After last year's performance against the Giants, it is understandable that Clayton Kershaw has had a little bad luck this season against San Francisco. But he can turn that around with a win today as the Dodgers go for a sweep at AT&T Park.
Kershaw has always been good against the Giants, as his 1.45 ERA in 14 career games (including 13 starts) against them would suggest. But last year Kershaw took it to another level with a 5-0 record and 1.07 ERA in six starts against the rivals. He beat Tim Lincecum in all four of their head-to-head matchups, in games that had scores of 2-1, 1-0, 2-1, and 2-1.
This year, Kershaw has been very good against San Francisco in his two starts, with 15 strikeouts and just three walks in 14 innings. He allowed two runs in both games, and has allowed two runs or less in 11 of his 13 career starts against the Giants.
But in those two games the Dodgers have lost 2-1 and 2-0, with Kershaw getting the tables turned on him. The lack of run support has been largely due to Ryan Vogelsong, who has been the victor in both Kershaw starts this season. Vogelsong starts for the Giants on Sunday.
Vogelsong, who hadn't pitched in the major leagues since 2006 before resurfacing last year, turned down a minor league deal with the Dodgers so he could join the Giants. In five starts the last two seasons against Los Angeles, Vogelsong is 4-1 with a 2.12 ERA. He has allowed one run in 14 1/3 innings against the Dodgers this season, with four walks and four strikeouts.
Vogelsong has pitched at least six innings in all 18 of his starts this season, and in 19 games in a row dating back to last season. He has lasted at least seven innings in 14 of his 18 starts this year, tied with Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and David Price for most seven-inning starts in the majors.
Kershaw is one back, with 13 starts of seven innings or more this year.
Juan Rivera, 7-for-17 (.412) with a double in his career against Vogelsong, gets the call in the number two spot on Sunday. Rivera is in left field, with James Loney (6-for-13, .462 with a double, triple) at first base.
Game Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket