Howie Kendrick continued his hot streak on Tuesday, and has been a major driver of the Dodgers' resurgence of late. The club will go for a second straight win on Wednesday night against the Nationals, trying for their fifth victory in five tries against Washington this season.
Kendrick was 2-for-4 with a walk and scored a pair of runs in Tuesday's win, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, his longest streak since a 15-gamer with the Angels in 2012.
In each of his last five games, Kendrick has reached base at least twice.
The result is Kendrick hitting .455/.520/.636 during the streak (20-for-44), and hitting .418/.492/.600 in July. The Dodgers as a team are hitting .289/.370/.459 as a team this month, going 9-5 while averaging 5.07 runs per game.
But it has been a steady climb all season for Kendrick, who was impaired during spring training and began the season on the disabled list with a strained left calf. Then he got off to a tremendously slow start to the season, 8-for-56 (.143) with no extra-base hits and no RBI through his first 19 games, through May 1.
Since that slow start, Kendrick is hitting .307/.373/.436 in 63 games, looking very much like the Kendrick the Dodgers were excited to have fall into their laps after a sluggish free agent market during the offseason.
What is very different about this season for Kendrick is that the career second baseman leads the Dodgers with 35 starts and 301 defensive innings in left field so far.
Kendrick, who entered 2016 with 1,061 career starts at second base, this year has started in left field for the first time since 2011, has started and played first base for the first time since 2011, and has played third base for the first time since 2006.
With 35 starts in left field, 18 starts at second base and 10 starts at third base, Kendrick is just the fourth Dodger ever with at least 10 starts at all three of those positions, joining Jim Bucher (1935, Jim Gilliam (1958), and Jerry Hairston (2012).
Gilliam is the only one with at least 20 starts at all three spots.
He was an everyday player for the vast majority of his career, qualifying for the batting title in each of his last 11 seasons, but was rarely a fixture at a single position. He mostly moved between second and third base over the years, but also played left and right field. In 1958, Gilliam started 65 games in left, started 39 games at third base and made 26 starts at second base, playing at least 243 innings at all three positions.
Kendrick has also started at least two games at every position in the batting order but ninth in 2016.
He has basically done anything and everything the Dodgers have asked of him this season. Even though at times it seemed manager Dave Roberts was showing uncommon patience with Kendrick, that is starting to pay off.
Time: 4:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA