Not going to happen. Jose Reyes got a bunt single in the first inning Wednesday afternoon then came out of the game, ending his season with a league-leading .337 average. Kemp needs 12 hits in 12 at-bats to pass Reyes. Ryan Braun begins his night at .3345, needing three hits, either in three or four at-bats, to win the batting title.
Kemp is tied with Prince Fielder atop the National League at 38 home runs, one ahead of Albert Pujols, who could have two games left if there is an NL wild card playoff on Thursday. Kemp has nine hits in 27 at-bats with three home runs off Joe Saunders, tonight's Arizona starter. Two of those home runs have come this season, and the other came on October 2 last year.
The only Los Angeles Dodger ever to lead the league in home runs was Adrian Beltre, who hit 48 home runs in 2004. I get the feeling that if the season was three weeks longer, Beltre might set a new career high this season. He has 32 homers this season, which includes an astonishing 11 circuit clouts in his last 14 games.
There were seven Brooklyn Dodgers to lead the league in home runs: Duke Snider (43, 1956), Dolph Camilli (34, 1941), Jack Fournier (27, 1924), Tim Jordan (12 in 1908, 12 in 1906), Harry Lumley (nine in 1904), Jimmy Sheckard (nine, 1903), and Oyster Burns (13, 1890).
The only LA Dodger to lead the league in runs batted in was Tommy Davis, with 153 RBI in 1962. Kemp leads the NL with 124 RBI, four more than Fielder. The only Dodgers to ever lead the league in both home runs and RBI were Dolph Camilli (34 homers, 120 RBI in 1941) and Oyster Burns (13, 128 in 1890).
Kemp is tied with Mike Piazza (1997) for third-most RBI in a single season by an LA Dodger (and tied for 12th on the all-time franchise list, including Brooklyn years), one behind Shawn Green (2001) for second.
Kemp needs two home runs to become the fifth member of the 40/40 club. This we know. But, Kemp is also tied for second in the NL with Drew Stubbs and Emilio Bonifacio at 40 stolen bases. Cameron Maybin has 39 steals. Stubbs did not pick up a stolen base in the Reds' final game earlier today. Kemp is trying to become the first player in baseball to finish in the top two in the league in both home runs and stolen bases since Hank Aaron in 1963.
Kemp also leads the league in runs scored at 114, a five-run lead on Braun. The only LA Dodger to lead the league in runs was Brett Butler (112, 1991). There were eight Brooklyn Dodgers that led the league in runs scored: Duke Snider (126 in 1955, 120 in 1954, 132 in 1953), Pee Wee Reese (132, 1949), Eddie Stanky (128, 1945), Arky Vaughan (112, 1943), Pete Reiser (117, 1941), Wee Willie Keeler (140, 1899), Hub Collins (148, 1890), and George Pinkney (134 in the American Association in 1888).
The last Dodger to post an on-base percentage of .400 or higher was Gary Sheffield, who had a .417 OBP in 2001. Kemp opens play tonight at .3991. Excluding sacrifice flies or catchers interference, if Kemp has one plate appearance tonight, he needs to reach base; if he has two or three PA, he needs to reach base twice; if he has four, five, or six PA, Kemp needs to reach base three times for a .400 OBP.
Note: if Kemp reaches base in two of four PA, his OBP will be .3997. The record book will say .400, but we know the real story.
Matt Kemp has 349 total bases, a lead of 13 over Braun for most in the National League, and 14 bases behind Jacoby Ellsbury for the major league lead should Kemp go off tonight. No LA Dodger has ever lead the league in total bases, and the last Dodger to do so was Snider, who had 378 total bases for the 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Now, for some others...
A month ago Ted Lilly was a cinch to become the 19th pitcher to allow 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in one season. On August 26, Lilly allowed a first-inning home run to Carlos Gonzalez that hasn't landed yet, and stood at 28 home runs and 29 steals allowed. Lilly has allowed four stolen bases since then -- he is tied with John Lackey for the most steals allowed this season -- but hasn't allowed another home run, a span of five starts and 35 2/3 innings.
It has been a miserable season for Eugenio Velez. He is 0 for 36, which would set a new major league record for position players for most at-bats without a hit in a single season, surpassing Hal Finney, a catcher who was 0 for 35 for the 1936 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Velez is also 0 for his last 45, dating back to 2010, which is tied with Bill Bergen (1909) and Craig Counsell (earlier this season) for the worst stretch of futility by a position player in major league history.
RBI, Part II
Jamey Carroll has had a fine season, hitting .287/.357/.341 in 145 games, but he also has 16 RBI, which is tied with Dave Roberts (2003) and Tony Smith (1910) for the fewest ever by a Dodger with at least 400 plate appearances. Among players in modern major league history (since 1901) with 500 plate appearances (Carroll has 507), the only two players with fewer RBI than Carroll are Enzo Hernandez (1971) and Goat Anderson (1907), each with 12.
Javy Guerra has pitched three straight days and four of the last five, so he is almost assuredly out for the season finale. Kenley Jansen has only pitched on back-to-back days once since returning from the disabled list four weeks ago, but he is a likely option to close tonight. Jansen needs four strikeouts for 100, and right now he could probably accomplish that by facing only two batters.
Matt Guerrier has pitched each of the last two days, so he is likely out tonight too, which is a good thing since it would ensure Guerrier becoming the first player in baseball history with exactly one save in six straight seasons.
Game Time: 6:40 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket