Streaking Dodgers look to open second half on high note

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Five previous times the Dodgers have won three consecutive games, and five times the team was denied a fourth straight victory. The Dodgers take their sixth three-game winning streak into Friday night's game against the Cardinals, looking to put together a true extended run.

The Dodgers were close last Friday night to a fourth straight win, with a two-run lead in the ninth inning (and a 5-1 lead earlier in the game), but were unable to close it out. Since that blown save, Kenley Jansen has retired 11 of his 13 batters faced, including seven strikeouts.

Hyun-jin Ryu goes for a third straight win of his own on Friday night. Since returning from the disabled list Ryu is 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA in seven starts, with 35 strikeouts and seven walks. The left-hander has pitched exactly six innings in each of his last five starts, and has walked two or fewer in 11 straight starts.

Since the 2013 All-Star break, Ryu has 25 unintentional walks in 26 starts.

Ryu won both starts against the Cardinals in 2013, allowing one unearned run with seven strikeouts in seven innings in St. Louis on Aug. 8, and with seven scoreless innings with four strikeouts and a walk in Game 3 of the NLCS.

Halfway mark

We are at the halfway mark of the season, 81 games in, also known as the easiest time to see what everyone is on pace to do, unless multiplying by two is outside your realm of expertise.

For instance, at 45-36 the Dodgers are on pace for 90 wins.

Adrian Gonzalez is the team leader with 13 home runs, putting him on pace for 26. On the surface that may seem low but keep in mind the Dodgers home run leaders the last two seasons hit 22 and 23 long balls.

Not that the team isn't hitting home runs. With 69 home runs the Dodgers are in a three-way tie for seventh in the National League, exactly at the league average number. With Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig at 11 home runs, the Dodgers are on pace to have three hitters with 20 home runs for the first time since 2001, when they had four (Shawn Green, Gary Sheffield, Paul Lo Duca and Marquis Grissom).

Hanley Ramirez leads the Dodgers with 21 doubles, but is closely followed by Puig (19), Matt Kemp (19) and Gonzalez (18). The Dodgers haven't had four players with 30 doubles in the same season since 2003 (Adrian Beltre, Green, Jolbert Cabrera, Lo Duca). The Dodgers have never had four players with 35 or more doubles.

The highest number of doubles achieved by a quartet of Dodgers in the same season is 33, which was reached in 1930 by Babe Herman (48), Johnny Frederick (44), Wally Gilbert (34) and Del Bissonette (33).

Dee Gordon despite his resurgence and his stolen base success (he is on pace for 80 steals) is on pace for only 88 runs scored. Then again, the Dodgers haven't had a single player score 90 runs since Kemp in 2011. As a leadoff man though, Gordon has scored 42 runs in 64 starts, a 106-run pace, so if he continues to perform and continues to bat leadoff, look for more runs scored for Gordon.

Gordon is also on pace for 18 triples, which is more than any Dodger has hit since Hi Myers in 1920. The last Dodger with even 13 triples was Willie Davis, with 16 triples in 1970.

On the pitching side, Zack Greinke (9-4), Ryu (9-3) and Clayton Kershaw (8-2) put the Dodgers on pace for three starters with 16 wins, something they haven't done since 1982 (Fernando Valenzuela 19, Jerry Reuss 18, Bob Welch 16). The last Dodgers team with three 15-game winners was 1996 (Hideo Nomo 16, Ramon Martinez 15, Ismael Valdes 15).

Jansen is on pace for 48 saves, which would be the most by a Dodger since Eric Gagne set a franchise record with 55 saves in his Cy Young Award-winning season in 2003. Gagne was also the last Dodger with 40 saves, with 45 in 2004. Jansen is also on pace for 112 strikeouts, which would beat his 2013 season by one for a new career high.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA

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