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Dodgers turn to Clayton Kershaw in finale with Giants

Thearon W. Henderson

After splitting a pair of blowouts Sunday seems destined for the Dodgers and Giants to partake in a close, low-scoring affair. The Dodgers are doing their best to assure that with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

Kershaw's career numbers against the Giants are surreal. He has a 1.40 ERA with 171 strikeouts in 173 innings against the Giants, including a 0.69 ERA in San Francisco.

But because baseball is weird and sometimes cruel, the Dodgers have somehow actually lost nine of his 23 starts against San Francisco, including three of 10 at AT&T Park.

It makes what Kershaw is doing in 2014 so ridiculous. He is 18-3 with a 1.67 ERA in 24 starts, with 210 strikeouts in 177⅓ innings. Pitcher wins are fluky largely because of partial reliance on things outside of the pitcher's control. But Kershaw has done his best to control nearly everything.

He has allowed zero or one run 16 times, most in baseball despite missing five weeks of the season. He is 16-0 in those games.

Kershaw has lasted eight innings or longer 13 times, second only to David Price (16), and is 12-1 in those games.

Kershaw has lasted eight or more innings on each of his last six starts. The last time a major league pitcher had a longer string of eight-inning starts was Cliff Lee, with 10 starts in 2010.

The last time a Dodgers pitcher had a longer streak was Orel Hershiser in 1988, when he ended his regular season with nine straight starts of nine innings or more (pitching 10 innings to finish off his record 59-inning scoreless streak in his final start of the year).

Hershiser in those final nine starts, totaling 82 innings, allowed four runs.

Trying to keep pace with Kershaw and trying to keep the Dodgers down is Yusmeiro Petit, the journeyman right-hander who seems to have found a destination with San Francisco this season.

The swing man has pitched 6⅔ scoreless innings against the Dodgers this season, allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out six. But that wasn't a start for Petit, but rather four relief appearances, including two perfect innings in a Kershaw win on July 26.

That night started a streak in relief for Petit of 46 consecutive batters retired, a new major league record. When Tim Lincecum got banished to the bullpen Petit joined the starting rotation, and is coming off an 84-pitch complete-game win in his last start against Arizona, with nine strikeouts.

Starting with those two scoreless innings on July 26 against the Dodgers, Petit has a 2.82 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 31⅓. innings. Petit's last unintentional walk came on July 22. He has 41 strikeouts since.

Game info

Time: 1:05 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA