Diamondbacks @ Dodgers Sept. 3, 2020: Dodgers look to sweep on Kershaw Day

The Dodgers were dominated by Zac Gallen last night, but Walker Buehler and the bullpen kept the deficit at 1-0 long enough for some late-inning heroics. Today, the Dodgers look for their 29th win of the season and for a sweep of Arizona.

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6:40 P.M. Los Angeles
CF Locastro RF Betts
RF Calhoun (L) SS Seager (L)
1B Walker 3B Muncy (L)
LF Peralta (L) 1B Bellinger (L)
SS Ahmed CF Taylor
2B Rojas (L) LF Pederson (L)
3B Young DH Beaty (L)
DH Varsho (L) 2B Hernández
C Kelly C Barnes
P Weaver (R) P Kershaw (L)

Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers today and has really been stellar this season. He’s thrown 30 innings in five starts and has only given up more than one run once. Of the six runs he’s allowed in 2020, five of them have come via solo home runs (the other was an RBI double). He’s also currently running a 33:4 strikeout:walk rate, with the best strikeout and walk rates that he’s had since 2017.

Kershaw has been pounding the zone.

https://twitter.com/ericstephen/status/1301636782392401920

That, combined with his highest average fastball velocity since 2017 has led to Kershaw looking like the Kershaw of old. He’s coming off six shutout innings in San Francisco, just missing what is probably the Dodgers first 7-inning complete game shutout in franchise history. Kershaw’s first start of the season came in Arizona, and he allowed three hits over 5 2/3 shutout innings. He will likely hit a milestone today, as Kershaw is three strikeouts away from 2,500 for his career (h/t Jon Weisman).

Luke Weaver is having a strange season for Arizona. Weaver has thrown only 2 2/3 fewer innings than Kershaw this season despite making two more starts. That’s probably because he’s sporting an 8.23 ERA. He got off to an abysmal start, allowing 18 runs in his first four starts (13 2/3 innings). One of those starts came against the Dodgers, who scored six runs in four innings off him. He bounced back with a couple solid starts, holding Oakland to one run run in five innings and San Francisco to two runs in 5 2/3. Last time out wasn’t great, as the Giants tallied eight hits and four runs in three innings against Weaver.

When Weaver is getting guys out, it’s usually via the strikeout. He’s got a 26.4 percent strikeout rate, which is the 40th-highest among pitchers with 20 innings pitched this season. His .395 BABIP against kinda sticks out, but it’s not unearned. Among pitchers with 20 innings pitched, Weaver has the fourth-highest rate of hard-hit balls against (53.6 percent per Fangraphs) and has the ninth-lowest rate of soft-hit balls against (9.5 percent). The Dodgers should fare better than they did against Gallen.

Cody Bellinger returns to the Dodger lineup and gets the start at first after missing the first two games of the series with lat soreness. Austin Barnes catches for Kershaw, and Gavin Lux gets the night off with Enrique Hernandez starting at second. Lux is expected to start each game this weekend against the Rockies.

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The Dodgers have some updates on relievers.

Joe Kelly will face live batters this weekend and likely be activated/serve his five-game suspension next week. Pedro Baez will also throw a bullpen today and face hitters sometime next week.

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Justin Turner is still on the IL, but was in the news this morning.

For the third time in the last four years, Turner is the Dodgers nominee for the Roberto Clemente award. Turner is also expected to return next week.

Barring any changes, Turner could return Tuesday in Arizona.

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I am prepared to spend an irresponsible amount of money.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.