Matt Kemp did it all in April.
The Dodgers picked up where they left off at the end of last season. After a 17-11 August and a 17-9 September to end 2011, the Dodgers began 2012 with a 16-7 April, thanks in large part to Matt Kemp and some superb pitching.
April also marked the end of the Frank McCourt ownership of the franchise. Will May bring more Magic?
Dodger Batter of April: After finishing second in last year's MVP voting, Matt Kemp had a month that left no doubt of the best player in baseball. Kemp hit .417/.490/.893 with a Dodger-record 12 April home runs. Kemp scored 24 runs and drove in 25 in 23 games.
Dodger Pitcher of April: It turns out the only thing that could keep Clayton Kershaw down was the flu. Despite being limited to three innings on opening day, Kershaw ended the month 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA.
Honorable mention goes to Ted Lilly, who has allowed just one run in each of his starts but has only started three times; and to Josh Lindblom, who allowed just one run in 11 appearances and made himself an indispensable part of the bullpen.
April Record: 16-7
91 runs scored (3.96 per game)
79 runs allowed (3.43 per game)
.564 pythagorean winning percentage (13-10)
|April National League West Standings|
Game of the Month: Dodger Stadium on April 28 was an electric atmosphere. The game featured the debut of super prospect Bryce Harper, just 19 years old. Harper didn't disappoint, with a booming double to center field and a laser throw from left field. The game featured an outstanding pitching duel between Chad Billingsley and Stephen Strasburg, each of whom allowed one run in seven innings. The Dodgers were down two runs in the ninth but rallied to tie, with the tying run scoring on a wild pitch with two outs. To top everything off, Matt Kemp led off the 10th inning with a walk-off home run for a 4-3 win, and Kemp was serenaded with chants of "M-V-P" as he rounded the bases.
Southpaw Killer: Matt Kemp had 16 hits in 29 at-bats against left-handed pitchers in April, including five home runs and a double, hitting a robust .552/.606/1.103.
Pinch Hitting: For the month, Dodger pinch hitters were terrible, with four hits in 26 at-bats, including a double, hitting .154/.214/.192.
Runners in Scoring Position: In April, the Dodgers hit .267/.384/.375 with runners in scoring position in 226 plate appearances.
They had a runner on third base with less than two outs 43 times, and got the runner home 22 times, or 51.2% (the entire NL scored 352 of 736 times, 47.8%).
They had a runner on second base with nobody out 41 times in April, and the runner advanced 28 times, or 68.3% (the entire NL advanced the runner 281 of 499 times, 56.3%).