Dodgers look to continue winning ways

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
2:19
PM ET
The Los Angeles Dodgers enter tonight's action against the Milwaukee Brewers (8:10 ET) with the best record in baseball at 9-1. It's the franchise's best start since 1981, a year the Dodgers won the World Series. Much of the success has been thanks to the production of Matt Kemp, who is so far producing some huge numbers.

According to Elias, Kemp joined Willie Mays, Lou Brock, and Dante Bichette as the only players with at least six homers, 16 RBI and a .450 batting average through a team’s first 10 games since RBI became an official stat in 1920.

The secret behind his lofty statistics is his ability to feast on the fastball, as he's batting .550 with an OPS of 1.959 against the pitch this season. Pitchers have also had little success against Kemp with two strikes. In such situations, Kemp has a .412 batting average, including a .667 average against the heater (four hits in six at-bats).

An additional measurement of how Kemp is atypical has been on fly balls. The typical major leaguer hits a home run once for every nine to 10 fly balls, but Kemp's first nine fly balls have resulted in six home runs.

While Kemp is carrying the offense, closer Javy Guerra is an anchor in the bullpen; he leads the majors with five saves and has yet to allow a run.

What's been his key to success? Keeping the ball on the ground. Guerra has a groundball percentage of 66.7 this season (eight of 12 balls in play), seventh highest among relievers, and he's allowed just one hit off a groundball.

Starter Chad Billingsley (scheduled tonight) has also been impressive in two starts this year, allowing just a single earned run in over 14 innings of work. He also has 15 strikeouts compared to one walk.

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