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Clayton Kershaw returns to Phoenix

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw returns to the scene of the crime on Wednesday night as the Dodgers try to close out a two-game sweep of the Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Kershaw had one of the worst starts of his career on May 17 in Arizona, allowing seven runs, all in the second inning in an 18-7 loss to the Diamondbacks. That start has mostly been swept under a luxurious rug this season, with Kershaw almost superhuman since that outing.

In his last 17 starts the left-hander is 13-2 with a 1.37 ERA, with 156 strikeouts and 18 walks in 131 innings. He is averaging 7.7 innings per start during that span, including 10 starts of eight or more innings, and five since the All-Star break.

Kershaw is third in baseball in eight-inning games this season behind David Price (15) and Johnny Cueto (11), but also missed five weeks. Since the start of 2011 nobody has more eight-inning games than Kershaw's 44 such starts.

Despite missing those five weeks on the disabled list, Kershaw has a chance to be the first 16-game winner in the majors this season. With 15 wins in 21 starts, Kershaw is poised to join a select group of pitchers to win at least 70 percent of their starts, accomplished only seven other times since 1980.

But to do so Kershaw needs to turn things around in Phoenix. In nine career starts at Chase Field Kershaw is 3-6 with a 4.10 ERA, with 65 strikeouts and 21 walks in 52⅔ innings. He has lost five straight starts in Phoenix dating back to 2011, with a 6.18 ERA.

Since that Kershaw loss in Phoenix on May 17, a weekend that saw the Dodgers lose two of three games against Arizona, the Dodgers have won eight straight series against the National League West.

Game info

Time: 6:40 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA