Looming on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ remaining schedule are six games with the San Francisco Giants; three of which will come this weekend at AT&T Park. While the Dodgers can’t afford to look ahead as they have two games with the San Diego Padres before traveling north, Clayton Kershaw can.
The Dodger ace struck out eight and allowed one run in eight innings of work Monday night. The win was Kershaw’s 18th on the season, which leads all pitchers, and it moved him to 3-0 on the season against the Padres.
Kershaw’s next scheduled start is Sunday — in the finale of the three-game series against their division rival. Manager Don Mattingly purposely aligned the starting rotation so Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Kershaw, would take the ball, in that order, in both series with the Giants.
With no other start standing between him and the Giants, Kershaw felt at liberty to discuss the upcoming clash, via the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
Obviously, they’ve been marked on our calendar for awhile,” Kershaw said of the September showdowns. “It’s nice to know they’re my next start. I don’t have to keep it in the back of my mind now.”
As it stands, Kershaw likely has three remaining starts in the regular season — Sunday against the Giants, Sept. 19 in Chicago, and the Giants once more on Sept. 24 at Chavez Ravine. The southpaw’s last outing against the Giants came July 26 when he struck out 13 in a complete-game win.
Prior to that, Kershaw faced the Giants May 11 and took home a no-decision in a Dodgers’ loss. In his career, the reigning NL Cy Young award winner is 12-5 with a 1.40 ERA against the Dodgers’ long-time rival and holds a lifetime 7-2 record and 0.69 ERA at AT&T Park.
Along with the perennial success Kershaw has had in their home ballpark, the Giants figure to stand a tough task facing the left-hander. Including Monday, Kershaw has gone at least eight innings in 12 of his last 15 starts.
With the National League West division title still up for grabs, there’s little reason to expect anything but Kershaw’s best in the final weeks of the regular season.
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