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Dodgers Turn to Kershaw to Start New Streak

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Clayton Kershaw has won two straight starts for the third time of his career.  He won three straight last July.
Clayton Kershaw has won two straight starts for the third time of his career. He won three straight last July.

The Dodgers try to start a another winning streak tonight, in the final game of the two-game series with the Padres.  In a rematch of Saturday's outing in San Diego, Clayton Kershaw faces off with Kevin Correia.

Kershaw has pitched seven or more innings and allowed three hits or less in each of his last two starts.  The only LA Dodger to have a longer streak was Sandy Koufax, who threw three straight three-hit shutouts in 1963.  Kershaw has five quality starts, second to Hiroki Kuroda (with six) for the club lead, and he has allowed two runs or less in six of eight starts this season.

Not at Full Strength

The Dodgers have two starters on the disabled list, in Andre Ethier and Rafael Furcal, and last night Dodger fans held their breath when it was announced that Manny Ramirez was a late scratch, just four days after Ethier's late scratch led to his DL trip.  Manny hurt his toe, and is expected to return to the lineup tonight, but if you want to point to a difference between being 27-13 in 2009 and 22-18 in 2010, health would be one.

Starts by Opening Day Lineup, 1st 40 Games
Pos Player 2009 2010
C Martin 34 35
1B Loney 37 39
2B Hudson/DeWitt   
40 31
3B Blake 34 33
SS Furcal 34 18
LF Manny 27 20
CF Kemp 38 40
RF Ethier 38 30
Totals 282 (88.1%) 246 (76.9%)

That's 36 fewer starts by regulars in the first 40 games compared to last season, almost like playing a man down every game, on average.  Even factoring in Manny's suspension and the late benching of Orlando Hudson last season, the eight Dodger regulars started 1,099 games, 84.8% of the total possible.  Among National League teams, only the Phillies got more starts out of their regulars (1,139) than the Dodgers.

Notes

  • Through April 22, Blake DeWitt was hitting .268/.412/.268 with no extra-base hits, 10 walks, and four strikeouts in 51 PA.
  • Since then, DeWitt was hitting .275/.315/.435 with nine extra-base hits (seven doubles, two triples), four walks, and 14 strikeouts in 73 PA
  • With Furcal out, Jamey Carroll has started 22 straight games before tonight.  It is the second longest streak of his career, behind only a stretch of 28 straight starts with the Rockies in 2006
  • Matt Kemp is tied with Ryan Braun for the major league lead in runs scored, with 34
  • The Padres have placed outfielder Kyle Blanks on the disabled list, and called up pitcher Adam Russell to take his roster spot, per Dan Hayes of the North County Times.

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Game Time: 7:10pm

TV:  Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday