Dodgers @ Giants June 10, 2016: Kershaw vs. Cueto

The Dodgers can’t claim first place with a sweep of San Francisco, but they can gain some ground on their division rivals when they begin a three-game set at AT&T Park on Friday night. In a much anticipated matchup, Clayton Kershaw is set to continue his reign of dominance, and opposing pitcher Johnny Cueto goes to the mound looking for his tenth win on the season.

The Dodgers find themselves at .500 on the road, but they are coming off a series loss to the Rockies at home. They have lost to Cueto twice already this season, and they lost three of four in San Francisco in early April. The Giants have a 4-3 edge against the Dodgers in head-to-head play so far this season. The Dodgers and Giants won’t play against each other again until August 23-25 in L.A.

7:15 p.m. PT
San Francisco
 Grandal  SS  Crawford
Kershaw (L)
Cueto (R)

Kershaw (8-1, 1.47) has been posting extraordinary numbers this season which is shaping up to be the best of his career thus far. He is leading the Majors in nearly every category imaginable: ERA (146), innings pitched (92 2/3), ERA+ (261), FIP (1.60), WHIP (0.647), BB/9 (0.6), SO/W (18.17). Clayton, the control freak, has only walked 6 batters the entire season while striking out 109.

The Dodgers’ ace is coming off his shortest start of the season. He only lasted 6 innings while allowing 3 hits and no runs while striking out 4 and walking 1 on 96 pitches against the Braves. He has not lost a game on the road this year, and he is 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his two starts vs. San Francisco. Overall he is 17-7 with a 1.60 ERA against the Giants in 33 career games (32 starts) and is 9-3 with a 1.23 in 16 games (15 starts) at AT&T Park.

Cueto (9-1, 2.16) is a name I would have been pleased with as a free agent pickup for the Dodgers this past offseason, but unfortunately he went to San Francisco where he has pitched well in his first year of a six-year $130 million contract. Even though wins don’t reflect the true value of a pitcher, he does have one more than Kershaw on the season. He doesn’t allow a ton of walks either (1.95 BB/9). Kershaw’s 0.58 BB/9 is just absurdly impressive. Cueto has only allowed 3 home runs this season. His 2.63 FIP is fifth-best in the N.L. amongst qualified starters, and he has the seventh-best ERA (2.16).

The braided right-hander has won five decisions in a row, and he has allowed 2 runs or less in each of his last six starts. He is 2-4 with a 3.03 ERA against the Dodgers in 6 career starts. This year he is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA at home. Chase Utley has had the most success against Cueto in the past and is hitting .379 with 11 hits including 2 home runs in 32 plate appearances against him.

Utley leads off, and Enrique Hernandez starts in left field. Trayce Thompson, the Dodgers’ everyday outfielder, is batting fifth. Yasmani Grandal is behind the plate. The Giants have five left-handed batters in the lineup against Kershaw who has only allowed 10 hits and 1 run (!) to lefties who are hitting .135 against him this season. The Giants placed infielder Kelby Tomlinson on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained thumb and called up Ramiro Pena from Triple-A.

Yasiel Puig will tentatively begin a rehab assignment with Rancho Cucamonga on Monday.

I’m really looking forward to Seager dunking one into McCovey Cove.

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About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.