Angels @ Dodgers May 17, 2016: Kershaw Aims to Continue Reign of Dominance

Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 1.74) continues to prove that he is the best pitcher on the planet. Sorry, Mr. Arrieta. He enters the second game of the Freeway Series in the midst of an amazingly dominant stretch of supreme pitching prowess. The Dodgers look to their ace to halt the cross-town rival Angels from picking up their fifth straight win before the series moves to Anaheim.

7:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
 3B  Escobar  2B  Utley
 RF  Calhoun  3B  Turner
CF  Trout  SS  Seager
1B  Pujols  1B  Kendrick
C  Soto  CF  Pederson
 2B  Giavotella  LF  Thompson
 LF  Robinson  RF  Puig
 P  Weaver (R)  C  Ellis
Kershaw (L)


Looking for his fourth straight victory and third consecutive home shutout, Kershaw has struck out ten or more batters in his last five consecutive starts. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a drool-worthy and MLB-best 19.25. He also leads the majors in innings pitched (62), strikeouts (77), FIP (1.48), WHIP (0.726) and BB/9 (0.6). He’s only walked 4 batters so far this season and 1 in the entire month of May.

Mike (who?) wrote about Kershaw and the amazing fact that he is still getting better.

Kershaw shutout the Mets, his second shutout of the month, in his last start. He allowed just three hits and a lone walk with 13 strikeouts on 109 pitches. He was not only dominant but efficient as well.

Against the Angels, Kershaw is 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in eight career starts. Mike Trout only has 2 hits vs. Kershaw, but veteran Albert Pujols is hitting .393 with 11 hits including 4 doubles and 7 walks in 35 plate appearances against him.

On the other side of the fastball, Jered Weaver‘s struggles have been hard to watch. Weaver (3-2, 6.10), once a 20-game winner and three-time All-Star for the Halos, has suffered a decrease in velocity in his fastball that has become quite ineffective.

His last start against the Cardinals was exceptionally brutal when he allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings.

Against the Dodgers, Weaver is 6-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 10 career starts, and he is 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA in five starts at Dodger Stadium.

Even though Kershaw is usually enough to win on any given day, the Dodgers still look to somehow figure out how to hit at home. Going into Tuesday’s game, they are dead last in the National League with a .215 batting average, 14th in OBP (.285) and 12th in SLG (.354) and OPS (.640) at home. Only so much blame can be put on the marine layer.

After Trayce Thompson hit two home runs in the series opener and continued to make a solid case for Dave Roberts to play him over struggling Carl Crawford, he gets the well-deserved start in left field and is sixth in the lineup. After a “mental day off,” Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup but dropped to seventh in the order. Justin Turner, who has also struggled at the plate this season, is batting second.

Adrian Gonzalez exited Monday’s game early due to lower back tightness and is listed as day-to-day. Howie Kendrick will play at first base in his absence.

The Dodgers also hope to give their pitching staff some extra time during a long span with no days off. Mike Bolsinger will have a 80-pitch limit on Wednesday.

After a marathon of a game on Monday night partly because Pedro Baez takes ten minutes between pitches, a nice quick Kershaw shutout sounds nice.

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About 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.