Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers began their three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with another brilliant outing from Zack Greinke. With a little help from the offense, the Boys in Blue came out victorious, 6-2. The Dodgers get another potential postseason matchup with their ace, Clayton Kershaw, making his 30th start of the season.

On the season, Kershaw is 14-6, with a 2.12 ERA, 2.10 FIP, 176 ERA+, and 0.89 WHIP. In his last start against the Colorado Rockies, Kershaw received a victory after throwing seven innings of one-run ball. The southpaw has won nine straight decisions and has not lost a decision since the month of June. With a win today, the Dodgers would earn a series victory and increase their lead to 9.5 games in the NL West.

In his career against the Pirates, the reigning National League MVP has had his fair share of ups and downs. In nine games started, Kershaw is 2-1, with a 2.78 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. On August 8, Kershaw faced off against the Pirates at PNC Park and received a no-decision. The 27-year-old threw six innings, allowing six hits, two walks, and four earned runs, while striking out five batters. Although his numbers aren’t impressive, Kershaw has improved each year he has faced the Pirates and will seek to continue the trend.

Taking the mound for the Pirates is nine-year veteran, Francisco Liriano. The southpaw pitcher is coming off of one of his worst starts of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers. He lasted only 2.1 innings, he surrendered seven hits, two walks, and four earned runs in a no-decision. A key note to observe during the game to determine Liriano’s success will be his control. He currently ranks fourth in the NL in walks and has given up at least three base on balls in five of the last seven games he has started.

On the season, the 31-year-old is 10-7, with a 3.45 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 112 ERA+, and 1.22 WHIP. For his career, the Dominican Republic native is 3-0 against the Dodgers, but those numbers do not tell the entire story. Before this season, Liriano only made three starts against the Dodgers, with one in 2006 and two in 2014. Although he did win all three of those starts, the pitcher faced the Dodgers this season and the script flipped on him.

On August 8, Liriano also opposed Kershaw and did not fair well. The one-time All-Star threw three innings, allowing seven hits, two walks, and four earned runs in a no-decision. The Dodgers need to be patient with Liriano, as his only start at Dodger Stadium in 2014 resulted in 5.2 innings of shutout baseball, along with a victory.

Making his first start since August 9 is second baseman Howie Kendrick. The 32-year-old was recovering from a hamstring injury. Justin Ruggiano, a spark plug against left-handed pitchers, is leading off again for the Dodgers.

Dodgers Lineup:

LF: Justin Ruggiano

2B: Howie Kendrick

1B: Adrian Gonzalez

3B: Justin Turner

SS: Corey Seager

C: A.J. Ellis

RF: Chris Heisey

CF: Joc Pederson

P: Clayton Kershaw

Pirates Lineup:

RF: Gregory Polanco

2B: Josh Harrison

CF: Andrew McCutchen

3B: Aramis Ramirez

LF: Starling Marte

1B: Michael Morse

C: Francisco Cervelli

SS: Jordan Mercer

P: Francisco Liriano

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About The Author

Eric Avakian is a senior at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in marketing and business administration. Growing up in Burbank, California, Eric grew up as an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan.

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