Dodgers Try For Better Start Against Braves

Clayton Kershaw, an intimidating sight on the mound

As the Dodgers head into their second game with the Braves, they might want to pay special attention to the first inning.  The Braves scored in the first inning last night, as they have during each of their past eight games, all Atlanta wins:

Braves Last 8 Games 5/27 5/28 5/29 5/30 5/31 6/1 6/2 6/3
1st inning runs 1 4 1 1 3 3 1 1
Total runs 8 7 6 5 9 7 2 4

The Dodgers, meanwhile, have given up the most first-inning runs in baseball this season:

Most 1st Inning Runs Allowed in MLB
Team Games Runs
Dodgers 54 49
Milwaukee 54 45
Detroit 53 42
Pittsburgh 53 40
Washington 55 40

Tonight's starter, Clayton Kershaw, has not been immune to the Dodgers' first inning struggles himself.  He has allowed nine first inning runs in 11 starts.  Kershaw has walked 20.4% of the batters he faced in the first inning, and walked 11.8% of batters thereafter.  Kershaw has been brilliant over the last month, allowing five runs in five starts, over 33 1/3 innings.

The concern from the first inning runs allowed by the Dodgers is that their offense hasn't scored much of late.  They have scored just 32 runs in their last 11 games, hitting .216/.267/.304 over that span.  Then again, the Dodgers are 6-5 during that stretch, but it's hard to win games scoring three runs.

Kenshin Kawakami might be 0-7, but he has pitched far better than that.  He has three straight quality starts, allowing five total runs in his last 18 2/3 innings.  He pitched against the Dodgers once in his career, last August 8, and it was a fantastic pitchers' duel with none other than Kershaw.  Both starters pitched seven scoreless innings in a game the Braves would eventually win in 10 innings.

Lineups

Casey Blake, who missed last night's game with back spasms, is out for the second straight game.  Blake is listed as day-to-day.

Braves      Dodgers
2B Prado SS Furcal
3B Infante CF Kemp
RF Heyward RF Ethier
1B Glaus
LF Manny
SS Escobar 1B Loney
LF Cabrera 2B Belliard
C Ross
C Martin 
CF McClouth 3B Carroll 
P Kawakami    
P Kershaw     

Other Notes

  • I am woefully late the party on this, but Vin Scully will call the game in Boston two weeks from today, on June 18, a rare trip east for Scully in recent years.
  • On this date in 1964, Sandy Koufax pitched his third career no-hitter, beating the Phillies 3-0.  Koufax allowed only a walk to rookie Dick Allen in the fourth inning, and struck out 12.
  • On this date in 1968, Don Drysdale pitched his record sixth straight shutout, beating the Pirates 5-0, extending his scoreless streak to a record 54 straight innings.
  • Tony Jackson of ESPN LA, who covered the Reds for four years, wrote a wonderful remembrance of the now-retired Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone artfully tackles the weighty topic of the future of journalism
  • Tommy Lasorda will be the Dodger representative on Monday at the MLB draft, which will be televised on MLB Network beginning at 3pm Monday.
  • I answered some questions from Braves' blogger Scott Humphries of Tomahawk Talk
  • Tonight is 70's Night at Dodger Stadium.  In addition to getting this awesome poster with James Loney and Casey Blake, fans will be treated to Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady) singing the national anthem and God Bless America

Get your guess in for Xeifrank's simulation game here.

Game Time: 7:10 p.m

TV: Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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