Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum Ready For Round 3

Clayton Kershaw has beaten Tim Lincecum twice this season. Friday night, he goes for number three.

Two times this season Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum have dueled against one another. Two times Lincecum has allowed only one run, and two times the Dodgers have beaten the Giants. Kershaw and Lincecum are at it again Friday night as the Dodgers and Giants renew their rivalry in San Francisco.

On opening day, March 31 at Dodger Stadium, the game was scoreless into the sixth inning, when the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out thanks to a walk, a throwing error, and a hit-by-pitch. Buster Posey tried to pickoff Matt Kemp at third base, a low percentage play that resulted in an errant throw down the left field line that allowed Kemp to score. It was the only run allowed by Lincecum in seven innings, while Kershaw struck out nine in seven scoreless innings for the win.

On July 20 at AT&T Park, the two teams were scoreless again, this time until the seventh, when Dioner Navarro had philosophical differences with Lincecum's second pitch of the top of the seventh inning, depositing it into McCovey Cove. Kershaw lasted eight innings in this game, this time striking out 12, while again not allowing a run. Kershaw's game score of 93 is the highest of his career.

Kershaw in his career has owned the Giants. He has allowed no runs in four of his last five starts against San Francisco, and in his career his allowed 12 runs (10 earned runs) in nine starts to the hated ones. In those nine starts, which include eight starts since the beginning of 2010, Kershaw is 4-1 with a 1.44 ERA, with 16 walks and 72 strikeouts in 63 innings.

Lincecum is just 12-12 on the season, but he is still having a really good year. He remains one of the very best pitchers in baseball, if not quite the same pitcher who won back-to-back Cy Young Awards. Perhaps Lincecum is a victim of his own expectations:

Years W-L ERA FIP xFIP fWAR bWAR
2008-2009 32-12 2.55 (1st of 74) 2.47 (1st) 2.96 (1st) 15.7 (1st) 13.2 (t-2nd)
2010-2011 28-22 3.18 (18th of 80) 3.15 (9th) 3.16 (t-6th) 9.2 (t-9th) 7.5 (t-18th)

 

Lincecum has started six times against the Dodgers in San Francisco, and the only game the Giants lost was that July 20 battle with Kershaw. At home against the Dodgers, Lincecum is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA, with 13 walks and 48 strikeouts in 42 innings.

Kershaw this season was on quite a roll until hitting a speed bump Sunday in Atlanta. Staked to a 3-0 lead, Kershaw seemed poised to pick up a fifth straight win and 10th victory in his last 11 starts, until the Braves had other ideas. A three-run bottom of the seventh inning meant Kershaw had to settle for a no-walk, 10-strikeout no-decision. Kershaw has walked two or less in 21 of his last 24 starts.

At 17-5, Kershaw tonight will try to become the first Dodgers pitcher to win 18 games since Chan Ho Park in 2000. In fact, since Ramon Martinez won 20 games in 1990, the only other Dodger besides Park to win 18 games was Kevin Brown in 1999.

Notes

  • The Dodgers have lost four straight series at AT&T Park, dating back to last season, 3-9 in their last 12 games in San Francisco. The Dodgers are 52-47 all-time at The House That Kevin Elster Built.
  • The Dodgers have hit four home runs in six games in San Francisco this season, and two of those were hit by players no longer on the team: Marcus Thames and the aforementioned Navarro. Rod Barajas has the other two homers, and those are his only two hits in 17 AT&T Park at-bats in 2011.
  • Speaking of Barajas, perhaps a little rest has done him good. In 50 games since the All-Star break, he has started exactly half of them at catcher, and hit .270/.340/.562 with seven home runs. The seven home runs are second only to Matt Kemp's 10 during that span, and the slugging percentage is tops on the team for anyone with 25 or more plate appearances.

Game Time: 7:15 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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