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Howie Kendrick heating up for Dodgers

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The left fielder has 15 hits in his last 27 at-bats

Los Angeles Dodgers  v Philadelphia Phillies
Howie Kendrick has 21 extra-base hits in his last 37 games.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Chase Utley stole the show in Tuesday’s series opener against the Phillies, but Howie Kendrick had another strong game for the Dodgers.

Kendrick has a career .329 wOBA with a 108 wRC+, and last year he put up a .325 wOBA and 109 wRC+. After Tuesday night, he’s at .330 and 108.

In other words, another Howie Kendrick season. Even if the path was anything but normal.

After an excruciatingly slow start — Kendrick was 8-for-56 (.143) through May 1 with no extra-base hits and no RBI on the season — he gradually started to get better, building back up for the next two months.

Since July 1 he has been even better, hitting .352/.414/.577 with 15 doubles, five home runs and a triple in 37 games.

The main difference has been simply hitting the ball harder. Through June, Kendrick had monthly ground ball rates in the 60s with line drive rates hovering around 19-20 percent. In July his ground ball rate lowered to 53.4 percent with a 24.7-percent line drive rate, and in August the grounders are down to 43.9 percent, with a 24.4-percent line drive rate.

He has a six-game hitting streak, with five multi-hit games during that span, including his four hits last night.

Kendrick is hitting .297/.354/.462 on the road this season, compared to .269/.328/.382 at home.

Oh yeah, and Kendrick is hitting eighth in the Dodgers lineup, one that looks much deeper these days, and averaging 5.52 runs per game since the All-Star break, more than every other MLB team except the Rockies.

Tonight’s the Dodgers are using the same batting order as Tuesday night, and the fifth time this order has been used. That ties it with two other batting orders as the most common used by the Dodgers in 2016.