For the first time in the history of the Scout Hot Sheet, the race is just too close to call.
Two outfielders from two of baseball’s royal families were neck-and-neck through Sunday, when the New York Yankees’ Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, while Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp by went 2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base.
That’s how close the two have been over the past seven days – a hit or a walk here, an RBI there – with both men sending five home runs over the fences and both raising their season batting averages by an almost identical margin, with Kemp going from .277 to .285 and Gardner went from .276 to .284, each doing that work over six games.
Kemp went 3-for-14 over the past four games, Gardener went 4-for-13, but added five walks (the fifth-most in the majors over the past seven days), while Kemp took just a single free pass. Beyond the actual walks, Gardener saw an average of 4.38 pitches per plate appearance, ranking third in the American League and eighth in the majors, just ahead of Kemp’s 4.17.
Kemp drove in nine runs to lead all of Major League Baseball, scoring six himself, while Gardner drove in seven and scored eight himself – second in the majors.
Gardner’s Yankees went 3-3 over the past seven days, while Kemp’s Dodgers went 4-2.
Gardner led the world in total bases with 29, while Kemp was right behind him with 24.
Kemp posted a 1.549 OPS (second in MLB), a 1.091 slugging percentage (second in the MLB, first in the National League), a .458 on-base percentage (18th in MLB), and a .409 batting average (13th in MLB).
Gardner was first in the bigs with a 1.832 OPS (ahead of Kemp by .283), led the majors in slugging (1.261), was third in OBP (.571) and posted a .478 average (fifth in MLB, second in the American League).
Three of Gardner’s 11 hits went for two bases, while the only extra-base hits Kemp had out of his nine hits were his five home runs.
Kemp had two signature performances during the week, in the first two games against the Atlanta Braves. On Tuesday, he went 3-for-4 with two runs, two homers and four RBIs in the Dodgers’ fourth win in a row – their first four-game winning streak of the season – and on Wednesday, Kemp went yard in the second inning, scored the tying run in the eighth and then rapped out a walk-off single in the 10th as Los Angeles rallied to its fifth straight win, scoring or driving in each of the Dodgers’ three runs on the night.
Gardner’s big games came on Monday and Tuesday. To start the week, the seventh-year left fielder went 3-for-5 against the Texas Rangers, with two of his three hits going over the wall at Arlington. Unfortunately for Gardner, those were the only two runs the Pinstripers scored on 11 hits, as the Rangers came away with a 4-2 win. Tuesday was a bit kinder to Gardner and the Yankees, a he slugged a leadoff home run as part of a 4-for-5, three-run day that included two doubles. One of those doubles led off the top of the sixth, which saw Gardner come around to score as part of a seven-run inning that gave New York an 8-4 lead. Gardner later came around to score after his eighth-inning leadoff single was cashed in on a home run by Mark Teixeira.
Previous Players of the Week
July 21-27: Santana
July 14-20: Trout
June 30-July 6: Werth
June 23-29: Altuve
June 16-22: Kershaw
June 9-15: McCutchen
June 2-8: Beltre
May 26-June 1: Encarnacion
May 19-25: Wainwright
May 5-May 11: Smith
April 28-May 4: Tulowitzki
April 21-27: Abreu
April 14-20: Morneau
April 7-13: J. Upton
March 31-April 6: Stanton
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