Howie ’bout that Howie Kendrick
By Cary Osborne
Leading off today is left fielder Howie Kendrick. And by now we can categorize him as a left fielder and look at him in comparison to others of his kind.
Since May 3, Kendrick has been the old Kendrick at the plate. He is batting .305/.368/.438/.806 since that date.
Only two players in baseball who have appeared in at least 30 games in left field since May 3 have a better batting average since that date than Kendrick — and it’s barely better. Miami’s Christian Yelich is batting .307 since then and Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte is hitting .3051 (65 for 213) to Kendrick’s .3047 (64 for 210).
After the Dodgers’ May 1 game against San Diego, (a game in which he went 0 for 3), he was batting .143. Coming into today, he’s hitting season-high .271. On July 9, he was at .246. His three-game barrage since then (10 for 14) has lifted him back to a number we expect of Kendrick.
We talked prior to the regular season about Kendrick’s consistency with the thought that Kendrick would likely end 2016 at or near .293/.333/.423 — his career slash line coming into 2016. A calf strain and limited appearances in Spring Training games likely led to Kendrick’s slow start this season and put reaching something close to those career numbers in major jeopardy.
As it stands today, he’s at .271/.329/.376 — and rising.
Just a couple of other notes:
Yasiel Puig’s start in center field is his first since September 28, 2014 — the last game of the 2014 regular season. Recent callup Zach Walters, who lined out in a pinch-hitting spot last night, gets the start in right field. In seven minor league seasons, he has logged 14 innings in right field. In 83 Major League games, he has played 18 total innings in right.
Chris Taylor is back in the lineup after getting a day off after his monster game on Friday and Adrian Gonzalez (hitting .370/.464/.522 in July) sits in favor of Scott Van Slyke at first base.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported via Twitter that Dave Roberts indicated that Clayton Kershaw won’t be back on Thursday, but didn’t rule out a return next weekend in St. Louis. Gurnick also reported that Brett Anderson will pitch a simulated game on Monday and go two innings.