Tonight at Dodger Stadium is a battle of southpaw Claytons, with Clayton Edward Kershaw facing off with James Clayton Russell. While Kershaw has struggled in his last three starts -- no wins, 12 runs allowed in 18 2/3 innings -- it is nothing compared to how Russell has fared in his starts.
Russell, who pitched 57 games as a rookie out of the bullpen for the Cubs last season, has made three starts this season for the Cubs. He has yet to last more than four innings, and in total has allowed 13 runs n 9 2/3 innings. In his first start, he allowed five runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings, but at least he kept his opponents in the yard. In each of his last two starts, however, Russell has given up three home runs in four innings.
Dating back to last season, right-handed batters have hit .335/.388/.596 in 180 plate appearances against Russell. The Dodgers tonight have adjusted their lineup accordingly, with seven right-handers and the dude with the 27-game hitting streak. Andre Ethier goes for half-a-DiMaggio tonight and while the opposing starter throws left-handed (Ethier is hitting .219/.242/.344 off southpaws this year), Russell might not be around very long anyway. Then again, the Dodgers have just 16 runs in their last six games, so maybe Russell will pitch deep into the game for his first time.
Gordon Ramsay will not only throw out a ceremonial first pitch tonight, but will also film a segment for an episode of the next season of Hell's Kitchen. Yes, I still watch that show. Why do you ask?
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket