LOS ANGELES -- Much of the focus of Saturday night's game against the Padres will be on the mound, where Paul Maholm makes his first start since May 14. But for the Dodgers to head into the All-Star break on a positive note they will need their offense to come through more than anything.
The club has scored six runs in the last three games, and if extended into Tuesday's debacle in Detroit the Dodgers have six runs in their last 34 innings, with just four doubles during that span.
Doubles have been a big part of the Dodgers offense this season. They lead the National League with 179 doubles, second in the majors only to the Tigers (194). The team is on pace for 305 doubles, which would be just shy of the franchise record of 307, set in 2006.
The Dodgers have only reached 300 doubles in a season one other time, hitting 303 two-baggers in 1930, arguably the most offensive-friendly year/era in major league history (the only other time they came close to 300 was two years later, with 296 doubles in 296).
Since moving to Los Angeles the Dodgers have only had nine seasons of a player hitting 40 doubles, James Loney the last with 41 doubles in 2010. This year, Yasiel Puig (26 doubles) is on pace for 44 doubles, and Hanley Ramirez (23) on pace for 39, with Matt Kemp (21) and Adrian Gonzalez (20) not far behind.
Dodger Stadium itself has been a reason for a relative paucity of doubles by the Dodgers in Los Angeles. There have only been six seasons a Dodger has hit at least 20 doubles at home since 1962. Shawn Green tops the list with 26 doubles at Dodger Stadium in 2003, part of his 49 doubles that also doubles as the franchise best in Los Angeles.
This year three Dodgers are on pace for 20 doubles at home: Puig has 14 doubles at home, on pace for 24; Ramirez and Kemp have 12 each, on pace for 21.
So far this season the Dodgers are 6-0 when they hit five or more doubles(rest of MLB .790), 9-3 (.750) when they hit four or more (rest of MLB .734), and 19-10 (.655) when they hit three or more doubles (rest of MLB .666).
Ian Kennedy, starting for the Padres on Saturday night, has allowed 27 doubles in 2014, tied for sixth-most in the National League. He has also allowed four triples, also tied for sixth-most in the NL.
The Dodgers have 25 triples, one behind Arizona for the league lead, and more than they had any either of the last two full seasons. The main culprit has been Dee Gordon, who leads the majors with nine triples on the season, with Puig not far behind, one of several tied for 10th with five triples.
If Gordon can hit a triple in one of these two remaining games this weekend, he will join Willie Davis as the only Dodgers with double-digit triples before the All-Star break. Davis had 10 triples before the break in 1970, on his way to 16 triples on the season, which remains as the LA Dodgers record for triples in a season.
On the mound
As for Maholm on the mound, the Dodgers hope he can last somewhere between 80-90 pitches. He has been pitching in relief, mostly mop-up duty for two months, never in his last 14 appearances pitching with a lead of less than four runs nor with a deficit of less than two.
Maholm the first time through the batting order this season has been relatively effective, holding batters to hitting .264/.357/.352 with one home run in 144 plate appearances, along with 20 strikeouts and 15 walks.
But the second time through the order, batters are hitting .339/.375/.576 with three home runs in 64 plate appearances, with six strikeouts and four walks.
Maholm has been hurt badly the third time through the order, with opponents hitting .372/.438/.698 with four home runs, two strikeouts and five walks in 48 plate appearances.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network