Game Recap: Matt Kemp should be the 2011 NL MVP

Dodgers 8, Giants 2.

Last year, Pablo Sandoval and Matt Kemp combined for 2.0 fWAR. The duo, the two of them, had the combined output of an average major-league player. Needless to say, they were disappointing last year.

This year, it’s been a different case. Both have had fantastic resurgences, highlighted by tonight’s performances: the two combined for seven hits, five of them going for extra bases.

Last night, I wrote that I’m pretty adamant about Matt Kemp for NL MVP. Tonight came confirmation: three doubles and a home run from the guy who’s leading the National League in fWAR. He becomes the tenth player of all time to collect 4+ extra-base hits in a game against the Giants.

And then there’s Pablo Sandoval. What a season he’s had. Excellent defense at third base, paired with excellent hitting. Tonight, he collected three hits, accounting for half of the Giants’ total in this game (one of ‘em was a solo shot). He’s been the best player on the team by far, and should win the 3B gold glove and silver slugger. He’s the youngest Giants hitter to rack up 5+ rWAR in a single season since Will Clark, more than 20 years ago. I still hear talk about how he needs to lose some more weight, swing at fewer pitches out of the strike zone, blah blah blah. Whatever. His approach works. He’s played all-star caliber baseball all season long, and he’s actually maintained an above-average BB/K (0.52). It’s time people appreciated his resurgence, for he’s had quite the magnificent season.

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