A pair of fractions is all that separates Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers from something very real on Saturday night against the Giants.
The Dodgers open play on Saturday a half-game behind the Giants in the National League West, meaning a win would vault them back into first place all alone for the first time since the All-Star break. It would also even their road trip at 4-4 with one game left to play.
For Kershaw, who has led the major leagues in ERA for three straight seasons, his 1.92 ERA does not lead the majors this season. With 103⅓ innings through 104 team games, Kershaw falls just short of the necessary one inning per game to qualify for league leadership. But barring injury, that dance on and off the leaderboard ends after Saturday's start.
Kershaw, making his 200th appearance and 198th career start on Saturday, has allowed eight runs in his last nine starts, with 88 strikeouts and seven walks during that span. He has won his last eight decisions, two shy of the longest winning streak of his career. Kershaw was 10-0 during a 14-start stretch from the end of 2011 into 2012, with a 1.22 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 16 walks in 96 innings during that span.
In his career Kershaw has gaudy numbers against the Giants, with a 1.48 career ERA in 23 games against them, including 22 starts, and a 0.78 ERA at AT&T Park. But in his last two starts against San Francisco Kershaw has allowed three runs both times, two of only four times he has allowed more than two runs in a game to the Giants.
Kershaw has lasted at least seven innings in each of his last nine starts against the Giants, dating back to 2012, and in 13 of his last 14 against them, dating back to 2011.
Ryan Vogelsong starts for the Giants, making his fourth start against the Dodgers this season. After allowing four runs in four innings in the Dodgers' home opener on April 4, failing to last five innings, Vogelsong has allowed one run in each of his last two starts against Los Angeles, both no-decisions but both Giants wins.
The Giants placed catcher Hector Sanchez on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion suffered in Friday night's game. The club purchased the contract of catcher Andrew Susac, hitting .268/.379/.451 with 10 home runs in 63 games with Triple-A Fresno. Susac, San Francisco's second-round pick in 2011, was rated the Giants' third-best prospect in Baseball America's midseason rankings and rated between the No. 55 and No. 67 prospect in baseball by four BA prospect editors.
San Francisco also acquired Jake Peavy and cash — about $3 million of his remaining $5.15 million salary, per the Associated Press — from Boston for minor league pitchers Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree. Peavy, who was 1-9 with 4.72 ERA in 20 starts with the Red Sox, will start the series finale for the Giants on Sunday night.
Peavy in his career is 14-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 25 starts against the Dodgers, though just one of those starts have come in the last five seasons, a complete-game win at Dodger Stadium last August 25.
Time: 6:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network