An All-Star Trio: Vote Blue Here!

By mattgullette

Although we’re celebrating Earth week, All-Star balloting is about to get underway, and I’m urging you all to think Blue, especially when you’re filling out your ballots for the National League outfield (all ballots are good through July 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET). You can cast your ballots up to 25 times here.

Let me explain…

Going into the third week of the season, no outfield in the league is hitting the ball better and certainly none of them are make more plays than the Blue Crew’s trio. Matt Kemp dazzles in center field, Andre Ethier thrills with extra-inning walk-offs, and Manny just entertains us by being Manny.

It is for that reason that this week’s edition of Matt Gullette’s Semi-Weekly Nut-Up Award goes to not one, not two, but three players who stepped it up last week to win back-to-back series against the top of the NL West. They are the Dodger outfield, but I call them the Terrific Trifecta.

The outfield not only makes one fantastic play after another (well, maybe excluding Manny), but they’ve also carried the Dodgers’ offensive production, part of the reason why Los Angeles leads the majors in batting average (.321) and runs per game (6.6!). In the last 10 games, the Trifecta have combined for 13 home-runs, 37 RBI, 33 runs and a blistering .412 batting average! They are hitting at home, on the road, and everywhere in between. I’ll break it down for you:

Manny Ramirez. Despite battling a sore calf that took him out of the game tonight, Manny has been on fire the last 10 games leading the Dodgers with a .415 batting average. During that span Manny’s ManRam also came through in the clutch with a huge pinch-hit home-run in the 8th inning against division rival Giants over the weekend, which not only helped the Dodgers avoid back-to-back shutouts, it won them a much-needed series. That’s just Manny being Manny.

Matt Kemp. He’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, and the center-fielder got yet another hit tonight extending his 11-game hit streak, five of which were multi-hit games. During that span Kemp has led the Dodgers’ high-powered offense batting 16-for-45 (.356, ) with seven home-runs , 15 RBI and 15 runs scored, including a stretch where he hit a home-run in four-consecutive games. Kemp’s versatility goes far beyond what he does at the plate, though. The center-fielder uses his lengthy range to make some of the most incredible catches I have ever seen—part of what earned him a Golden Glove Award last season to go along with that Silver Slugger. Rhianna isn’t the only one in love with those hands.

Andre Ethier. When the Dodgers are in a tight, late-inning affair, who’re you gonna call? That’s right, Andre Ethier. Aside from his weekly blog “Dining With ‘Dre,” Ethier also eats ninth-inning, lower-inside-half fastballs for breakfast. ‘Dre led the league with seven walk-off hits last year–setting a major league record with four walk-off home-runs. We all got our first taste of Ethier’s magic last Thursday in a grueling 6-5 win over the Diamondbacks at Chavez Ravine as the Chef singled in the game-winning run. In the last 10 games Ethier has hit remarkably well: 17-for-41 (.416!) with 15 RBI and five home-runs, including two in the series opener against the Giants. Oh, and the Jonas Brothers’ favorite Dodger homered again tonight, albeit in a losing effort to the Reds. Going into a weekend series against the lowly Nationals, Ethier’s hitting right about the .400 mark.

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