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Dodgers reach a tough part of their schedule

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — After 22 of their last 26 games against teams with losing records, the Dodgers hit a tougher portion of their schedule beginning Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium with the Cardinals in town.

The Dodgers’ next 16 games are against winning teams — the top three teams in the National League Central, then three games with the Nationals — including seven of their next 10 contests against the Cardinals.

It will be a little odd to be done with St. Louis -- at least in the regular season — when the season is just barely a third finished, but that’s how it shakes out sometimes.

Both the Dodgers and Cardinals have ridden strong pitching thus far in 2017. LA is tops in the NL in ERA (3.41) and FIP (3.30), and second in ERA+ (122), while the Cardinals are second in ERA (3.57), and third in FIP (3.95) and ERA+ (118).

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound tonight, and should he tie the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game (20), he will reach 2,000 career strikeouts on the nose.

Whenever Kershaw gets to 2,000 — as long as it is this season — he will be the fifth-youngest pitcher to reach the milestone, trailing only Bert Blyleven (28 years, 97 days), Sam McDowell (28 years, 228 days), Walter Johnson (28 years, 235 days) and Felix Hernandez (29 years, 32 days).

Kershaw on Tuesday is 29 years, 65 days old.

After missing all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery, Lance Lynn has picked up right where he left off in 2014-15, at least superficially. Lynn is 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA, with 40 strikeouts in 45 innings. But he has also allowed eight home runs and sports a 5.02 FIP.

Since the start of 2014, only 14 pitchers have a 130 ERA+ in at least 400 innings. Atop the list is Kershaw (194), but also included, in 11th place, is Lynn (133).

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, ESPN

The ESPN broadcast is national, and will not be blocked out in Los Angeles. Jon Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe, and Jessica Mendoza will call the game for ESPN.