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Dodgers and Padres settle in with great pitching matchups

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Kershaw vs. Darvish for Round 2

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Clayton Kershaw has a 1.83 ERA in 17 career starts at Petco Park.
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

How in the hell are the Dodgers and Padres supposed to follow that?

After one of the most exciting April games in recent memory, these two teams are back at it again on Saturday for the second of 19 regular season battles in 2021. I guess we’ll have to settle for a pair of excellent pitching matchups the rest of the weekend.

Up first is Clayton Kershaw, who has allowed one run in 13 innings in his last two starts, with no walks and 14 strikeouts. Yu Darvish, like Kershaw, was also so-so on opening day, but has followed that up with 13 innings and only two runs allowed, with 13 strikeouts and two walks.

Darvish was the National League Cy Young runner-up last season after a 2.01 ERA and a National League-leading 2.23 FIP. This year, Kershaw’s peripherals have been strong, thanks to the minuscule walk rate and allowing zero home runs in three starts, good for a 1.59 FIP that ranks third in the NL.

Kershaw’s last start in San Diego was a wonderful pitching duel last September 14, in which he didn’t allow a run until the sixth, then allowed two bequeathed runs in the seventh to take the loss. That was Kershaw’s first loss to the Padres since 2013, after a string of 19 starts during which Kershaw had a 1.31 ERA against them.

That was the first of a three-game series, with the Padres the hottest team in baseball, winners of 21 of 26 games after the opener, closing the divisional gap in the NL West to 1½ games. But the Dodgers won the next two games, finished the season 10-2 to win the division by six games, then you know the rest of the story.

The Dodgers enter Saturday at 12-2, their best start since the cursed season of 2005. Read Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts on that connection. The only time the Dodgers started 13-2 was in 1955, when Brooklyn started 10-0, then lost two of three before winning 11 in a row to start 22-2.

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers at Padres
  • Location: Petco Park
  • Time: 5:40 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA