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Clayton Kershaw starts, but how will the Dodgers finish?

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Jansen & Treinen both used heavily of late

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Saturday night at Chase Field will either produce a 100th win or a 50th win. The Dodgers try for the former with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for his third start since returning from the injured list.

The results have been promising so far for Kershaw, with 13 strikeouts against only one walk in his 9⅓ innings. That includes eight strikeouts in five innings on Sunday against the Reds, when he induced 20 swinging strikes, including 15 on the slider alone.

With Kershaw fully stretched out now after missing over two months with elbow soreness, lasting deeper into the game would be welcome, especially given the usage of high-leverage relievers of late.

Dodgers/D-backs lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos D-backs
Pos Dodgers Pos D-backs
RF Betts 2B Marte (S)
SS Seager (L) LF Ramos (S)
2B Turner RF Varsho (L)
1B Muncy (L) 1B Walker
C Smith C Kelly
3B Turner 3B Rojas (L)
LF Taylor SS Vargas (S)
CF Lux (L) CF McCarthy (L)
P Kershaw (L) P Gallen

Kenley Jansen and Blake Treinen each pitched the last two days and in three of the last four. Jansen has pitched five times in the last seven days and in 10 of the last 16 days, in his busiest stretch of the year. Treinen has pitched in four of the last six days, including throwing 29 pitches on Friday.

Treinen’s 70 appearances are tied for third in the National League, with Jansen tied for ninth at 66 games. No other Dodger ranks in the top 48 in games pitched in the NL. The Dodgers for most of the season haven’t overly taxed individual relievers, often giving extra rest after throwing 20 or more pitches, or after pitching two days in a row. But that rest was so they could be fresh now and into October, and there’s a division to be won.

Then again, the Dodgers offense could provide the pitching staff its own relief by scoring enough to not have to play a close game late. Six of the last eight games have either featured a Dodgers save or a positive three-run margin. Staying away from at least the top two high-leverage relievers would be ideal on Saturday.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers (99-55) at D-backs (49-105)

Location: Chase Field, Phoenix

Time: 5:10 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA