After scoring 15 runs on 27 hits and 10 walks in the first two games of the series, the Dodgers go for the series sweep against Kris Johnson, a pitcher making his second major league start.
Johnson had a cup of coffee with the Pirates in 2013, starting once and pitching three times in relief. He allowed seven runs and struck out nine against four walks in his 10... innings. Thursday night marks his Twins debut.
With the left-handed Johnson on the mound, both Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford sit. Scott Van Slyke starts in left field for the Dodgers and Justin Turner gets the call at shortstop, with Hanley Ramirez rotating into the designated hitter slot.
Van Slyke is 8-for-21 (.381) with four walks against left-handed pitchers this season, and with his four doubles and two home runs leads the team in extra-base hits against southpaws.
The Dodgers are 10-3 on the road this season, averaging 4.61 runs per game, compared to 6-9 and 3.75 runs per game at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers are 9-1 when they score at least six runs in a game, 11-1 when they tally five or more runs.
That offense will try to support Red Patterson, making his major league debut. If you haven't already, you should read Ken Gurnick's profile of Patterson for MLB.com from spring training, which included this great tidbit:
Nobody expects Patterson to make a club so deep in talented pitching, but he keeps doing things nobody expects.
For example, despite being a professional athlete, Patterson gave new meaning to the term "coachable player" by spending four off-seasons working at the Coach store in the Stonebriar Mall in Frisco, Texas, selling handbags, shoes and accessories.
"In the Minor Leagues, we don't get paid a lot," said Patterson. "I signed for $1,500 and needed to work. Working retail, it makes you work 10 times harder here. During the season, in the heat of August, guys start dragging. You know what? I'd rather be playing baseball than going back to do that kind of work."