The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost five of their last seven games and are dealing with a litany of injuries that suddenly has made their generally presumed National League West division title somewhat of a question mark.
Zack Greinke, the latest Dodger to deal with some form of injury, had his scheduled start pushed back to Saturday, which will allow two days of extra rest for his ailing elbow. Taking the mound in place of Greinke is Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ unquestioned leader of the pitching staff.
The Dodgers have fallen into the bad habit of trailing early in games, which manager Don Mattingly understandably isn’t pleased with, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I’m not saying it’s frustrating, but it’s not a place you want to be, that’s for sure.”
Kershaw has gone at least seven innings in each of his starts dating back to May 23. An outing against the Colorado Rockies on June 8 was only five innings, however the game was called due to rain, which in turn gave Kershaw a complete-game win.
Mattingly commented on what’s been expected of Kershaw, though cautioned the southpaw isn’t guaranteed to be perfect:
You never know. He’s human and there are times he’s going to struggle, too, but he’s always important to us, because it seems like he’s a guy who’s always there to pick us up,” Mattingly said.
During Kershaw’s 11-game winning streak, eight of his wins followed games the Dodgers lost. The Milwaukee Brewers snapped Kershaw’s streak on Aug. 16, when he also took the mound following a loss.
As the Dodgers have struggled to win games, the San Francisco Giants have won four of their last five games, not including Tuesday’s that was protested and will completed Thursday, and are now just three games back of the Dodgers in the NL West standings.
Should Kershaw earn a win Thursday it would be his 15th of the season, which would tie him for the Major League lead.
Dodgers Nation History: MLB Facts About Clayton Kershaw’s No-Hitter