Preview: Clayton Kershaw Takes On Gerrit Cole In Battle Of Aces

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After the Los Angeles Dodgers took the series from the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the team now shifts their attention to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the last stop in their six-game road trip.

Making his 22nd start of the season is the reigning National League MVP, Clayton Kershaw. On the season, the southpaw is 9-6 with a 2.37 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Through this point in the season, Kershaw’s FIP is 2.12 and his ERA+ is 156. Coming into the contest on Friday, the 27-year-old attempts to extend his current 37-inning scoreless streak and tack on to his NL-leading 192 strikeouts. In his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, Kershaw was in his MVP form, as he delivered eight shutout innings allowing only two hits and striking out seven.

In his career against the Pirates, Kershaw has great numbers, although he has not received the wins. In eight starts, the three-time Cy Young winner is 2-1, with a 2.39 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Kershaw has not faced the Pirates since the 2013 season, in which he made one start at home and one away. In that start at PNC Park, the Texas native went seven innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, and striking out eight.

Opposing Kershaw is the ace of the Pirates, Gerrit Cole. In 21 starts this season, the right-handed pitcher is 14-5, with a 2.29 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Cole has remained effective throughout the season by establishing his fastball and using his slider in key situations, which is why he has put together a 2.65 FIP and 161 ERA+. In his last start, Cole had a rough outing against the Cincinnati Reds. In a loss, the 24-year-old pitcher went five innings, allowing seven hits, one walk, and two earned runs.

The California native has had success in his two starts against the Dodgers in his brief career. In those games Cole is 2-0, but has not had stellar outings. In 12 innings pitched, he has allowed 13 hits and six earned runs, showing the possibility that the Dodgers offense can succeed. This meeting of the aces can only be described as a potential postseason matchup, as this marks the first time since 1973 in August or later that the MLB strikeout leader and MLB wins leader have faced off.

Yasiel Puig is back in right field after a day off yesterday. Andre Ethier, who started in right field yesterday, moves back over to left field. On an interesting side note, Michael Morse, who was acquired in the Dodgers three-team, 13-player trade, is starting for the Pirates at first base.

The game is slated to be on ESPN, but is blacked out in the Los Angeles markets. ESPN recently announced that the Sunday game was picked up by Sunday Night Baseball, making it available for all fans to watch.

Dodgers Lineup:

SS: Jimmy Rollins

2B: Howie Kendrick

1B: Adrian Gonzalez

LF: Andre Ethier

C: Yasmani Grandal

RF: Yasiel Puig

3B: Alberto Callaspo

CF: Joc Pederson

P: Clayton Kershaw

Pirates Lineup:

RF: Gregory Polanco

LF: Starling Marte

CF: Andrew McCutchen

3B: Aramis Ramirez

P: Jung Ho Kang

1B: Michael Morse

2B: Sean Rodriguez

C: Chris Stewart

P: Gerrit Cole


Written by Staff Writer


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