Preview: Clayton Kershaw Starts, Yasiel Puig Bats Cleanup As Dodgers-Phillies Begin 4-Game...

Preview: Clayton Kershaw Starts, Yasiel Puig Bats Cleanup As Dodgers-Phillies Begin 4-Game Series

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers face the Philadelphia Phillies in what’s a final stop on their East Coast road trip. Since 2012, the Dodgers are 12-4 at Citizens Bank Park and haven’t lost a series there since 2011.

With a combination of four Dodgers wins and Arizona Diamondbacks losses this week, Los Angeles will clinch their fifth consecutive National League West division title. They can take another step toward with Clayton Kershaw won the mound.

In 157 innings, the southpaw leads the league with 17 wins, is on pace to win a fifth NL ERA title and has posted elite numbers across the board: a 2.12 ERA, 2.95 FIP and 0.92 WHIP.

In his last start against the San Francisco Giants, Kershaw allowed one run and eight hits over six innings with six strikeouts. The Dodgers are 21-3 this season when he takes the mound.

Against the Phillies in his career, Kershaw is 3-4 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 71 innings with 80 strikeouts to 19 walks.

The Phillies counter with Nick Pivetta, who is making just his second career start against the Dodgers. In his lone outing against them back in April, Pivetta gave up two runs and 10 baserunners in five innings with five strikeouts against one walk.

Pivetta is coming off a disastrous outing against the Miami Marlins in his most recent start. In five innings pitched, he yielded seven earned runs and eight hits (one home run) with four strikeouts.

Since the All-Star break, he owns a whopping 8.84 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 57 frames — allowing 11 home runs during the span. In fact, the right-hander has struggled for the better part of his 2017 campaign.

Over 116 innings pitched, Pivetta is 5-10 with a 6.75 ERA, 4.99 FIP and 1.57 WHIP to go along with a 1.8 home runs per nine innings ratio (23 total on the year).

Cody Bellinger has been on a tear over the past two weeks, slashing .277/.393/.532 with four doubles and two home runs in 56 plate appearances — good for a 126 wRC+. His next home run will break the NL rookie record previously held by Wally Berger and Frank Robinson.

Of note, he’s protected in the lineup by Yasiel Puig. It’s part of the domino effect from Corey Seager receiving a day for rest. Justin Turner is batting second, followed by Bellinger, Puig and Austin Barnes.

The Dodgers get their first look at Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who has taken the league by storm since being called up in August. In just 37 games, he’s clubbed 18 home runs and driven in 37 RBI with 159 trips to the plate under his belt.

Dodgers lineup:

CF: Chris Taylor
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
RF: Yasiel Puig
C: Austin Barnes
LF: Curtis Granderson
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Kiké Hernandez
P: Clayton Kershaw

Phillies lineup:

CF: Odubel Herrera
SS: Freddy Galvis
RF: Nick Williams
1B: Rhys Hoskins
LF: Aaron Altherr
3B: Maikel Franco
2B: J.P. Crawford
C: Jorge Alfaro
P: Nick Pivetta