SAN DIEGO -- Though he is likely still the favorite for the National League Cy Young Award, Clayton Kershaw has two more starts to finalize his case for the honor. After the Dodgers rested all of their regulars for the bulk of the series opener, expect most regulars back in the lineup behind Kershaw as the Dodgers battle the Padres on Saturday night at Petco Park.
Manager Don Mattingly said after Friday's 2-0 loss that mostly everyone will get back in the lineup except for shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who will mostly be encased in bubble wrap until the playoffs begin.
Kershaw has had an uncharacteristically down year against the Padres, with losses in all three of his starts against San Diego. Kershaw is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA against the Padres this season, and in those three starts has allowed five of his 11 home runs on the season.
In a loss on June 21, his only start at Petco Park this season, Kershaw allowed four runs in six innings, matching his total allowed in his three starts in San Diego in 2011-2012, in 19⅓ innings. But even with that June loss, Kershaw is 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA in his career at Petco Park with 44 strikeouts and 16 walks in 49⅔ innings.
Kershaw leads the major leagues with a 1.94 ERA, but don't be surprised if because of his relatively low win total he gets pushed for the award by another ace of a division-leading team in Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.
Wainwright, like Kershaw, has two more regular season starts left, so it's likely many of their numbers will remain similar. It will be a question of whether Kershaw's near run-per-game advantage is outweighed in the minds of some voters by Wainwright's advantage in wins.
But Kershaw has two more chances to leave no doubt in the mind of voters, beginning Saturday night in San Diego.
Time: 5:40 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket