Heading into the middle game of their series against the Rockies, the Dodgers look to continue their offensive roll. The Dodgers have scored exactly eight runs in each of their last three games, all wins. The 24 runs during the three-game winning streak matched the club total for the previous nine games before that.
"If that would have happened a few weeks earlier it would have been nice. Eight runs is something you don't really look at. When you have a pretty good offensive club you can get four to five runs per game," said manager Don Mattingly. "I do think we're the kind of club that can mount a charge pretty much daily."
Since 1918 the Dodgers have had 10 streaks of four games or longer with eight runs or more, with the last a four-game stretch from Sept. 9-11, 1985. The current streak is the only time in Los Angeles Dodgers history that the club has scored exactly eight runs in three straight games, and ties the longest such streak dating back to at least 1918, with the last time from June 9-11, 1956 in Brooklyn.
But the magic number might be half of that, as the Dodgers are 66-12 (.846) when scoring four or more runs. The rest of MLB is 1,839-663 (.735). The Dodgers are 57-4 (.934) when scoring five or more runs, while the rest of MLB is 1,505-408 (.787).
Part of that stellar mark when scoring four or five runs is because of the pitching staff, led by Clayton Kershaw, who was masterful on Friday night.
"This is why everyone was worried about him," said Mattingly after Friday's game. "It's why there is such a fuss when something goes wrong."
Kershaw struck out 10 in his eight scoreless innings, strengthening his league lead in ERA, vying to become the first Dodger since Sandy Koufax (1962-1966) to lead the ERA in two straight seasons. Kershaw showed no signs that his hip impingement was bothering him.
"Even in the eighth I was kind of nervous about sending him back out. He just rolled. He was throwing the ball so good," said Mattingly on Saturday. "It tells you that there's nothing going on. If there is something going on you don't keep throwing the ball like that."
Even though Kershaw stated that he wanted to make his final start Wednesday whether the Dodgers were still fighting for a postseason berth or not - "That's my plan. Hopefully it matters," he said - Mattingly opted not to discuss a hypothetical that would have the Dodgers eliminated.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Mattingly said of starting Kershaw in a meaningless game. "We're not there yet."
- Mattingly said that Mark Ellis, who missed two games in San Diego due to illness, was going to get a day off either Saturday or Sunday anyway, so he opted to sit Ellis against the right-handed Tyler Chatwood. Nick Punto gets the call at second base for the Dodgers, batting leadoff.
- Luis Cruz has not only turned heads of baseball fans with his .306/.332/.438 line, but also Mattingly's. The manager has been impressed that the relative unknown has performed so well when given the opportunity at age 28.
"When he first came up, I thought he was going to get exposed at some point. But all he has done is hit. He has taken the job. There's nothing he's done that has said, 'Don't give me playing time'," Mattingly said. "Luis established himself at the very least someone who is talked about as an every day guy."
- Chad Billingsley continued to improve during light toss, and he will gradually increase his intensity of throwing in the coming weeks. But Mattingly stressed that the process would be a long one, lasting into the offseason befire they will know the next step. "This thing is going to build for a while," Mattingly said.
Tyler Colvin was originally slated to start in center field and bat fifth for Colorado, but was a late scratch due to right elbow soreness.
Game Time: 6:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket