Preview: Clayton Kershaw Eyes 300 Strikeouts In Regular-Season Finale

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Having clinched the National League West earlier in the week, and home-field advantage with their win on Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon in what’s the final game of the regular season.

With nothing to gain or lose in the matchup against the San Diego Padres, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is allowing Jimmy Rollins to fill in as acting manager, and Kenley Jansen as pitching coach.

Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw, who doesn’t seem to take any game lightly, takes the mound needing only six strikeouts to reach 300 on the season. Mattingly said prior to Sunday’s game Kershaw will be limited to roughly 50-60 pitches.

The reigning NL Cy Young and MVP Award-winner is looking to become just the third starting pitcher since 2000 to reach 300 strikeouts in a single season. Kershaw has been dominant since July 1, going 11-1 with a 1.25 ERA, striking out 154, and tossing four complete games.

After Sunday, Kershaw’s next start figures to come on Friday in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the New York Mets. With their season ending in disappointment, the Padres scratched James Shields and instead hand the ball to rookie Frank Garces.

Garces is the first pitcher San Diego sends to the hill in what will be a bullpen game for them. Garces, born in the Dominican Republic, has thrown 36 innings this year and owns a 5.0 ERA, 6.22 FIP, and 1.63 WHIP.

The left-hander has fared well against the Dodgers this year, tossing seven innings allowing no runs and just four hits while striking out six. Garces faces a lineup still with plenty of Dodger regulars in it.

Alex Guerrero gives Justin Turner the afternoon off, while Chase Utley fills in for Howie Kendrick at second base. Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager round out the Dodgers’ infield.

Dodgers Lineup:

LF: Carl Crawford

2B: Chase Utley

1B: Adrian Gonzalez

RF: Andre Ethier

SS: Corey Seager

C: AJ Ellis

3B: Alex Guerrero

CF: Joc Pederson

P: Clayton Kershaw

Padres Lineup

CF: Melvin Upton Jr.

1B: Bud Norris

3B: Yangervis Solarte

2B: Jedd Gyorko

SS: Clint Barmes

C: Austin Hedges

LF: Alexi Amarista

RF: Travis Jankowski

P: Frank Garces


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