LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers try to keep the train rolling on Saturday afternoon, against the Royals in the middle game of a weekend interleague series against the Royals.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about a Dodgers team that just seems to keep winning. They have won 24 of their last 28, and have not lost consecutive games since June 4-6. At 59-29, the club has the best record in the National League by 5½ games, just a half-game behind the Astros for best record in baseball.
There are still concerns, though.
Brandon McCarthy gets the start on Saturday, his first start since having a very specific return of the yips that plagued him in the second half of 2016. McCarthy threw three wild pitches on June 25 against the Rockies, and threw a few more pitches to the backstop.
The problem was with McCarthy’s cutter, and he did seem to recover in his third inning after a rough second frame. A brief disabled list stint included a simulated game on Monday at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, and things went well enough for today’s planned activation.
McCarthy has been one of the Dodgers’ best starting pitchers this season, so it would be nice to head into the break on a high note rather than have lingering questions about his status for the second half.
The bar has been set pretty high in the early part of July. Through six games this month, Dodgers starting pitchers have a 1.72 ERA with 47 strikeouts and eight walks in 36⅔ innings.
Ian Kennedy gets the start for the Royals on Saturday. Believe it or not, the former USC pitcher is in his 11th MLB season, in the second season of a five-year, $70 million contract with Kansas City. He tied Clayton Kershaw with 21 wins and finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2011, Kershaw’s first Cy Young season.
Kennedy is making his 16th start of the season on Saturday. He is one of just five pitchers in baseball to make at least 30 starts every year from 2010-16. He has been pretty ordinary since that peak 2011 season, going 58-67 with a 4.11 ERA, a 95 ERA+ since. But for the most part, he seems to always answer the bell every fifth day.
Unfortunately for Kennedy, another constant seems to be losing to the Dodgers. He hasn’t faced them since 2015, when he allowed a total of three runs in 13 innings with the Padres but suffered a loss and a no-decision in two starts.
Since the start of 2013, Kennedy has faced the Dodgers 12 times. He is 0-7 with a 5.22 ERA, with 59 strikeouts and 24 walks in 69 innings. His teams have lost nine of those 12 games.
Time: 4:15 p.m. PT
Joe Davis is calling the game for Fox, with Eric Karros and A.J. Pierzynski joining him in the booth.