Matt Kemp has 22 home runs in 92 games this season, just six off his career high, but he learned first hand on Monday night just how hard the Home Run Derby can be. Kemp hit just two home runs in the first round in the 2011 MLB Home Run Derby, and finished last among the eight contestants. It was the fifth time a Dodger has participated in the event, and none of them have advanced past round one.
Kemp hit sixth of the eight contestants, and struggled out of the gate. Dodgers bullpen catcher Rob Flippo, who pitched to Hee Seop Choi in the 2005 Home Run Derby, owned the inside of the plate, as Kemp made nine outs before hitting his first home run. Luckily, both home runs hit by Kemp earned $18,000 for charity in a joint effort by MLB and State Farm.
"It's definitely not as easy as everybody thinks it is. Usually when we're taking BP, we have the screen around us, the cage," Kemp told Pedro Gomez on the ESPN broadcast. "It was a great experience and hopefully I can get back in it and do it again. I know what to expect."
Choi remains the top Dodger performance in the contest, with five home runs in 2005. Mike Piazza had zero home runs in both 1993 and 1994, and Raul Mondesi hit two in 1995. Kemp will bat third and play center field for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
For more information on Matt Kemp and the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.