Giants’ Blach fills in for Bumgarner vs. Dodgers, Kershaw
SAN FRANCISCO — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will try to do something new when he makes his 36th career start against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Beat Giants left-hander Ty Blach.
The second-year Giant drew Kershaw in his second big-league start on the second-to-last day of the regular season last October. The day couldn’t have gone any better for Blach and the Giants.
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Needing an improbable win over Kershaw in order to solidify their standing in the National League wild-card race, the Giants rode Blach’s eight innings of three-hit, shutout ball to a 3-0 victory.
The defeat was just the eighth for Kershaw against the Dodgers’ rivals from the north.
Despite his late-season success and a strong spring, Blach was denied a spot in the Giants’ season-opening rotation this year when manager Bruce Bochy opted to fill the No. 5 slot with veteran Matt Cain.
That sent Blach to the bullpen, where he pitched shutout ball in six of his seven appearances.
Cain, meanwhile, has pitched well in three of his four starts, including a six-inning effort Monday in the Giants’ 2-1 win over the Dodgers in the series opener.
Blach (0-0, 4.76 ERA) earned the Tuesday start, his first of the season, because of Madison Bumgarner’s dirt-bike accident last week that landed the left-hander on the disabled list and cancelled the potential showdown of staff aces.
Before the Monday game, Bumgarner addressed the media for the first time since his Thursday accident and offered no timetable for his return from bruised ribs and a sprained shoulder.
“Any time you’re going to lose a guy like that in the rotation, as much as he means to this team, that’s tough,” Blach said in Denver after he was named the Monday starter. “But we’re going to come together and we’ll get him healthy and back in the rotation soon.”
The Dodgers, who have struggled against left-handed pitching this season (.224 cumulative average), don’t necessarily catch a break in missing Bumgarner. Blach faced the Dodgers twice last season (once in relief), and he allowed no runs and three hits over 11 innings.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts wishes the circumstances were different.
“It’s unfortunate, Madison’s situation,” he said. “It’s a reminder to all players what can happen. That’s why they’re called accidents.”
Including his 3-0 loss to Blach in October, Kershaw pitched well against the Giants last season. He went 2-1 while allowing only eight earned runs in five starts. The Dodgers won four of the five games.
Kershaw (3-1, 2.54 ERA) has won three of his four starts this season, with the loss coming in his only previous road outing at Colorado, where he was roughed up for four runs on eight hits in six innings.
He is 18-8 with a 1.61 ERA in his career against the Giants.
Chances are, Kershaw will face Giants prospect Christian Arroyo for the first time. The 21-year-old made his major league debut Monday as the starting third baseman, going 0-for-4 on the same day on which he was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento.
Arroyo was leading the Pacific Coast League in batting average at the time of his call-up.