Dodgers' All-Star Break news and notes

Will The Black Cat Change Its Color? - The eight position players in the Dodgers' Opening Day lineup have compiled 161 days on the disabled list this season, more than any other team in baseball. Overall in the first half, the Dodgers missed 617 games to the disabled list, just 28 days less than they missed in the entire 2004 season. The club has also used the DL 18 times for 16 different players, whereas last season Los Angeles only used the disabled list 12 times for 11 players.

Run Production At Its Finest - All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent leads the Dodgers and ranks ninth in the NL with 60 RBI, giving him the most runs batted in at the All-Star Break by a Dodger since Shawn Green had 68 in 2002. Kent is just the fourth second baseman to start four different All-Star Games, joining Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg and Craig Biggio and just the fourth to start for three different teams, joining Robert Alomar, Eddie Stanky and Manny Trillo. He is the first Dodger second baseman to make an All-Star team since Juan Samuel in 1991 and first to start since Steve Sax in 1983. At the break, Kent is tied for second in the NL with a .387 average with runners in scoring position.

Rookie Reliever Close to Record - Yhency Brazoban leads all Major League rookies with 16 saves on the season, one shy of the club rookie record (17) set by Steve Howe in 1980.

Best (With)in The West - The Dodgers have posted a 24-18 record against National League West opponents, tying them with Arizona for the best mark within their division. Only St. Louis (26-9 vs. the NL Central) has a better record within its division. Atlanta is also 24-18 vs. the NL East.

Catching Some Run Production - Catcher Jason Phillips hit a two-run homer in the finale of the first half, giving him 39 RBI to tie him with the New York Yankees' Jorge Posada for the second-most among all Major League catchers. Only Mike Matheny (42) had more RBI behind the dish in the first half.

The Best Fans In Baseball - The Dodgers have drawn 1,922,230 fans to Dodger Stadium through their first 42 home dates, an average of 45,767 fans per game. That is the best average in the National League and second in the Majors behind the Yankees' 48,661 mark. Earlier this season, the Dodgers were recognized by Guinness World Records Book as having registered the "Highest Cumulative Attendance for a Baseball Franchise."

Bring On The Rookies - More than one-third of the Dodgers' current 25-man roster is considered rookies, as nine different players qualify for Rookie of the Year honors. They include Jason Repko, Mike Edwards, Oscar Robles, Mike Rose, Cody Ross, D.J. Houlton, Chin-Feng Chen, Yhency Brazoban and Franquelis Osoria. Additionally, three other Dodgers have made their Major League debuts this season - Derek Thompson, Norihiro Nakamura and Steve Schmoll - but are not currently on the big league roster.

Izzy Does - Despite being on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, shortstop Cesar Izturis is a member of the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career. He is the first Dodger shortstop to make the team since Jose Offerman in 1995. At the break, he is tied for 10th in the National League with 28 multi-hit games and ranks seventh with a .342 batting average during day games.

Turning Two - Jeff Kent and Cesar Izturis are the seventh All-Star Dodger double play combo in club history, joining Davey Lopes and Bill Russell (1980), Jim Lefebvre and Maury Wills (1966), Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese (1949-52), Reese and Eddie Stanky (1947), Reese and Billy Herman (1942) and Pete Coscarart and Leo Durocher (1940).

Pinch Me - The Dodgers had the fourth-most pinch-hits in the National League with 33, led by Ricky Ledee, who had seven pinch-hits in the first half. Ledee's .538 average off the bench (7-for-13) is the highest of any player in the league with 10 or more pinch-hit at-bats.

Quick Learners - Despite lacking much Major League experience entering 2005, several Dodger rookies have enjoyed promising first halves. Those include Mike Edwards, who is batting .294 in 48 games, Jason Repko, who has shined defensively and has 11 hits in his last 27 at-bats (.407) and Oscar Robles, who is hitting .357 and has seven multi-hit games in 38 games, including 14 starts. On the mound, Yhency Brazoban ranks ninth in the NL in saves and D.J. Houlton has gone 4-2 as a starter.

Close Encounters - More than half of the Dodgers' 88 games this season have been decided by two runs or less. In one-run games, the Dodgers are 10-10, while the team has posted an 11-15 mark in two-run contests, giving them a 21-25 record in "close encounters."

Starting Things Off Right - Dodger starting pitchers have kept their team in the game for much of the last month, posting a 3.95 ERA in their last 22 starts dating back to June 18. Leading the way is Jeff Weaver, who has had seven consecutive quality starts (6.0+ IP/3 or less ER) to finish out the first half.

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