Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts to an bucket of ice from center fielder Matt Kemp (27) after the game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

What Will Clayton Kershaw Do For An Encore?

Dodgers Lineup vs. Pirates

Crawford 7
M.Ellis 4
Kemp 8
Gonzalez 3
Ethier 9
A.J. Ellis 2
Cruz 5
Sellers 6
Kershaw 1

A.J. Burnett-0-1 vs. Clayton Kershaw-1-0


Last night we saw the debut of Birdman Zack Greinke and it was a resounding success. Greinke pitched 6.1 frames of shut-out ball, while the offense finally awoke from it’s slumber. Well, somewhat. Andre Ethier hit his first home run of the season, and Matt Kemp, and Adrian Gonzalez, both ended slumps with consecutive RBI doubles. For Kemp it ended an 0 for 10 slump. The Dodgers took game one last night by a score of 3-0.

Tonight the Dodgers hope to keep that momentum going in the second game of this three game series. They’ll have to face the Buc’s ace right hander, A.J. Burnett. The Bucs number one is 36 years old, and originally from Little Rock Arkansas. Burnett has played for quite a few teams over the years, namely, the Marlins, Blue Jays, Yankees, and now the Pirates, over the course of his 15 season career. Burnett has had many accomplishments over the years. For starters, he pitched a no-hitter back in 2001 against the Padres. He led the American League in whiffs with 231 during the 2008 season. The veteran right hander has also won two world championships, with the Marlins and Yankees. (2003, 2009). Recently on opening day this week, Burnett set a record for whiffing ten Cubs in a 3-1 loss for the Pirates. Against the Dodgers in his career, Burnett is 4-3 with a 3.92 ERA, in nine starts.

The Dodgers are hitting .235 (35 for 149) collectively off of Burnett, with a .640 OPS, and one home run. Carl Crawford has hit him well in the past. Crawford is batting .290 (18 for 62) with three doubles, and five RBI. He has also hit the only home run off of Burnett. Matt Kemp is 0 for 4, and Andre Ethier 0 for 5 against the Pirate’s right hander. Burnett throws a lot of junk, including a slow knuckle-curve, so the Boys in Blue will have to watch out for that.

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers will counter with Ace lefty Clayton Kershaw. The 25 year old Dodger ace is coming off of a historic win on opening day against the Giants. Kershaw become the first pitcher since 1953 to pitch a complete game shut-out and hit a home run on opening day. Kershaw is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in six starts against the Bucs. Kersh has always dominated the Bucs. He has held them to a collective .238 (20 for 84) batting average against, with four home runs, and a .702 OPS.

Clint Barmes, and Andrew McCutchen have given him the worst time. Barmes is hitting .280 (7 for 25) with a home run off of Kershaw. Don’t ask me how Clint Barmes is hiting .280 off Kershaw. McCutchen, the Bucs center fielder, and MVP candidate, has hit Kershaw to the tune of .357 (5 for 14), with a home run. Garrett Jones, and Gaby Sanchez have also hit home runs against Kershaw.

Kershaw makes history almost every time he takes the mound. What will he do for an encore? Stick around to find out. Game time is at 6:10 PM tonight. Go Blue.

Tags: Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers

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