Dodgers Giants Game 3 Preview
By Alex Campos
Let’s think back about a week ago, when people were convinced the Dodgers were about to blow the division and that life was meaningless.
Or even a few days ago, after the Dodgers got no-hit by Jake Arrieta and they were literally the worst team in baseball history.
And now, the Dodgers have a chance to sweep the Giants, and take a 6.5 game lead in the West with 30 games remaining in the regular season. And they send Clayton Kershaw to the hill.
Kershaw is a pretty solid #2 starter for the Dodgers I guess. He’s 11-6 with a 2.24 ERA (league leading 2.11 FIP) and he leads the league in strikeouts (236, 12 shy of matching his career high). If it weren’t for his own teammate, Kershaw would likely be the popular pick for the Cy Young award.
Aug 28, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Mike Leake (13) prepares to throw the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
In 10 starts since July 3, Kershaw has walked eight batters and struck out 96 of them. He’s won six of those games and only once in that span did he not go at least seven innings. In 28 career starts against the Giants, Kershaw is 14-7 with a 1.63 ERA in 209 innings. He’s only allowed 38 runs in those 28 games and has struck out 215.
Giants catcher Buster Posey has the most career plate appearances of any hitter against Kershaw, with 72. Posey has 14 hits against Kershaw (.203 AVG, two homers and two doubles), two walks and 15 strikeouts. Posey is one of the best hitters in the game, but he, like many others, struggles against Kershaw. He’s also caught 23 innings over the last two days, so I would put money on him not being behind the plate tonight (although maybe at first for Brandon Belt, who’s 3-34 in his career against CK).
In a small sample, Marlon Byrd and Matt Duffy have had relative success against Kershaw. Byrd is 6-14 in his career against Kershaw, and Duffy is 4-12. Backup catchers Andrew Susac and Hector Sanchez are also hitting over .300 in their career against Kershaw, but that’s only in seven and five plate appearances, respectively.
The Dodgers will face Mike Leake, who was the Giants’ big trade deadline acquisition and cost them their top rated prospect on MLB.com (a rating most Giants people disagreed with). He’s gone at least six innings in each of his three starts with the Giants and has given up seven runs in 18 2/3 innings. He also missed a couple starts due to a hamstring injury.
In small samples, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner have had success against Leake in the past. Ethier is 7-15 with two homers, and Turner is 5-10.
With injuries to basically every righty the Dodgers have, this looks like it’ll be the everyday lineup moving forward against right handed pitching. Turner is the only pure righty in this lineup, although Jimmy Rollins and Yasmani Grandal are switch hitters.
Multiple reports state that Scott Schebler has been called up. Maybe the acquisition of Chris Heisey was just to take Schebler’s spot in AAA. Schebler got a start earlier this season and went 1-3 for the Dodgers, but had only hit .241 with 13 homers in AAA this season.
It feels good knowing that worst case scenario, the Dodgers entered the series 2.5 games ahead of the Giants and will leave at least 4.5 up.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.