Last season, the San Francisco Giants marched to their first World Series title in 56 years with a record that never dipped below .500. They haven’t been above .500 in 2011.
The Giants will try to avoid another loss to Kershaw and get their record back to the break-even mark when they face the Dodgers on Monday night in the opener of the second series between the clubs on the young season.
San Francisco (4-5) went on an impressive run to its first World Series championship since 1954, finishing 92-70 to capture the NL West before winning 11 of 15 playoff games.
It may be early, but things aren’t going nearly as well this season.
The Giants reached .500 for the first time over the weekend, but dropped back below the mark and saw their three-game winning streak snapped with Sunday’s 6-1 loss to St. Louis.
The struggles began at Chavez Ravine.
San Francisco opened the season with a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles (5-4) on March 31, and went on to drop three of four in the series.
Kershaw (1-1, 2.08 ERA) was outstanding in the season opener, outpitching Giants ace Tim Lincecum(notes) by striking out nine while allowing four hits in seven scoreless innings. The left-hander was even better in his last start at San Francisco, throwing a four-hitter in a 1-0 victory Sept. 14.
He has a 1.23 ERA in seven games - six starts - against the Giants, but just a 2-1 record to show for it.
Kershaw wasn’t as sharp Tuesday, allowing three runs and two homers while fanning eight in six innings of a 3-0 loss at Colorado.
“It was a frustrating night,” he said. “They put some good swings on it. I’m not going to discredit them. They hit some balls hard, they hit some balls far.”
The Dodgers lost 7-2 at San Diego on Sunday, failing to complete a three-game sweep.
Matt Kemp(notes) went 8 for 13 with five stolen bases over the weekend, increasing his season average to .438. The center fielder went 5 for 12 with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs in the last series with the Giants.
Bumgarner won his only career start against the Dodgers, yielding two runs - one earned - in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 victory last July 19.
The 21-year-old left-hander struggled to get 2011 off to a positive start Tuesday, surrendering three runs and five hits with three walks before being lifted after three innings of a 3-1 loss at San Diego.
“He’s going to be fine,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website. “The game didn’t get out of hand. Give him credit.”
Posey is 4 for 8 with a homer and two RBIs in San Francisco’s last two home matchups with the Dodgers, but is 2 for 12 against Kershaw.