Rangers Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Will Smith Catching Clayton Kershaw
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to first base during Game 2 of the 2019 NLDS
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

After concluding their road trip with a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Dodgers return home for the start of a three-game Interleague series against the Texas Rangers and overall homestand comprised of six contests.

At 37-25, the Dodgers enter play trailing the first-place San Francisco Giants by only 1.5 games in the National League West standings. The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, own the second-worst record in the American League at 24-39 and are 12.5 games out of first place in the AL West standings.

Clayton Kershaw makes his 14th start of the season and looks to get back on track. He’s given up five runs in back-to-back outings, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA and 1.58 WHIP during the stretch.

Kershaw noticeably was frustrated with his performance in his last start against the Atlanta Braves. “I just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” he said after the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss at Truist Park.

“Two outs, shouldn’t give up any runs when you get to two outs. That (Ronald) Acuña walk was not good. Freddie does what Freddie does, hit a decent pitch, just put the bat on it and got a hit. From there just couldn’t stop the bleeding. Tough inning. Not what you want to do. Frustrating for me.

“Battled as best I could and got through six, which I guess was somewhat of a positive. Just a frustrating inning.”

Even with his recent struggles, Kershaw still has enjoyed a relatively successful season to date. He brings with him into Friday’s start a 7-5 record, 3.66 ERA, 2.89 FIP and 1.01 WHIP in 76.1 innings pitched.

Kershaw has made just one previous start against the Rangers, taking a tough-luck loss in 2015 after allowing three earned runs on five hits over six innings of work.

Texas counters with Mike Foltynewicz, who similarly looks to bounce back from a rough start against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. In just 3.2 innings pitched, he allowed eight hits, five runs and collected two strikeouts.

Foltynewicz enters with an overall 1-6 record, 4.75 ERA, 5.17 FIP and 1.34 WHIP in 66.1 innings pitched this season (12 starts). In four career appearances against the Dodgers, he’s 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.64 WHIP over 22 frames.

Friday marks the first time this season Will Smith is catching Kershaw. That presumably is related to Austin Barnes still nursing a sore left ankle and not yet being in position to play back-to-back days.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
1B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Cody Bellinger
C: Will Smith
2B: Chris Taylor
SS: Gavin Lux
LF: AJ Pollock
P: Clayton Kershaw

Rangers lineup

SS: Isiah Kiner-Falefa
LF: Eli White
CF: Adolis Garcia
RF: Joey Gallo
2B: Nick Solak
1B: Nate Lowe
3B: Charlie Culberson
C: Jose Trevino
P: Mike Foltynewicz

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