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Dodgers hitting doubles at prolific rate

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Gonzalez hit two doubles on Sunday, giving him 35 on the season, the fifth season of his career with 35 doubles, including three of the last four years. It's part of a trend this season for the Dodgers, with a franchise doubles record in sight.

Gonzalez hitting doubles is nothing new. Since the start of 2006, his 335 doubles are the fourth-most in baseball, behind only Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera and Matt Holliday. He averaged 38 doubles a year for the last eight years, and with 30 games left this season is on pace for 43 doubles in 2014.

There have only been nine seasons of 40 or more doubles by a Dodger since the team moved to Los Angeles, topping out with Shawn Green at 49 doubles in 2003.

Gonzalez has hit 40 doubles three times in his career, including a career-best 47 two seasons ago.

But he's not alone.

Yasiel Puig has 32 doubles and leads the team with 54 extra-base hits. Matt Kemp has 28 doubles and Hanley Ramirez has 27.

Puig is on pace for 39 doubles. No LA Dodgers team has ever had two players with 40 doubles, and in Brooklyn only 1929 and 1930 saw two players reach the milestone.

There have only been five Dodgers teams with four players hitting 30 doubles, including the 1932 squad that saw five players hit 30. One of those five players was Lefty O'Doul, who five years earlier went 30-30 in the Pacific Coast League.

The 1930 club was the only Dodgers team in franchise history with four players to all reach 33 doubles - Del Bissonette, Johnny Frederick, Wally Gilbert and Babe Herman - the number Ramirez is on pace for this season. No Dodgers team has had four players with 34 doubles, which is within reach for the 2014 team.

Still within reach of this year's team is three players with 35 doubles, done only once in franchise history: in 2008, when Kemp (38), Andre Ethier (38) and James Loney (35) turned the trick.

Ethier is the only Dodger in history with seven seasons of 30 or more doubles, but his streak will end this year, due mostly to reduced playing time. Ethier has 15 doubles in 346 plate appearances this year, after averaging 35 doubles and 585 PA the last seven years. But when factoring in Ethier's six triples, his non-home-run extra-base hits have been hit at pretty much the same rate this year (one double or triple every 16.5 PA) as the rest of his career (one every 15.9 PA).

The Dodgers as a team have 243 doubles, behind only the Rockies and Brewers in the National League. On pace for 298 doubles, the Dodgers have a chance to become the third team in franchise history to hit 300 two-baggers in a season.

The 2006 team holds the record with 307 doubles, including 20 from the rookie Ethier and between 26-34 from five other players: J.D. Drew, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent and Russell Martin.

The National League as a whole averaged 4.76 runs per game in 2006, and the other four Dodgers seasons in doubles per game came between 1929-34, years when the NL averaged between 4.60 and 5.68 runs per season.

The 2014 NL is averaging 3.98 runs per game, the lowest mark since 1992.  So this year, all things considered, could be the best doubles-hitting season in Dodgers history.