5 stats to know: Rays vs Dodgers

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Clayton Kershaw is making a case again for the NL Cy Young Award.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will try to finish a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday Night Baseball (8 ET on ESPN) in a matchup featuring the two hottest teams in baseball. Here's a look at some of the stats our broadcast crew will be talking about during the game.

At Least 36 Wins in 44-Game Stretch
NL Last 70 Seasons

1-- The Dodgers are 36-8 in the last 44 games, their most wins in a 44-game stretch since 1953, a year in which they lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. It matches their most wins in a 44-game span in the modern era (since 1900).

2-- The Rays have cooled off after a 23-4 stretch, having lost six of their last eight games, including four straight. The team hasn’t lost five in a row since a six-game losing streak to begin the 2011 season.

3-- Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw enters with a 1.91 ERA. He’s trying to be the first starter to qualify for the ERA title with an ERA below 2.00 since Roger Clemens for the 2005 Houston Astros. The last Dodgers pitcher with an ERA below 2.00 was Sandy Koufax in 1966.

Kershaw is also leading the NL in ERA for the third straight season. If he can keep up this pace, he will be the third NL pitcher to lead the league in ERA for three-or-more seasons in a row. Greg Maddux (1993-95) and Koufax (1962-66) are the others.

Kershaw has the most breaking-ball strikeouts in the National League with 107. No other NL pitcher has cracked 100 yet. Yu Darvish leads the majors with 125.

4-- Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig is hitting .410 with 25 hits and 15 walks in his last 17 games. Puig only has six RBI in that stretch, primarily because teams are pitching around him a lot. Puig has seven walks in his last 20 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

There’s no doubt Puig has made quite an impression over his short time in the big leagues. Since his debut on June 3, he leads the NL in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, hits and runs. His .376 batting average would be the highest by an NL rookie (min. 350 AB), just ahead of the record .373 by George Watkins in 1930.

5-- Rays rookie outfielder Wil Myers is in the midst of a hot streak. He’s hitting .420 with five home runs and 17 RBI in his last 22 games. The .420 batting average is the highest in the majors since July 10.

Myers has excelled at hitting at hitting pitches up in the zone. Six of his eight home runs have come on pitches located in the upper third of the zone or higher and his batting average on those pitches (.367) is nearly 70 points higher than on pitches down in the zone.