Kemp still has shot at Triple Crown

The Sports Xchange
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Look out, National League, Matt Kemp is on fire again.

Kemp went 3-for-19 with 10 strikeouts in a five-game stretch shortly after the All-Star break. If you go back to June 21, he batted .186 in 19 games with two home runs and 10 RBI.

But in the latest in a long list of ways that Kemp has improved, his slumps don't last very long anymore.

Kemp drove in five runs Friday night and became the fifth-fastest player in National League history to reach the 25-homer, 25-steals club. Kemp added an impressive diving catch as well in the Dodgers' 9-5 win over the Diamondbacks.

The slump is officially over. Kemp has hit safely in six straight games, and four of those are multi-hit games.

Kemp's batting average was an absurd .402 on April 24, dropped to .308 on May 30, rose back to .336 on June 20, dropped to .306 after July 22, and is now back up to .313 to rank seventh in the National League, 30 points behind leader Jose Reyes.

That means a Triple Crown is still a longshot unless Reyes goes into a prolonged slump. Kemp's 25 homers are second in the league (behind Lance Berkman's 27) and his 80 RBI lead the league (two ahead of Prince Fielder).

Fans, and even Kemp, have talked about the 40/40 club for years even though he's never reached the 30/30 club. This is his second entry into the 25/25 club. The first time was the previous breakthrough year of 2009, when he compiled 26 homers and 34 steals.

The fastest to reach the 25/25 club was Eric Davis, who did it in 83 games in 1987. Bobby Bonds did it in 93 games in 1973, followed by Alfonso Soriano in 97 games in 2006 and Howard Johnson in 99 games in 1989. Kemp did it in 105 games.

The 40/40 club is still possible. With 27 steals and 25 homers in 105 games, Kemp is on pace for 42 stolen bases and 39 home runs.

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