Kershaw, Dodgers look to extend winning streaks vs. White Sox (Jul 18, 2017)
CHICAGO — Clayton Kershaw is on a 10-game winning streak and the Los Angeles Dodgers would like get their 10th straight win.
Kershaw takes the mound Tuesday night when Los Angeles visits the Chicago White Sox and goes for its 10th straight victory in the opener of a two-game interleague series.
Kershaw (14-2, 2.18 ERA) leads the major leagues in wins and is 10-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last 13 starts since losing to the San Francicso Giants on May 1. During his streak, Kershaw has held hitters to a .187 average while striking out 115 and issuing only 19 walks.
The left-hander is pitching for the first time in more than a week. In his final start before the All-Star break, Kershaw allowed two runs and six hits and struck out 13 in a 99-pitch complete game against the Kansas City Royals on July 9.
“He was Clayton-esque,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The low pitch count was a combination of their being aggressive and Clayton’s efficiency in throwing strikes. We really wanted him to finish it.”
Kershaw, 29, is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox (2008, 2012, 2014). In 31 career interleague appearances, he is 15-4 with a 2.15 ERA.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he was quite familiar with Kershaw from his time as a coach with the San Diego Padres.
“He attacks the strike zone, devastating breaking ball, commands his fastball,” Renteria said. “He’s able to pitch to both sides of the plate effectively. Then he has that hesitation in his delivery that throws hitters off a little. He can vary pitches a lot, stay out of the zone and make you chase. That’s easy when his breaking ball snaps as hard as his does.
“If you can make him get it up in the zone, be more patient with him — I know that sounds crazy — people have a chance to try to do some damage.”
Los Angeles is coming off its league-leading 11th sweep after getting a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday. Justin Turner, who is hitting .374, homered and drove in two runs as Los Angeles (64-29) won for the 29th time in 33 games and improved to a season-best 35 games above .500.
“We’ve been pretty good all year,” Turner said. “To say it’s just a five-week thing, I don’t think that’s fair to our team.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Chicago (38-52), which has lost four consecutive games to fall a season-worst 14 games below .500. The White Sox have lost seven of eight and 16 of 23 after allowing a 10th-inning homer to Nelson Cruz in Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Avisail Garcia homered twice, but the White Sox blew a five-run lead.
White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (4-8, 5.15 ERA) will make his 14th start of the season and his first start since June 14. The 33-year-old spent more than a month on the disabled list because of joint inflammation in his right shoulder before he was activated Friday.
Gonzalez has lost three decisions in a row and is seeking his first win since May 28. He never has faced the Dodgers in his career and owns a 3-5 record with a 4.18 ERA in 12 interleague starts.
First baseman-outfielder Cody Bellinger is one of many Dodgers hitters who will challenge Gonzalez. The 22-year-old rookie phenomenon has 26 home runs this season and appeared in the All-Star Game and hit for the cycle during the past week.
“Every time he steps on the field, something special can happen,” Roberts said to the Los Angeles Times.
White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera has five hits in his last 10 at-bats and is hitting .289 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs in 87 games this season. Cabrera and third baseman Todd Frazier are candidates to be dealt to contenders in the next few weeks if they continue to produce at the plate.
The White Sox are 19-21 at home this season. The Dodgers are 25-18 on the road.