The Dodgers could clinch with a win tonight and some help from San Diego.
Despite another short outing by a starting pitcher, the Dodgers won their 88th game of the season last night. Only five baseball teams have won more games than that, none of which reside in the NL West. The division race could be over today if the Dodgers win and the Giants lose.
After a couple short outings by starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw gets the ball today for LA. This will be his 20th start of the season and his fourth since returning from the disabled list. He’s only reached the sixth once since returning from the DL, but the results are still there.
His ERA has actually dropped since his return, as he’s only allowed two runs in 14 innings. Both of those runs came in his first outing, so he’s coming into tonight’s game with a 12-inning scoreless streak.
Kershaw figures to get one more start before the season ends, so while his numbers blow every other pitcher out of the water, it’ll be interesting to see how Cy Young voting goes. He’d probably be in the MVP conversation if he didn’t miss two months, but he won’t qualify for any rate or average stats.
Regardless of individual awards, a more-rested Kershaw could actually help a lot in October. His postseason struggles are overblown, but if he throws seven innings in each of his final two starts, he’ll finish the season at 149 innings. He’s only thrown fewer than that in the first two seasons of his career, and he’s thrown at least 198 innings in each of the last six seasons.
Somehow, Kershaw hasn’t faced the Rockies yet this season.
Chad Bettis will make his 31st start for the Rockies tonight. He’s been mostly OK, with a 4.79 ERA/4.42 FIP at an extremely hitter-friendly ballpark. He hasn’t been crushed by Coors, as his road ERA is actually .12 higher than his homer ERA.
Bettis has only seen the Dodgers once this season. He allowed four runs in six innings in LA.
Three starts ago, Bettis had his best outing of the season against the Giants. He needed 103 pitches to throw a two-hit complete game shutout. Since then, he’s allowed five runs in 13 innings (two starts) against the Padres.
Bettis mostly throws low-90s fastballs and sinkers, but mixes in a slider, curve and changeup. He’s a righty, so the lineup is normal.
Brandon McCarthy will start tomorrow. Rich Hill was scheduled to start, but he’ll be skipped as a precaution. Jose De Leon will start the opener in San Diego, and Hill will start one of the games next weekend in San Francisco.
The Giants-Padres game kicks off at 5:40, so there will probably be a lot of scoreboard watching going on tonight.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PST and will be shown on SNLA and KCAL.