After losing Hanley Ramirez in free agency and trading Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres, it was widely presumed and projected the Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn’t pack much offensive punch this season.
Adrian Gonzalez’s production has been more than enough for the Dodgers, though they’ve also received contributions throughout the order with Howie Kendrick among the standouts. Kendrick has batted cleanup in all 11 games this season with Gonzalez hitting in front of him.
While manager Don Mattingly previously placed an point of emphasis on keeping Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig paired together on the lineup card, the Gonzalez-Kendrick duo has been potent. Following Saturday’s win over the Colorado Rockies, Mattingly praised Gonzalez for delivering with runners on base.
“Pretty much expect him [Gonzalez] to drive in a run if we’ve got guys out there… All the time, honestly,” Mattingly said. “Last year was the same, and this this year he’s just picked up right where he left off. It just seems like every time we get a guy out there, he’s getting a hit for us.”
Kendrick has certainly been overshadowed by Gonzalez, but his value isn’t lost on Mattingly. The Dodgers manager went on to bunch him with Gonzalez saying, “Him [Gonzalez] and Howie both. Together, they’ve been a real dynamic duo with producing big hits in situations where we need them.”
Gonzalez has a 13-game hitting streak that dates back to 2014 and he set a Major-League record with five home runs through the first three games of a season. His 23 hits tied Eric Karros for most by a Dodgers player in the first 11 games of a season.
Meanwhile Kendrick ranks in the top-25 with 15 hits this season and his six doubles are tied for fifth-most in the Majors. He and Gonzalez have a combined six home runs, 13 doubles and 23 RBIs. As a team, the Dodgers lead the National League in home runs (14), on-base percentage (.363) and slugging percentage (.486).
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