The Dodgers enter Sunday night in desperate need of a win, and they send to the mound the person most equipped to help them salvage the final game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Clayton Kershaw seeks his ninth straight win, though will need to do so at Busch Stadium, where St. Louis has been inhospitable hosts.
Kershaw has lost four straight starts in St. Louis, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2013 NLCS. Counting the playoffs Kershaw is 2-5 with a 4.21 ERA in eight career starts at Busch Stadium, with 42 strikeouts and 19 walks in 47 innings.
But this season Kershaw is in the midst of the best stretch of his career. He is 8-0 in his last eight starts, with five runs and six walks allowed, to go along with 80 strikeouts in 61 innings. It includes 13 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings on June 29 against the Cardinals, though his two walks against St. Louis were Kershaw's most in any one of his last nine starts.
The last Dodgers pitcher to win nine consecutive starts was Burt Hooton, who won 10 straight starts from Aug. 4 to Sept. 15, 1975.
Can Kershaw hold the Cardinals down enough so the two runs scored in each of the first two Dodgers games in St. Louis might hold up?
Scott Van Slyke leads the Dodgers in home runs in July, with two. The team has six home runs in 14 games in July, and none in the last six games, a stretch of 223 plate appearances without a long ball.
Time: 5:05 p.m. PT