Deja Blue: Dodgers take first place in NL West thanks to Matt Kemp's second straight game-winner

For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Los Angeles Dodgers won 3-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks thanks to Matt Kemp’s clutch hit against reliever Archie Bradley.

That incredibly specific game finish first occurred Saturday night, when Kemp knocked a 3-run homer off Bradley to give the Dodgers a shocking 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, then he did it again Sunday afternoon with a walk-off double that was only a few feet from a homer.

Funnily enough, the Dodgers also beat the D-backs 3-2 on Friday to give them a three-game streak of the same result, score and opponent, but Kemp didn’t make an appearance in that game.

How Matt Kemp has haunted Archie Bradley

Despite the very similar circumstances surrounding Kemp’s two fateful at-bats against Bradley, Kemp’s hits both came about in very different ways. On Saturday, Kemp played the part of a patient veteran, taking three pitches and running up a 1-2 count while waiting for something to hit. That would come in the form of an 82-mph knuckle curve that Bradley left up in the zone. A few seconds later, the ball was in the center field stands.

Kemp was a whole lot less patient on Sunday, ambushing a first-pitch fastball from Bradley and nearly taking the reliever deep yet again. Kemp is now 8-for-16 with five extra-base hits against Bradley, who holds a 3.57 ERA for the season.

Matt Kemp vs. Archie Bradley has been a fruitful matchup for the Dodgers. (AP Photo)
Matt Kemp vs. Archie Bradley has been a fruitful matchup for the Dodgers. (AP Photo)

Kemp’s hits were welcome given that the outfielder has been mired in a slump for a solid month. Opening the season as an All-Star and dark horse MVP candidate, Kemp hit just .214/.291/.286 over 79 plate appearances during August.

Dodgers grab sole possession of 1st place in NL West

Sunday’s win was the Dodgers’ eight in their last nine games, a span of time in which the Dodgers went from 4.5 games behind the D-backs to the lone team atop the National League West standings.

The Dodgers now site a half-game ahead of the Rockies, who won 7-3 over the Padres on Sunday, and a full game ahead of the D-backs with 25 games left to play. Thanks to a +98 run differential compared to the Rockies, the now-third-place D-backs are still probably the Dodgers’ biggest threat in the NL West, but for now, they’ll be trying to get out of Chavez Ravine as quickly as possible.


Said Bradley: “We’re going back home, don’t panic, we’re going to be fine. We’ve got to wash our hands, shower up and get the hell out of L.A.”

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