The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have met nine time this season. The defending World Series champions having won seven games and one-third of the matchups have pitted Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw against one another.
Bumgarner is 2-0 in the three starts (Giants also won the game he walked away with a no-decision). While Kershaw recorded seven strikeouts and pitched into the eighth inning, he also ended up on the wrong side of history.
The reigning National League MVP faced a pitcher 410 times over his career and didn’t surrender a home run until Bumgarner’s third-inning solo shot that gave the Giants a 1-0 lead. It was the seventh home run in Bumgarner’s career and Kershaw later admitted he should’ve had more respect for the Giants’ ace, via SportsNet LA:
It was a fastball right down the middle. I should’ve had a little more respect for him, I guess.”
Last season Bumgarner hit four home runs, including two grand slams and two doubles, and had 15 RBIs. A.J. Ellis joked the 6’5 left-hander has often flashed his power in batting practice and may have more pop in his bat than a few of his teammates.
Kershaw has spoken highly of his counterpart to the north in defeat this season and Thursday wasn’t any different as he again verbally tipped his cap to Bumgarner. Now nine starts into the season Kershaw is 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and has 73 strikeouts in 58.1 innings.
While there’s been plenty of concern over Kershaw’s struggles this season, his 2.88 FIP offers some reason for optimism. Conversely, Bumgarner is 5-2 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 52 strikeouts over 57.0 innings, also in nine starts. Additionally, his FIP is 3.36.
The Dodgers and Giants don’t meet again until June 19 at Dodger Stadium, which is a date too far down the line to currently predict if Bumgarner and Kershaw will square off a fourth time this season.
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