It took just five weeks into a long-awaited championship defense for a sense of urgency to surround the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hall of Fame-bound left-hander Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to make his first regular-season start on three days’ rest Saturday night when he’ll try to help the Dodgers stop a four-game skid in the middle game of the three-game Freeway Series against the host Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Kershaw (4-3, 2.95 ERA) is slated to oppose Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy (0-3, 4.00 ERA).
Griffin Canning allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings and combined with Patrick Sandoval on an eight-hitter Friday night, and David Fletcher had three RBIs and Shohei Ohtani delivered a pair of RBI doubles as the Angels cruised to a 9-2 victory.
The Dodgers are 4-14 since racing to a 13-2 start following their first World Series championship since 1988.
The four-game losing streak began with a 7-1 defeat in the opener of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday afternoon, when Kershaw gave up four runs in just one inning — the shortest outing of his 391 starts (361 regular season, 30 playoffs).
Trevor Bauer, who has expressed an interest in starting every fourth day, followed Kershaw in the nightcap. But Bauer threw 90 pitches in 4 1/3 innings in the 4-3, nine-inning loss, so the Dodgers — who have only four healthy starters with right-hander Dustin May sidelined for the rest of the season due to an elbow injury that will require Tommy John surgery — chose to turn back to Kershaw.
“Just feeling he can get back out there on short rest because he didn’t exert too much, as far as a large sample in that start,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday afternoon. “He feels good about it, and we feel good about it.”
Four of Kershaw’s postseason starts have come on three days’ rest. He has a 3.16 ERA in those outings, which came in NL Division Series games from 2013 through 2016.
The win Friday night snapped a five-game losing streak for the Angels, who were outscored 26-10 in the four-game series, all losses, against the Tampa Bay Rays this week.
On Friday, though, the Angels had a pair of four-run innings on their way to scoring more than four runs for just the second time in nine games.
“We got the mojo back on our side a little bit,” Canning said. “So hopefully we can keep bringing that same energy.”
Bundy took the loss in his most recent start last Sunday, when he allowed two runs over six innings as the Angels fell to the Seattle Mariners, 2-0.
Kershaw is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 career starts against the Angels. Bundy is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two games (one start) against the Dodgers.
–Field Level Media