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Dodgers turn to Clayton Kershaw to play stopper again

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The struggling Dodgers find themselves in need of a win on Saturday morning, looking to snap a two-game skid in the middle game against the Blue Jays. The Dodgers turn to ace Clayton Kershaw in what is becoming a familiar position.

Kershaw takes the mound for the third straight time following a Dodgers loss, and the fourth time in six opportunities this season. The Dodgers are 2-1 in such games this season, and in Kershaw's career the club is 77-43 when he starts following a loss, with Kershaw going 54-25 with a 2.31 ERA in those games.

Kershaw has made 248 career starts, and if you remove the six opening day starts, that means he has made 122 career starts following a Dodgers win, just barely more often than his 120 starts following a loss.

This is Kershaw's first career start against the Blue Jays, leaving only the Twins, Orioles and Red Sox as teams he has never faced.

The Dodgers have mostly the same lineup on Saturday as they did Friday, with Howie Kendrick playing left field after serving as designated hitter on Friday, and Carl Crawford doing the opposite.

A.J. Ellis is in for Yasmani Grandal at catcher, the sixth time in seven starts that Ellis has caught Kershaw this season. Ellis in his career has caught Kershaw for more innings (784) than anyone. Second place belongs to Russell Martin, now in Toronto but not starting for the Blue Jays on Saturday, with Josh Thole catching R.A. Dickey.

Martin spoke with Brendan Kennedy of The Toronto Star about his first memory of catching Kershaw, in spring training 2008:

"It was impressive. It was electric," says Martin, who went on to catch Kershaw’s first three seasons in the big leagues. "Everybody’s throwing out, ‘Oh, he’s the next Sandy Koufax,’ and I’m like, ‘C’mon, put a bit less pressure on the guy.’ Now look at him. It’s amazing."

Combined, Ellis and Martin have caught 68.3 percent of Kershaw's 1,657 major league innings.

Game info

Time:  10:07 a.m.

TV: SportsNet LA