Dodgers send Kershaw out against Brewers (Jul 21, 2018)
Injuries to his biceps and back limited Kershaw to 13 starts in the first half, and while he went into the All-Star break with a losing record (3-4) for the first time since his rookie season, the veteran left-hander posted a 2.74 ERA.
"I definitely feel healthy these last five starts since I got back," Kershaw said. "I think the endurance and the pitch crispness and the pitch execution and things are a little bit up-and-down, but I think the consistency's coming. Yeah, I think I'm in a good spot to where I'll be ready to go for the rest of the season."
Kershaw is looking to stay perfect at Milwaukee's Miller Park, where he is 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA in six career starts.
Overall, Kershaw is 5-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 12 career starts against the Brewers, a team he last faced on June 2, 2017, when he allowed just one run -- a solo homer by Domingo Santana -- on two hits while striking out 14.
Santana won't be with the Brewers Saturday, as he is still at Triple-A Colorado Springs trying to find the swing that helped him hit 30 home runs a year ago. However, the Brewers are expecting to have Ryan Braun back in their outfield for second game of the series after he went through second day of workouts without reporting any problems.
Braun has been sidelined with back tightness since July 8.
"I anticipate Ryan being active," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I just wanted one more, just kind of see how he responded today after the workout yesterday, let him go through it again, another full day of activity, and I think we're on a good place there to have him ready to go."
He would be the second player to return in as many games for Milwaukee, which limped into the break with a rash of injuries. Catcher Manny Pina returned to action Friday while first baseman Eric Thames (right hamstring), starting right-hander Junior Guerra (right forearm), infielder Jonathan Villar (right thumb) and right-handed reliever Matt Albers (right shoulder) are inching closer to returns, too.
"We've had injuries, we've had a bigger kind of volume of them the last couple weeks that really, it's tested us, it's been difficult," Counsell said. "I think we're on track to getting more healthy. Hopefully it's going to feel like we're making progress and getting guys back."
Right-hander Chase Anderson gets the nod for the Brewers on Saturday, hoping to keep the momentum he took into the All-Star break.
He posted a 1.65 ERA over his last five starts but recorded only one win in that span.
Anderson took a loss his last time out but pitched well, holding the Pirates to just two runs on six hits and a pair of walks over 5 1/3 innings.
The two runs came on solo home runs in the opening inning.
"I think (I threw) five strikes to start the game, and I felt pretty good," Anderson said. "Then I cut that two-seamer over the plate instead of sinking it. (Starling Marte) hit it out. I've got to understand that when I have the count in my favor, to go farther in. And then with (Gregory) Polanco, he just kind of saw everything."
While Kershaw has dominated in Milwaukee, Anderson hasn't fared as well against the Dodgers. In nine previous starts against Los Angeles, he is 1-4 with a 5.44 ERA. He has not faced the Dodgers this year.