The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants on Friday at Oracle Park, moving themselves closer to 100 wins on the season.
With that victory bringing their record to 99-61, the Dodgers have an opportunity to reach the 100-win mark for the fifth time since 2017. Manager Dave Roberts’ offense has scored 900 runs so far this year, the first time the franchise hit that threshold since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
The Dodgers and Giants are separated by one game in their head-to-head season series, but the Bay Area club trail by 21 games in the National League West standings entering play on Saturday.
Clayton Kershaw gets the ball for his final tune-up game before the playoffs begin, continuing his schedule of making the Saturday start due to extra rest. The veteran was solid in his last outing, turning in five shutout innings against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
This month, Kershaw has posted a 1.93 ERA and 1.29 WHIP to go along with 12 strikeouts and nine walks. However, five of those free passes were crammed into a bumpy start against the Miami Marlins on September 5, and Kershaw has since unleashed a refined mix despite a regression in fastball velocity.
Kershaw’s been able to make it work, tossing nine consecutive scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and collecting nine strikeouts. Kershaw credits his execution as to why he’s been able to get outs and string together positive outings.
A fully-healthy Kershaw isn’t likely for the remainder of this year, but his compete alone has positioned the longtime ace with a shot to start Game 1 or Game 2 of the NL Division Series.
Roberts hasn’t set anything in stone, but Kershaw pitching at home in the playoffs is a scenario the team would be comfortable going with if the lefty comes out of Saturday with plus results.
In his 29 career games (27 starts) at Oracle Park, Kershaw is 15-6 with a 1.64 ERA and 0.85 WHIP.
Kershaw is backed by a Dodgers bullpen that includes Victor González, who was recalled Saturday as a corresponding move to Lance Lynn being placed on the bereavement list.
He’s matched up against Tristan Beck, who makes his 33rd appearance (third start) of the season. Beck last pitched on September 24 against the Dodgers, when he allowed two earned runs on four hits, including a home run, through 4.1 innings.
Beck has been a useful piece for the Giants, carrying a 4.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and .248 batting average allowed. He faces a Dodgers lineup that is gearing up for a playoff run while continuing their push to build as much momentum as possible.
2B: Mookie Betts
1B: Freddie Freeman
3B: Max Muncy
DH: J.D. Martinez
RF: Jason Heyward
CF: James Outman
SS: Chris Taylor
LF: David Peralta
C: Austin Barnes
DH: Austin Slater
RF: Luis Matos
2B: Thairo Estrada
1B: Wilmer Flores
SS: Marco Luciano
C: Patrick Bailey
3B: Casey Schmitt
LF: Heliot Ramos
CF: Tyler Fitzgerald
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