LOS ANGELES -- Everything is setup exactly how the Dodgers planned it. In order to clinch the National League West in front of their vanquished rivals, the Dodgers have the best pitcher on the planet - Clayton Kershaw - set to start against the Giants.
No pitcher in baseball's modern era has won 21 games in a season with 27 or fewer appearances, but Kershaw (20-3) has a chance to do so on Wednesday night, in his final regular season start.
It should be noted that others - Pedro Martinez in 1999, Bob Welch in 1990, Denny McLain in 1968 since baseball's expansion era, per Elias - have won their 21st game in their 27th game of the season, but all went on to pitch longer.
Kershaw's numbers against the Giants are well-documented. He is 13-5 with a 1.44 ERA in his career against them in 25 games, including 24 starts, with 181 strikeouts in 180 innings.
In 2014 Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts against San Francisco, with 25 strikeouts and two walks in 24 innings. That 1.88 ERA is Kershaw's highest in a season against the Giants by a quarter of a run.
But even with his success on the mound against the Giants, because baseball can be cruel, the Dodgers have lost two of Kershaw's last four starts against them, and three of his last seven, six of his last 13, and seven losses in his last 17 starts.
All of which makes Kershaw's current run since June 1 - 17-1 with a 1.39 ERA in 20 starts, 19 of which were won by the Dodgers - even more remarkable, and which has the Dodgers understandably confident heading into Wednesday night with the prize right before their eyes.
The Dodgers have clinched a postseason berth against the Giants four times since moving to Los Angeles: in 1977 and 2006 in San Francisco; 1983 and 2004 at Dodger Stadium.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, KDOC, ESPN