Preview: Dodgers Look To Get Behind Clayton Kershaw And Avoid Sweep

Ezra Shaw-Getty Images
Ezra Shaw-Getty Images

Sending Zack Greinke to the mound Saturday night in Houston wasn’t enough to snap the Los Angeles Dodgers’ losing streak that now sits at four games. The Dodgers did manage to swing the batters, but only had one run to show for it.

Now it’s Clayton Kershaw’s turn to again take the mound with a struggling offense backing him. The reigning National League MVP enters 10-6 with a 2.34 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 158 ERA+, and 0.92 WHIP. In his last start, he threw seven quality innings against the Oakland Athletics, allowing just one run on five hits.

A.J. Ellis put Kershaw in position to earn a win with a go-ahead, three-run home run, but the Dodgers’ bullpen was unable to protect the lead. Sunday marks the eighth time Kershaw has faced the Astros, but it’s the first since 2012, which was also at Minute Maid Park.

Over the previous seven starts, the left-hander is 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Kershaw’s last outing against Houston was a dominant effort in the form of seven shutout innings that coincided with him earning the win.

Opposing Kershaw on the mound is Lance McCullers. The rookie pitcher has been a pleasant surprise for Astros, who lead the American League West by four games. On the season McCullers is 5-4 with a 3.17 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 126 ERA+, and 1.21 WHIP.

The right-handed pitcher is coming off the worst start of his career as he only went one-third of an inning, allowing six runs on seven hits and suffering a loss against the Texas Rangers. While McCullers is coming off a rough outing, he can take some solace in his 4-0 record and 1.50 ERA in seven home starts this season.

With all of the momentum in the Astros’ favor, the Dodgers need a complete effort to end their four-game losing streak. Although he’s struggled since being traded to the Astros, Carlos Gomez is batting .300 against Kershaw in 20 career at-bats.

Kiké Hernandez again gets the start in center field ahead of Joc Pederson, despite the Astros sending a right-hander to the mound. Chase Utley starts at second base and A.J. Ellis is behind the plate for a second consecutive Kershaw outing.

Dodgers Lineup:

SS: Jimmy Rollins

2B: Chase Utley

3B: Justin Turner

1B: Adrian Gonzalez

LF: Andre Ethier

RF: Yasiel Puig

DH: Carl Crawford

C: A.J. Ellis

CF: Kiké Hernandez

(P: Clayton Kershaw)

Phillies Lineup:

2B: Jose Altuve

CF: Carlos Gomez

SS: Carlos Correa

3B: Jed Lowrie

DH: Evan Gattis

LF: Marwin Gonzalez

1B: Chris Carter

RF: Jake Marisnick

C: Jason Castro

(P: Lance McCullers)


Zack Greinke On Competing With Clayton Kershaw

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