Dodgers Lineup:Hairston 7 Punto 4 Kemp 8 Gonzalez 3 Ramirez 6 Ethier 9 A.J. Ellis 2 Cruz 5 Kershaw 1
Clayton Kershaw will have to wage on after losing his father this past week. Kershaw is expected to be activated from the bereavement list today, and he has already flown to San Francisco with the team. Kershaw immediately left the Sunday game, one in which he struck out a dozen Milwaukee bats, due to the family emergency. Last season Kershaw battled a bout with the flu on Opening Day 2012, plantar fasciitis, a hip impingement, and of course the lack of run support afforded by his teammates. Kersh still had an amazing and Cy Young worthy season even though his win-loss numbers weren’t as appealing as the previous season largely in part to the said lack of run support. Even so he was still one strikeout behind R.A. Dickey for tops in the league, and he placed second behind the knuckleballer in Cy Young votes.
Kershaw is not a second place type pitcher. He most certainly is an ace. Kershaw has once again continued his dominance this season thus far. He also is victim to the low run support in a couple of his starts much like last season. Last Sunday against Milwaukee, I watched Kershaw’s brilliance on the mound in person. From that game opening strikeout of Aoki, I could tell that Kershaw was on his game. The lefty struck out 12, walked none, and only allowed 4 hits over 8 innings of shutout ball. I also was lucky enough to see Clayton’s Opening Day homerun, the first homerun of his career. It was pretty magical, and it was beautifully hit to center field. I will never forget that moment, it was truly special.
Kershaw is tied for second in the league with 47 strikeouts going into Friday night’s game in San Francisco. He’s been very successful against the Giants in his career. He is 9-4 with a 1.28 ERA against the pumpkin colored foes. The biggest threat has been Pablo Sandoval who is hitting .276 against Kersh.
Barry Zito will be countering Kershaw tonight at AT&T Park Like Kersh, Zito will be vying for his fourth win on the season. The veteran lefty wasn’t involved in the decision in his last outing against San Diego, He pitched only 3 2/3 innings while allowing 1 run on 6 hits. Over his career against the Dodgers, he is 9-10 with a 3.71 ERA. Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp have hit him well in the past, and Kemp has three homeruns against Zito. Skip Schumaker has also hit him to a tune of .438 with 4 RBIs. Andre Ethier has historically had trouble against Zito, and he’s only hitting .200 against him in 40 at-bats.
The Dodgers will need to win tonight in order to get back to .500 on the season. The Giants are currently 16-12. The Dodgers will try to take advantage of Kershaw’s exceptional pitching and the fact that they have really improved against left-handed pitching. Last season they hit .247 against southpaws, but this year so far they are hitting .301 which is the best in the MLB. How much has Mark McGwire helped on this front? It’s a great shift, although there are many other issues to work on with the Dodgers’ offense.
The Dodgers will have to make a decision on Mark Ellis, and he could be headed to the DL due to his quad strain. Interestingly enough, it was reported that Dee Gordon has been taking grounders at second base. We will be looking more into the possibility of converting Gordon to second base in a later post.
Looking for their first win of the month, the Dodgers led by Clayton Kershaw will hope to begin a successful road trip by first disrupting the Giants.
First pitch is at 7:15 p.m on Prime Ticket. Join us after the last out is made for our recap.