Dodgers @ Giants April 25, 2017: Kershaw vs. Blach, Rematch

(Via)

After dropping the series opener despite a strong outing from Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers look to even up the series on Tuesday night in San Francisco.

It was supposed to be a marquee matchup between long-time rival aces Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in game two of the four-game set at AT&T Park, but instead the Dodgers will draw left-hander Ty Blach, who replaced the injured Bumgarner in the Giants’ rotation.

Dodgers
Giants
7:15 p.m.
San Francisco
CF
Hernandez
RF
Pence
SS
Seager
3B
Arroyo
3B
Turner
LF
Núñez
RF
Puig
1B
Posey
1B
González
SS
Crawford
C
Grandal
C
Hundley
2B
Taylor 2B Panik
LF
Bellinger
CF
Stubbs
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Blach (L)

It looks as though the Dodgers have the advantage, especially with Kershaw’s established success against the Giants over his career (18-8, 1.61 ERA and 10-4, 1.36 ERA at AT&T Park). However, don’t go out on a celebratory dirt bike ride just yet. Not only have the Dodgers been playing poorly and have lost six of their last eight games and dropped 17 of their last 21 games at AT&T Park, but Blach bested Kershaw last October pitching eight scoreless innings for his lone Major League win.

Blach (0-0, 4.76 ERA, 4.33) has pitched solely out of the Giants’ bullpen this year. He has only 22 2/3 innings of Major League experience under his belt, so it’s difficult to assess Blach’s performance at this level yet. The Giants need him to step up in the absence of Bumgarner, who may miss around nine starts. Obviously Blach won’t pitch as deep into games as Bumgarner usually does, putting more pressure on the Giants’ bullpen, who infamously have had ninth inning troubles.

Kershaw (3-1, 2.54, 2.71 FIP) was deliciously dominant in his last two starts against the D-backs and Rockies, striking out 18 batters in 15 1/3 innings. Kersh can’t do it all himself. The offense will need to give him some run support, but they are only hitting a collective .224 with 68 strikeouts in 277 at-bats vs. LHP this year. In Monday’s loss, they only mustered one run on four hits, going 1-for-3 with RISP.

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In big roster news, Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect Cody Bellinger was called up to play in the outfield while Joc Pederson is on the disabled list with a right groin strain, possibly re-aggravating something he felt during Spring Training. It may be a bit early for Bellinger’s call-up, but he will be able to play often with Joc hurt and be available to also spell Adrian Gonzalez at first base a bit.

Cody hit .343/.429/.627/.454 with five home runs in 18 games with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers this month. He makes his MLB debut, starting in left field and batting eighth in the Dodgers’ Tuesday lineup. To make room on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned Brett Eibner to Triple-A OKC. To make room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Joe Gunkel was designated for assignment. Gunkel allowed five runs on 12 hits with six strikeouts and no walks in nine innings of work (three games) in AAA.

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The Dodgers sure have been frustrating to watch so far this year. If it makes you feel any better, the Giants have been even worse. Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles wrote about the Giant’s abysmal start to the year and how the other side has felt:

“One of the only bearable aspects of the Giants’ abysmal start to this season is that the Dodgers weren’t rubbing it in. They weren’t 15-4 — with a 16-0 record in one-run games, don’t ask how — and already up by eight games. They were struggling, too. Their fans were annoyed, too.”

Sure, it makes me feel a little better to pop on over to McCovey Chronicles and read about the last-place Giants and their woes. Yet, the Giants’ struggles aren’t giving me as much satisfaction as it normally should since the Dodgers are, well, also sucking.

A Kershaw complete game shutout or a lopsided 13-2 victory against the Giants would go a long way in making me feel better about this season and baseball as a whole. So that of course it means it will be a close one-run, nerve-racking affair like Dodgers-Giants games usually are.

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 and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. 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.