The Dodgers make their fifth appearance of the season on Sunday Night Baseball tonight. They’ve split the previous four. Tonight they’ll ask Clayton Kershaw to break the tie, and the odds would seem to be in their favor. He’s 11-1 and leads the major leagues in ERA (1.57), innings pitched (115), strikeouts (141), WHIP (0.67), K/BB ratio (20.14), opponents’ batting-average-against (.174) and shutouts (3). His opposite number is set to be Chad Kuhl, who will be making his major league debut. He’s been pretty good in AAA, though: 6-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.
Annoying fact: “The Pirates have won 12 of their last 15 games vs. the Dodgers, winning five of six games vs. Los Angeles last season.”
Tonight's Dodger lineup at Pirates: Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Kendrick LF Pederson CF Puig RF Grandal C Van Slyke 1B Kershaw P
The hype has already begun for this game, and it’s only natural. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg hasn’t lost a game yet this year while winning ten; Los Angeles’s Clayton Kershaw has lost one game while also winning ten. In ERA Kershaw has the edge, giving up a measly 1.58 earned runs per nine innings; Strasburg has given up 2.90 earned runs per nine innings.
The Dodgers may activate Yasiel Puig today. If they do they’ll have to send someone down to OKC. Update: Nope, tomorrow, says Roberts.
In other news:
Today, the #Dodgers acquired infielder Chris Taylor from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Zach Lee.
Clayton Kershaw brings his gaudy 9-1, 1.52 ERA record to Chase Field, which has not been his favorite road stadium. He’s made 11 starts there and gone 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA. The only stadium where he’s done less well is Coors Field in Denver. His opponent will be lefty Patrick Corbin, who’s 3-5 with an ERA of 4.81. He’s done pretty well against the Dodgers: the Dodgers have gotten two or fewer runs against him in three of his four home starts against them, and overall he’s 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 10 career starts against the team.
Hernandez LF Turner 3B Seager SS Thompson CF Gonzalez 1B Kendrick 2B Van Slyke RF Ellis C Kershaw P
Two heavyweight pitchers go at one another tonight, each with only one loss this season, one with eight wins and one with nine. The eight-game winner is the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, who also sports an ERA of 1.46. He’s got a career record against the Giants of 17-7 with a 1.60 ERA, and if that’s not enough, in the Giants’ home park he’s 9-3 with a 1.23 ERA. Facing him will be new-to-the-Giants Johnny Cueto, who’s 2-0 with a 4.40 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season but has a losing record overall (4-5) against Los Angeles.
This is the last series the two teams play against one another until August, but from that point forward nine of their last 38 games will be head-to-head.
The Dodgers’ draft picks are enumerated and expounded upon here. Their first pick was a left-handed hitting high-school shortstop named Gavin Lux.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B González 1B Thompson RF Pederson CF Grandal C Hernández LF Kershaw P
Fresh off his National League Pitcher of the Month award, lefty Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.56 ERA) tries to start June off right. He’ll face the right-handed Bud Norris (1-6, 5.71 ERA), who’s filling in for Mike Foltynewicz; he’s got a bone spur in his right elbow and is on the DL. Norris made five starts earlier this season and amassed an ugly 8.74 ERA before being removed from the Braves’ starting rotation.
Los Bravos send out Julio Teheran, whose 1-5 record makes no sense when you look at his 2.77 ERA, against the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda, who’s 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA. Neither of them has had much success at Dodger Stadium:
In five starts against Los Angeles, Teheran has posted a 0-4 record. His 5.63 ERA and .298 batting average against are his worst against any National League team. He’s struggled mightily at Dodger Stadium, where he’s allowed 10 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings (16 runs in 15 innings including the postseason).
The Dodgers will counter with Maeda, who was given an extra day of rest after being struck in the right hand by a comebacker in his start against the Mets on Saturday. The rookie right-hander has also experienced his trials when pitching in his home park, going 1-3 with a 4.08 ERA this year.
A-Gon hit .312 for May, raising his season average to .299. He leads all Dodgers in average, followed by Utley, Seager and Thompson.
Sunday Night Baseball in Queens features Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starting for the Dodgers and Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44 ERA) starting for the Mets. Kershaw has already thrown three shutouts this month, so it’s not impossible he could get another.
Kershaw is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA and has held Mets’ hitters to a .185 average over 10 career starts. Colon has had rather less success against the Dodgers: 2-6 with a 5.54 ERA. Of course, the rosters don’t remain static: if you were 3-0 against a team five years ago the odds are good that very few of the guys you beat then remain on the team this season. On the other hand, in Colon’s long career Utley (10 hits in 20 ABs, three for extra bases) and Gonzalez (12 for 27 with two home runs) have hurt him.
Lineup when available.
Corrected lineup: Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Puig RF Pederson CF Kendrick LF Ellis C Kershaw P pic.twitter.com/Pd1CMjO7wv
Clayton Kershaw (6-1, 1.67 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers and Brandon Finnegan (1-2, 4.44 ERA) goes for the Reds.
The Reds can be excused if they feel overmatched: in his last six starts Kershaw’s had at least 10 strikeouts and one walk or fewer. The left-handed Finnegan has struggled in his last three starts, not getting past the sixth inning in any of them while posting a 5.52 ERA over 14 2/3 innings.
Chase Utley's 13 assists Sunday tied L.A. Dodgers record for any position (Davey Lopes 4/12/80, Willie Randolph 8/23/89) — via @DodgersPR.
Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 1.74 ERA) makes the 251st start of his career (he also has two relief appearances; I didn’t remember that) on a roll. He’s struck out more than ten batters and walked no more than one in each of his last five games. His K/BB ratio is a ridiculous 19.25 for the season. He’ll face Jered Weaver (3-2, 6.10 ERA), whose last start climbed the heights and sank to the depths in just four innings. He got the first 11 hitters in order and then put 9 of the next 10 on base, giving up 8 runs on 9 hits and losing the game.
Utley 2B Turner 3B Seager SS Kendrick 1B Pederson CF Thompson LF Puig RF Ellis C Kershaw P
Save us, Clayton! That’s what the Dodgers are saying to their superhero Mr. Kershaw, (4-1, 2.04 ERA) as they ask him to salvage a split in the series with the Mets. He’ll face Bartolo Colon, whose 3-1, 2.82 ERA record was overshadowed this week by the first home run of his career the other night.
Things to think about:
David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Lucas Duda lead the current Mets in plate appearances against Kershaw. In 124 combined plate appearances, they’re hitting .142/.224/.150 against him. Wright holds the sole extra-base hit of the group, a double.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Puig RF Hernandez LF Kershaw P