The Dodgers will have their best on the mound to start their showdown series against the Giants, with Clayton Kershaw getting the call in the opener on Monday night at Dodger Stadium against Madison Bumgarner.
This is the 10th meeting between these two pitchers, and third this season. The Dodgers have won both previous 2016 matchups, on April 9 and April 15.
Monday is the third start back off the disabled list for Kershaw, who allowed only one hit while striking out five in a rain-shortened five innings last Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
Kershaw threw a simulated inning during the 48-minute rain delay in New York, giving him the equivalent of six innings and 80 pitches in his second start after missing over 10 weeks with a herniated disc in his back. That puts Kershaw pretty much ready to go something close to a normal outing for him, which in 2016 has meant over seven innings per start on average.
Monday also marks Kershaw’s first home start since June 20, a span of three months. At Dodger Stadium in 2016, Kershaw has a 1.38 ERA and is 7-1 in eight starts, with 10 runs allowed (nine earned), 73 strikeouts and three walks in 62 innings.
Kershaw’s career numbers against the Giants are legendary, 18-7 with a 1.62 ERA in 34 games, including 33 starts, with 267 strikeouts and 40 walks in 250⅓ innings.
In nine September (or October) starts against the Giants Kershaw has been even better, allowing 10 total runs (eight earned), going 8-1 with a minuscule 0.98 ERA, with 81 strikeouts and nine walks in 73⅓ innings. That’s an average of over eight innings per start.
The only loss in those nine September starts by Kershaw against the Giants came on Sept. 13, 2013, at the hands of Bumgarner, who is having another excellent season for the Giants.
Bumgarner is 14-9 with a 2.66 ERA. He is third in the National League in innings (206⅓) and this is his sixth straight season with at least 31 starts and 200 innings. He averages 6.65 innings per start, fourth in the NL, with Kershaw leading at 7.17 innings per in his 18 starts.
Bumgarner is third in the NL in strikeouts with 231, just three shy of his career high set in 2015. He also has a 5.30 ERA in his last six starts, including a loss on Aug. 23 at Dodger Stadium when he allowed five runs in five innings. But his peripherals during that six-start slide are strong — 42 strikeouts and nine walks — so his FIP is just 3.45 over that span.
In his career at Dodger Stadium, Bumgarner has a 2.75 ERA in 95 innings, with 90 strikeouts and just 13 walks in his 15 games, including 14 starts. But this year the Dodgers have beaten him twice in LA, scoring a total of 12 runs (nine earned) in his 10 innings. He allowed seven runs in a loss at Dodger Stadium on April 15.
Dodgers (84-65) vs. Giants (79-70)
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA