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Kemp & Ethier Flirting With .400

Taking a stroll through the 2011 Matt Kemp scrapbook, otherwise known as the National League leaderboards, I stumbled upon the NL leaders in on-base percentage. Not only is Kemp in the top five, but his outfield buddy Andre Ethier is there as well.

National League On-Base Percentage Leaders  
Player Team G PA OBP  
Joey Votto Cin 63 285 .463  
Lance Berkman StL 54 220 .445  
Kosuke Fukudome ChC 49 204 .415  
Andre Ethier LA 63 257 .412  
Matt Kemp LA 64 271 .406  

It is still early in the season, and there are 98 games left to be played, just over 60% of the campaign. But a Los Angeles Dodger with a .400 on-base percentage is extremely rare. In fact, since the Dodgers moved west there have only been 16 seasons, with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, by a Dodger with a .400 OBP.

The only time the L.A. Dodgers have had two players with a .400 OBP in the same season was 1985, when Pedro Guerrero and Mike Scioscia finished one-two in the National League, with a .422 and .407 on-base percentage, respectively.

The last Dodger with a .400 OBP was Gary Sheffield, who posted a .417 OBP in 2001. Sheffield was in Los Angeles for three and a half seasons, and his worst OBP as a Dodger was .407. His .424 on-base percentage as a Dodger is the highest in franchise history, with a minimum of 1,500 plate appearances (actually, even a minimum of 1,029 PA).


Dioner Navarro gets the start at catcher for the second straight night. Rod Barajas sat out three games in Houston after spraining his right wrist in Chicago in a play at the plate against Juan Pierre and the White Sox. Even after those three Houston games, Navarro and Barajas have split catching duties, with seven starts each, including tonight. 

UPDATE (5:02 p.m.): Matt Kemp was scratched from tonight's lineup with hamstring tightness. It snaps a streak of 71 straight starts dating back to last season. Kemp also has the longest active games played streak in MLB at 268.

Here is the updated lineup, with Tony Gwynn Jr moved to center field and Trent Oeltjen playing left field:

Dodgers Rockies
SS Gordon CF Gonzalez
LF Oeltjen
2B Nelson
RF Ethier 1B Helton
3B Blake SS Tulowitzki
1B Loney RF Smith
2B Uribe 3B Wigginton
C Navarro LF Blackmon
CF Gwynn
C Iannetta
P Billingsley
P Chacin

Game Time: 5:40 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday