Notes: Dodger pregame notes

A SAN FRANCISCO SWEEP? – The Dodgers today play the finale of their three-game series at San Francisco, continuing their six-game road trip that also includes a stop in Arizona over the weekend after an offday tomorrow. Los Angeles returns home on Monday to open a seven-game stay with the first of three vs. St. Louis.

The Dodgers today conclude a stretch of playing 20 days in a row, which began July 24 vs. Florida. Los Angeles is 8-11 thus far during the stretch.

Los Angeles has won two straight games for the first time since July 30 at St. Louis and July 31 at Atlanta. A win today would give the Dodgers their first winning streak of at least three games since a five-game streak from July 18-22. A victory today would also be the 70th for the Dodgers. The club last year got win No. 70 in their 140th game on September 3, a 6-4 triumph vs. San Diego.

ROSTER NEWS – Prior to yesterday’s game, the Dodgers purchased the contract of right-handed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned left-handed pitcher Eric Stults to Albuquerque. There were 39 players on the 40-man roster prior to the transaction, so no 40-man roster move was necessary.

Right-hander Chad Billingsley on Monday was scratched from starting today’s series finale with a mild left hamstring strain. Right-hander Jeff Weaver takes the mound in his place. Weaver is making his sixth start for the Dodgers, his first since July 11 at Milwaukee. The 32-year-old is 2-0 with a 3.47 ERA (9 ER/23.1 IP) in his five starts.

SIMPLY THE BEST – The Dodgers have the best record in the National League at 69-45, as well as the largest division lead of any first-place Major League team, 6.5 games better than West rival Colorado (62-51). The Dodgers are 1.5 games behind the Yankees (70-43) for the best record in the Majors.

The Dodgers are off to their best 114-game start since 1985, when they were an identical 69-45 after a 5-2 loss at San Francisco on August 17. A win tonight would give the Dodgers their best 115-game start since 1974, when they were 75-40 after a 3-1 win at St. Louis on August 11. Cardinals first baseman Joe Torre that day went 0-for-4.

HOME ON THE ROAD – The Dodgers have won three straight road games and five of their last six road contests, and are 33-23 overall away from Dodger Stadium. The 33 road wins are tied for the Major League lead with the Phillies (33-19). The Dodgers have won two straight against the team with the best home record in the NL (38-20).

At 33-23 on the road, the Dodgers are 10 games above .500 away from Dodger Stadium for the first time since ending the 2002 regular season 11 games up at 46-35.

Since giving up 10 runs in 8.0 innings in a 10-0 loss July 28 at St. Louis, the Dodgers pitching staff has posted a 1.70 ERA (13 ER/68.2 IP) in its last seven road games. The Los Angeles pitching staff ranks third in the Majors with a 3.86 road ERA (214 ER/499.1 IP) overall, trailing Colorado (3.73) and Arizona (3.76).

The Dodgers’ offense is batting .304 (207-for-682) in its last 18 road games beginning July 3, recording at least 10 hits in 10 of those contests.

The Dodgers have hit exactly half of their home runs on the road, slugging 47 of their 94 homers away from Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles has hit 30 homers in its last 26 road games after belting only 17 in its first 30 road contests.

START ME UP – With victories by Hiroki Kuroda and Randy Wolf in the last two games, Dodgers starting pitchers have posted back-to-back wins for the first time since July 20-22, when Jason Schmidt, Wolf, and Chad Billingsley won three in a row in a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium.

LET’S DO IT – Los Angeles had lost three series in a row at AT&T Park until winning the first two games of this series and assuring itself of a series victory. The Dodgers today go for their first sweep at AT&T Park since July 13-15, 2007. The three wins in that series were the final three victories of an 11-game winning streak in San Francisco that began on August 19, 2006.

The Dodgers are 16-13 against the Giants since the start of the 2008 season, when Joe Torre became manager.

Unlike going three months between series like this last time, the Dodgers and Giants will next meet in only one month, a three-game series from September 11-13 at AT&T Park. The two teams then close out their season series with a three-game set at Dodger Stadium from September 18-20.

ON THE VERGE? – Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are tied for the team lead with 75 RBI, with James Loney close behind with 69 RBI and Casey Blake right there with 65 RBI. Those players are vying to become to the first Dodger to record at least 100 RBI in a season since J.D. Drew drove in exactly 100 runs in 2006. Los Angeles last had a pair of teammates with 100 or more RBI in 2001, when Shawn Green (125) and Gary Sheffield (100) accomplished the feat.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have never had three players with at least 100 RBI in a season. The franchise last had a troika of 100-RBI players in 1955, when Brooklyn’s Duke Snider (136), Roy Campanella (107), and Gil Hodges (102) turned the trick en route to winning the World Series.

ON THE OFFENSIVE – The Dodgers lead the National League in hitting with a .278 average, ten points higher than the next closest team, the Houston Astros (.268). Los Angeles also leads the NL with a .353 on-base percentage. The Dodgers are tied for second in the NL with Colorado with 565 runs scored, trailing only Philadelphia (573).

The Dodgers rank 26th in the Majors with 94 home runs and are tied for 17th with a .414 slugging percentage.

THIS DATE IN DODGERS HISTORY – On August 12, 1995, thanks to an odd play the Dodgers defeat the Pirates 11-10 in 11 innings at Dodger Stadium. With one out in the 11th and the potential winning run at third base, Mitch Webster swings at a pitch in the dirt. When Pittsburgh rookie catcher Angelo Encarnacion casually picks up the ball with his mask Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda appeals citing the rule which awards a runner two bases if a fielder uses his mask to touch a thrown ball. The umpires agree and allow the winning run to score. Encarnacion is given an error.

TODAY ON THE TUBE – PRIME TICKET

TODAY ON THE DIAL – KABC 790 AM (English)

KHJ 930 AM (Spanish)

UPCOMING PITCHING PROBABLES (All times Pacific)

Date Time Opponent Scheduled Pitchers TV

Friday, August 14 6:40 p.m. at ARI LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.73) vs. RHP Dan Haren (11-7, 2.57) KCAL

Saturday, August 15 5:10 p.m. at ARI RHP Hiroki Kuroda (5-5, 4.21) vs. LHP Doug Davis (7-10, 3.62) KCAL

Sunday, August 16 1:10 p.m. at ARI LHP Randy Wolf (6-6, 3.43) vs. RHP Yusmeiro Petit (2-6, 5.87) KCAL

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