Dodgers turn to Kershaw vs. Giants to stop four-game slide
SAN FRANCISCO — The Los Angeles Dodgers will trot out their tried-and-true remedy for 14-inning, 10-pitcher, walk-off losses — staff ace Clayton Kershaw — for Sunday’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants got a three-run, walk-off homer from Andrew McCutchen on Saturday night for a 7-5 victory in a game that started in the middle of the afternoon and finished under the lights 5 hours, 16 minutes later.
The Dodgers will count upon Kershaw on Sunday not only to give their bullpen a break, but also snap a four-game losing streak.
He surely has experience in the latter, having followed up a 10-inning game against Kansas City last July with a complete-game effort the next day in a 5-2 victory over the Royals.
Kershaw has been brilliant in his career against the Giants, going 22-10 with a 1.60 ERA in 42 games (41 starts).
He’s been at his best in San Francisco, where he’s dominated the Giants to the tune of 13-4 with a 1.30 ERA in 21 games (20 starts).
He’s pitched six complete games in his career against the Giants, and gone eight full innings another 12 times.
The left-hander suffered one of his 10 career losses to the Giants on Opening Day despite allowing one run in six innings.
Even with a day off Thursday and a rainout Friday, the Dodgers have kept Kershaw on schedule to pitch the series finale in San Francisco.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts smiled when asked if that was a coincidence.
“What do you think, Sherlock?” he responded. “Obviously we have a lot of respect for the Giants.”
Joe Panik provided the difference in San Francisco’s 1-0 victory over Kershaw on Opening Day with a home run.
Panik also played a role in Saturday’s win, contributing a single to the Giants’ three-run 14th inning. McCutchen’s seventh career walk-off homer came after Panik’s third hit of the game, a single, had sent Kelby Tomlinson to third base with no outs.
The Giants used nine pitchers in the game, and don’t have the luxury of having their ace lined up for the following contest. They’ll go with left-hander Ty Blach, who is filling in atop the rotation with Madison Bumgarner injured.
Blach outpitched Kershaw in the opener, throwing five three-hit, shutout innings, before getting rocked by Seattle in a 6-4 loss in the Giants’ home opener Tuesday.
He hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning in either start.
Blach has pitched well against the Dodgers in his young career, going 3-2 with a 1.96 ERA in eight games (five starts).
He’s done his best pitching against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, where he’s gone 1-1 with a 1.00 ERA. He’s 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA against them at home.
The Giants, who were concerned that Thursday’s day off and Friday’s rainout might kill the momentum of their break-out, 10-1 win over Seattle on Wednesday, find themselves riding even higher after McCutchen’s heroics that capped a career-best, 6-for-7 performance.
He had totaled two hits in his first six games for the Giants.
“Finally showed up today. Finally,” he said afterward. “It’s only what, Game 7? But when you’re not getting hits, it feels like it’s forever. Feels good to show up today and do the job.”