Preview: Dodgers Attempt To Finally Clinch In Battle Of Aces

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to clinch the National League West tonight against Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers magic number to clinch the NL West remains at two, but a win against the Giants tonight will meet that demand (one Dodgers win and one Giants loss). The Dodgers lost a heartbreaker in the 12th inning in last night’s outing, and they will look to redeem themselves with the MVP on the mound.

Zach Greinke and company were not able to get it done last night, but Kershaw will certainly be up for the challenge. Kershaw looks to lead the Dodgers to victory at AT&T Park for the first time this year. The Dodgers have failed to win in their first seven games in San Francisco, but they are confident that they will win at least one of the next three to clinch the NL West.

Kershaw has thrown well against the Giants this season, but has failed to defeat Bumgarner in their three head-to-head matchups. His other start came against Mike Leake and resulted in a win. In four starts, the reigning MVP is 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.

His opponent, Bumgarner, has allowed just five earned runs in four starts against the Dodgers this year. However, the left-hander lost his last start against the NL West leaders, allowing two runs in seven innings.

Kiké Hernandez is returning to the starting lineup tonight at center field after his absence on the DL. Hernandez was a defensive substitution for the Dodgers last night and had two hits in his two at-bats. Howie Kendrick is back in the starting lineup after having Monday off with some hamstring tightness. Also, rookie sensation Corey Seager is starting at shortstop despite a switch-hitting and healthy Jimmy Rollins.

Hernandez has three hits in seven at-bats against Bumgarner in his career, while Justin Ruggiano has two hits in six at-bats. Starting right fielder Scott Van Slyke has the most success against the Giants ace, hitting .375 with five walks in 24 at-bats.

The Dodgers will have the champagne sitting on ice in the locker room, and they hope to pop the bottles open tonight in San Francisco.

Dodgers Lineup:

CF: Kiké Hernandez

2B: Howie Kendrick

1B: Adrian Gonzalez

3B: Justin Turner

SS: Corey Seager

LF: Justin Ruggiano

C: A.J. Ellis

RF: Scott Van Slyke

P: Clayton Kershaw

Giants Lineup:

CF: Angel Pagan

2B: Kelby Tomlinson

3B: Matt Duffy

C: Buster Posey

RF: Marlon Byrd

SS: Brandon Crawford

LF: Mac Williamson

1B: Kevin Frandsen

P: Madison Bumgarner


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