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Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers get second crack at eliminating Giants

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Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw will try to beat the Giants to clinch the National League West for a second straight season for the Dodgers, in the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday night at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

You might remember 2014 as the season that saw the Dodgers win their final five regular season games, finishing the year 8-2 and 16-6, including beating their rivals to win the division, satisfying all the requirements of momentum fetishists. All that momentum did wonders for the Dodgers in the NLDS, when they lost in four games.

It's nearly impossible to appreciate in the moment, with stomachs turning and sphincters tight while watching, but the last four Dodgers-Giants games have been ridiculously exciting. All four have been one-run contests (the Dodgers won three of those games, with doesn't jibe with the image as gutless super-chokers), with the home team winning each time, including a pair of extra-inning walk-offs.

The home team winning has been the story in this series at AT&T Park this season, with the Dodgers dropping all seven games to the Giants. It's the second-worst road losing streak for the Dodgers against the Giants since the two teams moved west in 1958.

The Dodgers lost nine straight games in San Francisco from June 12, 1961 through Apr. 16, 1962, dropping their final eight road games against the Giants in 1961 and their first in 1962.

Since moving west, the Dodgers have played between six and 11 games in San Francisco every year, and have never won fewer than two games in any season — they went 2-9 in 1958, 2-8 in 2003, 2-7 four times (1964, 1967, 1969, 1983) and went 2-4 twice (1997, 1998).

The problem for the Dodgers at AT&T Park has been offense, with eight total runs in seven games. The two runs on Monday night matched their high for any game in San Francisco this season.

As a team, Los Angeles is hitting .212/.286/.282 in San Francisco this season.

With runners in scoring position at AT&T Park in 2015, the Dodgers are 2-for-41 (.049) with a double, eight walks. The RBI single by Corey Seager in the third inning on Monday night doubled the Dodgers' RISP output in San Francisco this season.

In fact, with the RBI ground out in the ninth inning by Andre Ethier, the Dodgers actually had two RBI with RISP on Monday, giving them all of three on the season.

The Dodgers have only struck out eight times with RISP in San Francisco in 2015, meaning there have been 33 balls put into play with only two hits, an .061 batting average on balls in play. Even accounting for the four infield pop-ups, that's an .069 (2-for-29) BABIP, a number that screams for a correction.

But good luck getting that on Tuesday night against Madison Bumgarner, who has allowed five runs in four starts against the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers did manage to score two runs against Bumgarner on Apr. 22, matching their season high for a game this year in San Francisco, so there is that.

The Giants have won three of those four Bumgarner starts, which happen to be three games started by Kershaw.

In four games against the Giants this season Kershaw is 1-2 despite 39 strikeouts and four walks, and nine total runs allowed. Kershaw's 2.76 ERA against the Giants this year is the first time his ERA against San Francisco has been higher than 1.69 in any season.

Kershaw is 15-7 with a 1.61 ERA lifetime against the Giants, and he's 8-3 with a 1.26 ERA in 100 innings at AT&T Park. Despite those otherworldly numbers against the Giants, the Dodgers are just 17-12 in his 29 career starts against them, including 8-5 in San Francisco.

Game info

Time: 7:15 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA