The Dodgers return home with a share of first place, and their first series back at Dodger Stadium is against the Arizona Diamondbacks, not to be forgotten at four and a half games back in the National League West.
Monday is also a chance for Luis Cruz to extend his hitting streak, which currently stands at 12 games, the longest hitting streak by a Dodger this season. Cruz is hitting .300/.314/.500 during his streak and he has driven in 12 runs in those 12 games, continuing a great run with runners on base.
Cruz is hitting .400/.448/.560 with runners in scoring position, including six hits in his last 10 at-bats in those situations. He has come to the plate with 59 runners on base and has driven in 14 of them, or 23.7%, second only on the team to Hanley Ramirez (six of 16, 37.5%). The National League average is 14.2%.
Cruz has come to the plate six times with a runner on third and less than two outs, and he has gotten the run home five times. The NL average is 49.0%.
This has added up to 16 runs batted in for Cruz in just 22 games. Cruz, who accumulated 4,891 minor league plate appearances in 12 years, has grabbed hold of a starting gig seemingly out of nowhere, starting 22 of the 23 games since he was promoted on July 2.
Cruz has 10 extra-base hits in 22 games, while Dee Gordon had 12 extra-base hits in 78 games. As manager Don Mattingly said on the last homestand, "When (Cruz) hits the ball, it stays hit."
Will Cruz continue to hit .268/.307/.439 or something similar? I'm not sure, but no matter what he does going forward the ride to this point has been fun.
Monday's Pitching Matchup
Aaron Harang has pitched at least seven innings in three of his last four starts, and he has a 2.39 ERA in July. He started once against the Diamondbacks this season, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings on May 22. Trevor Cahill allowed one run in six innings for Arizona that night and was in line for the win until the Dodgers rallied for five runs in the seventh inning in a game eventually won on a two-run double by Ivan De Jesus in the ninth inning.
Cahill starts tonight for the Diamondbacks, his third start against the Dodgers this season. He allowed three runs in seven innings in a win in Phoenix on July 7.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket