LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to the mound in the series opener against the Padres on Monday night, as the club looks for an extended winning streak for only the second time this season.
The Dodgers won six straight games from July 25-31, with sweeps of San Francisco and Atlanta, but haven't won more than three games in a row outside of that stretch.
There have been several opportunities, as this current stretch is the Dodgers' 11th winning streak of exactly three games this season.
The intersection of Kershaw starting and the opportunity of a four-game winning streak has happened only once this season, on May 28 against the Reds. Kershaw allowed three runs in seven innings in a loss that night, dropping his record to 3-2.
The Dodgers have won 16 of Kershaw's last 17 starts, with Kershaw himself 14-1 with a 1.21 ERA and 19 total runs allowed during that span, with 156 strikeouts and 18 walks in 134 innings.
Kershaw is averaging 8.07 innings per start in his last 15 starts, and has lasted at least eight innings in each of his last five starts. In the last 26 years, the only streak longer by a Dodgers pitcher was six straight games, by Hideo Nomo from June 2-29 1995.
But my favorite statistic this season about Kershaw, 17-3 through 23 starts with likely four starts remaining, is this:
In the modern era (since 1901), there have only been two pitchers with at least 18 wins in no more than 27 games in a season. The last was Hall of Famer Eddie Plank, who was 19-6 in 26 games, including 25 starts, for the Philadelphia A's in 1906. The other was Jesse Tannehill, who was 20-6 in 26 games, including 24 starts, for the Pirates in 1902.
The Padres got off to a hot start after the All-Star break, winning 16 of 24 games, but are back to their low-scoring ways recently. They are 9-14 since, and come to Los Angeles on a five-game losing streak.
San Diego has scored three runs or less in 10 of their last 11 games and in 14 of their last 17 games. Just this weekend, they scored six total runs in three games at Coors Field and were shutout twice in Denver.
The Padres have scored 38 runs in their last 17 games, an average of 2.24 per game.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA