May 18, 2011
GIANTS (22-19) vs.
LA DODGERS (20-23)
Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas believes when Clayton Kershaw is making his pitches, opponents don't have a chance.
This is usually the case when he faces the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw looks to build on one of his best outings of the season and win his fourth straight start over the Giants as these NL West rivals meet Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
NEWS: MLB headlines
Kershaw (5-3, 2.75 ERA) allowed three hits and struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings in Friday's 4-3 win over Arizona. The left-hander, who has a 1.31 ERA in winning his three starts this month, threw 70 of his 106 pitches for strikes and retired the final 14 batters he faced.
"When he's throwing strike one, strike two, it's going to be a long night for whoever is facing him," Barajas said.
San Francisco knows this feeling.
Kershaw has thrown 13 2-3 shutout innings while striking out 16 in winning his two starts against the Giants this season, and has tossed 22 2-3 scoreless innings in winning his last three against them. In seven career starts versus San Francisco, Kershaw is 3-1 with a 1.09 ERA, yielding two or fewer runs six times.
Los Angeles (20-23) took three of four from the Giants to open the season. That series was overshadowed by two drunken Dodgers fans who brutally beat a Giants fan outside of Dodger Stadium. The victim, Bryan Stow, is still in critical condition with brain injuries, and was flown back to San Francisco on Monday after weeks of care in Los Angeles.
RELATED: Stow moves to S.F. hospital
The Giants (22-19) arrive in Los Angeles after Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Colorado. San Francisco was swept in the two-game series to fall one-half game back of the West-leading Rockies.
"If the season ended today, I supposed we'd be panicked," reliever Javier Lopez said. "But I mean, we've got three quarters (of the season) left, so I think we're OK."
One thing the Giants would like to remedy sooner than later is their hitting in RBI situations.
REWIND: Rockies rally to beat Giants, sweep short series
San Francisco has hit .129 (4 for 31) with runners in scoring position and left 24 men on base in the last four games. Aubrey Huff, batting .308 with four RBIs in seven games against the Dodgers this year, has stranded eight runners on base in the last three contests.
"We've got to get some guys clicking here. We need some production throughout the order," Bruce Bochy said. "We're a better hitting club than this. It's frustrating. We've got to take a little of the pressure off the pitchers."
Scheduled starter Matt Cain (3-2, 3.22) would probably second his manager's opinion.
Cain allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings in Thursday's 3-2 win over Arizona. It was the first victory in five starts for Cain, who had received five total runs of support in his previous four outings.
Cain, whose 3.73 run support average since 2007 is the worst in the majors, got plenty of offensive help in his season debut against Los Angeles. At Dodger Stadium on April 2, the right-hander allowed five hits in six innings of a 10-0 victory.
Cain, who is 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his last four starts in this series, has a 1.67 ERA in six outings at Chavez Ravine since 2008. Although Cain has pitched well against the Dodgers, Andre Ethier is batting .500 in 44 career at-bats against him.
Hardball Talk: One-on-one with Matt Cain
Similarly to the Giants, the Dodgers' offense is also struggling a bit.
Los Angeles defeated Milwaukee 3-0 on Tuesday after scoring two total runs in losing its previous three games.