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Dodgers vs. A.J. Burnett

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Burnett leads the National League in strikeouts this season.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

That the National League strikeout leader is pitching Saturday night at Dodger Stadium is not a surprise, but that it is not Clayton Kershaw is a bit of an upset. Kershaw struck out seven in his opening day shutout of San Francisco, but that leaves him three punchouts behind NL co-leader A.J. Burnett of the Pirates.

Burnett, who is somewhat stunningly 36 years old, struck out 10 Cubs in a loss on Monday, tying him with Matt Harvey of the Mets for the NL lead.

Since 2005 Burnett has faced the Dodgers just twice, and he has allowed six runs in each start. In 2010, when with the Yankees, Burnett allowed six runs in three innings in a loss at Dodger Stadium. In 2012, with the Pirates, Burnett allowed six runs in 6⅔ innings in Pittsburgh, but earned the win.

Burnett has six quality starts in his last seven road starts, with a 2.25 ERA, 55 strikeouts, and 18 walks in 52 innings during that span.

Of the regulars to face Burnett more than once, Mark Ellis (8-for-31, four doubles and a home run, .258/.324/.452) has had the most success. Carl Crawford (.290/.328/.387) has faced Burnett the most, with 67 plate appearances. Adrian Gonzalez is just 1-for-8 with a walk against Burnett.

The only two other Dodgers with more than five plate appearances are reserves. Nick Punto is just 1-for-15 against Burnett, but with five walks. Juan Uribe is 2-for-14 with seven strikeouts, and two walks.

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m. PT

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday