Left-hander Clayton Kershaw will look to pad his gaudy stats both against the San Francisco Giants and at their Oracle Park on Wednesday night when he attempts to pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers to a bounce-back win in the three-game series matching National League West rivals.
The Dodgers blew three leads in Tuesday’s series opener, eventually succumbing to Brandon Belt’s two homers and Donovan Solano’s two-run, walk-off shot in the 11th inning, 10-8.
The dramatic victory allowed the Giants to extend their winning streak to seven games and even their season series with the first-place Dodgers at 4-4. The Dodgers saw a four-game win streak snapped with their first extra-inning defeat of the season.
Kershaw (3-1, 2.25) has a chance to record a 24th career victory over the Giants when he faces them for the second time this month.
He took the loss in the earlier meeting, allowing three homers — two by Austin Slater — in a 5-4 home setback that dropped his overall record against San Francisco to 23-13.
Kershaw has 23 wins apiece against the Giants and Rockies in his career. And no visitor has more than Kershaw’s 13 wins at San Francisco’s Oracle Park. He’s gone 13-5 there with a 1.57 ERA in 25 games, including 23 starts.
The 13 wins are his most at any visiting ballpark.
He has a 1.82 ERA in 50 games (48 starts) lifetime against the Giants.
Kershaw is coming off his best outing of the season, an 11-strikeout effort in 6-1 win at Seattle last Thursday.
“I knew it was in there,” Kershaw assured reporters of his turn-back-the-clock outing, “and so I think that’s what’s frustrating is the last couple of years it’s been hard to figure out why it hasn’t been coming out the way I want it to.”
The sight of Kershaw might give Giants manager Gabe Kapler pause about starting his hottest hitter, Belt, who has reached base in 11 of his last 12 plate appearances.
He has had absolutely no luck with Kershaw in their career matchups, going a homerless 4-for-60 (.067) with 29 strikeouts.
Kapler admitted after Tuesday’s win that he just sat back and watched his guys enjoy a much-deserved celebration in the clubhouse late into the night.
“Really fun game for the players. Good back-and-forth battle,” he sized up in his postgame press conference. “Everybody was celebrating once they got to the clubhouse. I really do let the players do their thing. Let’s just say it was loud from the manager’s office.”
The Giants will counter with right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-1, 4.65), who will be facing the Dodgers for the third time this season.
He dueled them in relief on Opening Night, a game the Giants lost 9-1, then pitched 6 1/3 strong innings as a starter without a decision in a 6-2 loss in August.
Gausman, in his first year with the Giants, is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA in four games, including three starts, in his career against Los Angeles.
–Field Level Media