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Oh, no, not that! Now even Matt Kemp is struggling for Dodgers

July 21, 2011 |  3:21 pm

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Ah, sad but true. Inevitable, I suppose. Matt Kemp was having such an outstanding season he was almost overdue for rough stretch.

And he’s in one now, this stretch looking like something out of Cormac McCarthy’s ``The Road.’’

Since June 27th, he has batted .194 with four extra-base hits. More concerning, in 67 at-bats, he has struck out 22 times. That’s a strikeout ratio well above last season when he broke his own club record with 170 strikeouts.

The culprit is familiar too, that low-and-away pitch suddenly again just too tantalizing for him to lay off.

If just a blip on the road, a momentary setback, by season’s end Kemp can easily still be in the MVP conversation.

Considering the state of the Dodgers offense, as Vin Scully likes to say, Kemp wouldn’t be human if not pressing some. It’s just that without Kemp, there almost is no Dodgers offense. And it ain’t much with him.

Kemp has accounted for 22% (72) of the team’s RBIs and a staggering 36% (24) of their home runs.

No coincidence then that during his current 18-game rough stretch, the Dodgers have scored more than four runs only three times and scored two or fewer 11 times.

Kemp has enjoyed a tremendous turnaround from last year, and his last three weeks hardly wipes out the previous three months. Without him performing at previous heights, however, the Dodgers offense goes from scary to Stephen King meets Mary Shelley.

The Dodgers open a nine-game homestand Friday. A very good time for the return of Kemp, crusher of baseballs.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Matt Kempmakes his way back to the dugout after striking out against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

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