The Giants, who are three games back of the Dodgers, have an opportunity to gain even more ground on the first-place Dodgers on Thursday. San Francisco is set to complete their rain-shortened and tarp protested game which was originally called as a 2-0 loss. They’ll resume action in that game before their regularly scheduled game against the Chicago Cubs. I could complain about the protest upheld by Joe Torre… Then again if the Dodgers were in the same situation, I would be crabby and bemoaning the Chicago grounds crew as well. The only way to offset Torre’s anti-bubble, pro-Giants antics is for the Dodgers to win, and to win a lot.
Was the Dodger offense still off for the day in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Padres? It sure looked like the Blue bats were under a
Clayton Kershaw starts in place of the ailing Zack Greinke who has elbow discomfort. Photo: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
sleeping spell. The only real highlight of the game was a sacrifice fly by Matt Kemp. There of course were more bases loaded failures, and then there was also those three ugly errors. With Don Mattingly‘s ever changing lineups and infield configurations along with the new Dodgers trying to cohesively fit into the roster, it is no wonder the defense took a backpedal. Roberto Hernandez wasn’t great nor was he terrible. The inconsistent offense had one of their zero production nights where they are unable to mount any sort of comeback, and it’s become a troublesome reoccurring theme this season for the team.
"“I haven’t pitched great lately. I don’t know if this had much to do with it,” said Greinke, who has skipped his last three between-start bullpen sessions."
Hopefully the extra rest will be beneficial for Zack Greinke whom the Dodgers can’t risk losing down the stretch. Kershaw will be pitching on regular four-days rest, and the ace will be vying for his 15th win on the season. Kershaw, starting on this pivotal series finale against the Padres, lost in his last start against Milwaukee. He pitched a complete game, but took the loss after allowing 3 runs (including two long balls) on 5 hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks on 97 pitches. Kersh won his only start against San Diego this season. He pitched a complete game against the Friars and only allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 11 strikeouts back on July 10th. Clayton has had much success against the Padres in the past. He is 10-6 with a 2.38 ERA against Diego in 22 starts.
Call to the Pen
Tyson Ross, the big right-hander, will be going to the mound for San Diego. Ross is 0-3 against the Dodgers this season, and he is
winless against the Dodgers in 5 career starts against them. He has a 2.91 ERA in 7 games, but he has struck out 38 Dodgers in 34 innings. Carl Crawford, who had a great night on Tuesday, is hitting .600 with 6 hits including 2 doubles in 13 plate appearances against Ross. Crawford was benched in favor of Scott Van Slyke on Wednesday who subsequently made a costly error in left field but did collect two base hits.
Prediction: Clayton Kershaw fans 10 Padre batters.
Kershaw and company will have to fend off Seth Smith who is leading his team in homeruns (12), doubles (26) and triples (5). He is hitting .310 versus the Dodgers in his career with 6 homeruns, 8 triples and 3 doubles. Smith has only one at-bat against Clayton Kershaw. Smith is hitting .301 with 4 homeruns on the road this year.
The Dodgers are a break even 31-31 at home this season, but they are 40-26 on the road which is a Major League best. The Giants have won three games in a row, and they threaten to close the gap between the Dodgers and themselves with a Thursday doubleheader.