Dodgers relying on left-handed rotation

Jason O. Watson

Southpaw starter Hyun-jin Ryu gets the call in the opener for the Dodgers on Friday night in Atlanta, the latest left-handed starting pitcher for Los Angeles this season.

Hyun-jin Ryu takes the mound for the Dodgers on Friday night as they open a three-game weekend series in Atlanta, as the Dodgers continue a trend that Ned Flanders would be proud of. Ryu on Friday will mark the 23rd start by a left-handed pitcher in 40 games for the Dodgers this season.

With six different starting pitchers on the disabled list this season it might be dangerous to project the Dodgers starting rotation, but with fellow southpaw Chris Capuano starting on Saturday that will make 24 starts by lefties in 42 games by the end of the weekend.

At the very least, with Clayton Kershaw and Ryu entrenched in the rotation, the Dodgers plan on having many more starts by left-handers this season. Chris Capuano has a reasonable hold on a rotation spot now, and a currently rehabbing Ted Lilly could add a few more starts as well.

Since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, the Dodgers have had just nine seasons with left-handers making the majority of starts. The only time in the last 26 years it has happened was in 2002, with 84 starts from southpaws. Odalis Perez (32 starts), Kazuhisa Ishii (28), Omar Daal (23), and Victor Alvarez (one) accounted for the left-handed starts that year.

In 2009 the Dodgers came close with 79 starts from left-handers, led by Randy Wolf (34 starts), Kershaw (30), Eric Stults (10), and Eric Milton (five). That was the last time the Dodgers started three consecutive left-handers in a single series, before this year.

Only once have left-handers accounted for at least 100 starts by a Los Angeles Dodgers team. In 1965, Sandy Koufax (41 starts), newcomer Claude Osteen (40), Johnny Podres (22), Nick Willhite (six), Jim Brewer (two), and future wife swapper Mike Kekich (one) accounted for the southpaw starts.

Notes

  • Ryu has already matched the L.A. Dodgers record with eight consecutive six-inning outings to open his Dodgers career. The last Brooklyn Dodger with a longer streak to open his time in blue was Kirby Higbe, with 10 straight in 1941.
  • Nick Punto (.353/.405/.412 in 38 plate appearances, eight starts) and Skip Schumaker (.273/.314/.333 in 35 PA, nine starts) have combined to hit .313/.363/.373 as second baseman in 17 games without Mark Ellis.
  • Matt Kemp's current 14-game hitting streak is the longest by a Dodger this season and the third longest of his career, trailing only a 19-game streak in 2008 and a 16-game streak from the end of 2011 to the start of 2012. But with no home runs during the streak, Kemp has just a .734 OPS during the streak despite hitting .328.
  • Kemp began the season with 81 plate appearances before hitting a home run. He has now gone 82 PA since without another one.
  • Four Dodgers have faced Braves starter Paul Maholm at least 10 times in their career, and none have had much success. Juan Uribe is 3-for-19 with a triple, Kemp is 4-for-15 (.267) with a double and two walks, Adrian Gonzalez is 3-for-11 with a double, a walk and was hit twice for a .375 on-base percentage, and Andre Ethier is 3-for-11 (.273) with a walk.
  • The Dodgers in 2012 won six of their seven series played in the eastern time zone and were 17-6 in those games. In 2013, they have split their two series in the eastern time zone (in Baltimore and New York), with a 3-3 record.
  • The Dodgers' game against the Angels on Tuesday, May 28 at Dodger Stadium will be televised by ESPN, in addition to KCAL.

Game info

Time: 4:35 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket, MLB Network

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