The Dodgers have won the first two series on their 10-day road trip, and now are set to play the Phillies in Philadelphia, where they have won each of their last five series.
Dropping all five road playoff games at Citizens Bank Park in the 2008 and 2009 National League Championship Series was the focal point of a four-year stretch of dismal Dodgers play in the city of brotherly love. From 2008-11, the final four years of five straight division-winning seasons for the Phillies, the Dodgers were 4-14 in Philadelphia.
Since the start of 2012, they are 12-4 at Citizens Bank Park.
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on Monday looking to continue the recent trend, in one of the most lopsided pitching matchups of late. Kershaw leads the majors in ERA (2.12), has 188 strikeouts in his 157 innings, is tied for the major league lead in wins (17), and ranks fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.71).
Phillies rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta ranks dead last in ERA (6.75) among the 126 major league pitchers with at least 100 innings in 2017, is averaging just 5.04 innings per start. Pivetta has recorded an out in the sixth inning just once in his last eight starts, and since the All-Star break has allowed 58 runs on 76 hits in 57 innings, covering 12 starts.
Kershaw has allowed 58 runs in his last 36 starts, covering 236 innings.
Kershaw hasn’t pitched in Philadelphia since 2014, but in his last two starts at Citizens Bank Park he has allowed no runs in 14 innings, with 17 strikeouts and four walks.
But baseball has a tendency to baseball, and after all, that’s why they play the games.
The Phillies are bad — at 58-91, only the Giants have a worse record in MLB — but they have been frisky of late, winning four of six games on their current 10-game homestand.
Philadelphia has been buoyed of late by the arrival of Rhys Hoskins, who has burst onto the MLB scene on fire. The first baseman and outfielder has 18 home runs and 39 RBI in his first 37 major league games, hitting a whopping .287/.415/.736.
For comparison, in Cody Bellinger‘s first 37 games earlier this season, he hit .252/.327/.568 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI.
There are still four games remaining, but the Phillies represent the last opportunity for the Dodgers to sweep another season series in 2017, having won all three games at Dodger Stadium from Apr. 28-30 — including the three-homer “absolute madness” ninth inning comeback in the middle game of the series.
So far this year, the Dodgers have swept five season series. They were 7-0 against the Mets, 6-0 against the Reds, 4-0 against the White Sox, and 3-0 against both the Royals and Twins.
Time; 4:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA