Howie Kendrick walked in Tuesday’s series opener against the Padres, and if he gets one more walk he will be the fifth Dodgers player this season with 50 walks, a group that could add another member by the time this week ends.
Justin Turner enters Wednesday’s game with 48 walks, like Kendrick setting a new career high in bases on balls in 2015. Should Turner get two more walks and Kendrick get one more, the Dodgers would be just the third Los Angeles Dodgers team with six or more players with at least 50 walks.
Five teams did so in Brooklyn, all from the 1947-56 ‘Boys of Summer’ teams.
The 2016 Dodgers aren’t some walking juggernaut. They rank fifth in the National League with 518 free passes in 2016, a little above the National League average of 502 per team.
But having potentially six players with 50 walks — the four who already made it are Joc Pederson (63 walks), Yasmani Grandal (61), Adrian Gonzalez (55) and Corey Seager (54) — is still pretty rare.
The Cubs have six such players this season, while the Red Sox, Pirates and Blue Jays have five players each.
It hits close to home, too, because the first post I ever wrote for True Blue LA, back in December 2008, challenged the Dodgers offense to have all eight starting position players with 50 walks, something that was done just once in the NL in the previous 50 years. The 2009 club did just that, and we raised some money for Think Cure along the way.
Padres pitchers have walked the fourth-most batters in the NL (558) in 2016.
But among the 19 pitchers to throw at least 20 innings for San Diego this year, Luis Perdomo — Wednesday night’s starter — has the second-best walk rate on the staff (7.0%). Remove his seven intentional walks, and Perdomo’s unintentional walk rate (6.0%) is even better.
Dodgers pitchers have issued the third-fewest walks in the NL (447), and their walk differential (+71) is fourth in the league, behind the Cubs (+154), Giants (+120) and Mets (+75).
Dodgers (90-67) at Padres (67-90)
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA