Dodgers @ Phillies September 18, 2017: Kershaw vs. Pivetta

(Via)

The Dodgers (96-53) are in Philadelphia for four games with the Phillies (58-91), whose winning percentage is worse than every other team in baseball, save for the Giants. When the two teams faced each other for three games in April at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers swept that series.

With the Dodgers’ magic number down to four, there’s a very good chance they’ll be celebrating a clinch in the City of Brotherly Love. We’ll continue keeping an eye on the Diamondbacks to see just how soon that’ll be possible.

Dodgers
Phillies
4:05 PM PT
Philadelphia
CF
Taylor
CF
Herrera
3B
Turner
SS
Galvis
1B
Bellinger
RF
Williams
RF
Puig
1B
Hoskins
C
Barnes
LF
Altherr
LF
Granderson
3B
Franco
2B
Utley 2B Crawford
SS
Hernández
C
Alfaro
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Pivetta (R)

On paper, today’s game looks like a great matchup for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw (2.12 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 2.71 DRA) has pitched very well against the Phillies in recent history. Per Elias, he’s currently in the midst of a 27 inning scoreless streak against them. That streak that extends across four games, dating back to July of 2012. The most recent game was in July of 2015.

One thing Kershaw will have to contend with that he didn’t before is Rhys Hoskins, the Phillies’ dinger-crushing rookie phenom. Hoskins was called up in mid-August, and has hit 18 home runs in 37 games (159 plate appearances). He has, however, gone three games since his last one.

You may remember rookie righty Nick Pivetta (6.75 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 5.91 DRA) making his MLB debut this season against the Dodgers. Although the Phillies eventually lost that game, he was not bad, allowing just two earned runs in five innings. Pivetta has mostly struggled since then, though. He’s gone six full innings or more in just seven of his 23 starts, and the longest he’s ever gone is seven innings. He’s also allowed four or more earned runs in nearly half of his starts.

Corey Seager is not starting tonight, but he will start “the rest of the season.” Enrique Hernández, back with the team after going to Puerto Rico for his grandfather’s funeral, is starting at shortstop instead and batting eighth, despite a right hander being on the mound. Cody Bellinger has moved up to third in the order, and Yasiel Puig is hitting cleanup. Beloved former Phillie Chase Utley is starting at second.

——

Although Seager is going to be in the lineup for the remainder of the season and postseason, he’s still not 100%:

(Presumably that’s “arm,” not automated teller machine.)

Offseason treatment is probably still on the table, based on past reports.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She now writes for The Hardball Times, FanGraphs and Sporting News, and co-hosts a podcast, The Hardball Times Audio. She recently earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.