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Robbie Ray ends Dodgers streak of facing right-handers

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers face Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray on Wednesday night, the first left-handed starter the club will have faced since Aug. 16.

That snaps a string of 11 consecutive games against right-handed starting pitchers for the Dodgers, which matches their longest of the season. The club also faced 11 straight right-handers from June 10-21.

We are a far cry from the beginning of 2017, when the Dodgers faced 12 left-handed starters in their first 23 games.

Even with the long breaks in between southpaws, the Dodgers are still tied with the Giants and Angels with 40 left-handed starters faced, trailing only the Indians (49) and Orioles (42). At 29-11, the Dodgers have the best record in MLB against left-handed starters. Then again, they also own the best record against right-handers, too (62-28).

Against left-handed pitchers in 2017, the Dodgers are hitting .258/.350/.461, third in MLB and first in the National League with a 114 wRC+. Against right-handers, the Dodgers are hitting .254/.337/.443 with a 106 wRC+, the latter also third in MLB and first in the NL.

Not that facing Ray is any sort of relief.

The left-hander has a 3.06 ERA and 3.88 FIP in 21 starts this season, with 160 strikeouts in 123⅔ innings. Ray has faced the Dodgers three times this season -- two Arizona victories — with a 4.15 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 10 walks in 17⅓ innings.

In his one start against the Dodgers at Chase Field this season -- on Apr. 22 — the Dodgers tagged Ray for five runs, but the Diamondbacks scored 11.

The Dodgers during these last 11 games have averaged just 3.81 runs per game, compared to 5.01 on the season. In those 11 games, the club is 8-for-29 with two doubles and six walks against lefty relief pitchers, hitting .276/.417/.345, compared to .232/.313/.384 against right-handers during that span.

The 36 plate appearances against southpaws over the last 11 games account for just 8.2 percent of the Dodgers’ total PA, compared to 29.3 percent on the season. The MLB average in 2017 is 28.7 percent.

Cody Bellinger missing the last nine of those games with a sprained ankle surely contributed as well, with the club averaging just 3.44 runs in his absence. His return on Wednesday night will surely help.

Though he bats left-handed, Bellinger has held his own against same-handed pitchers in the majors, hitting .270/.333/.533 against lefties with nine home runs in 135 plate appearances. Only Joey Votto and Anthony Rizzo have more home runs against left-handed pitchers among left-handed batters, with 10.