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Dodgers continue to lean left

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Southpaws have started more than half the Dodgers’ games in 2016

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
Rich Hill makes his second Dodgers start on Saturday night.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Rich Hill takes the mound on Saturday night against the Padres, continuing a left-leaning trend for the Dodgers starting rotation all season.

Saturday will be the 69th start for a left-handed Dodgers pitcher in 2016, in their 135th game, just over 51 percent of the time. Clayton Kershaw hasn’t pitched in 10 weeks, but the southpaw surplus has been a group effort.

In addition to Kershaw’s 16 starts, the Dodgers have received 25 starts from Scott Kazmir, 13 from Friday’s starter Julio Urias, 10 from Alex Wood, two from Brett Anderson and one apiece from Hyun-jin Ryu and Hill.

Only 10 times in the previous 103 years have the Dodgers had at least half of their games started by left-handed pitchers. All 10 of those seasons came in Los Angeles, with a high of 112 in 1965, when Sandy Koufax (41 starts), Claude Osteen (40) and Johnny Podres (22) led the southpaw attack.

In more recent years, the 2013 Dodgers got 88 starts from left-handers, with Kershaw (33), Ryu (30) and Chris Capuano (20) leading the charge.

The Dodgers actually hold the record on the other end of the spectrum, going a record 681 consecutive games without a left-handed starter, in between Bobby Ojeda on Sept. 24, 1992 and Dennys Reyes making his big league debut on July 13, 1997.

The Brewers came reasonably close to challenging that record, but saw their streak snapped this season at 474 games when Brent Suter started on Aug. 19.

Dodgers left-handed starters in 2016 have a 3.69 ERA and have averaged 5.74 innings per start, with a 41-27 record, down to a 4.55 ERA and 5.17 innings per start, 27-25 without Kershaw. The club’s right-handed starters have a collective 4.57 ERA and have averaged 5.11 inning per start, with the club 33-33.

The lesson: it is really good to have Kershaw a part of the starting staff, something that could happen in relative short order, depending on how his planned three innings or roughly 50 pitches go on Saturday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Add Kershaw to Hill and maybe Scott Kazmir coming back soon, and the Dodgers will add to their lefty totals.

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA