After losing for the fourth time in six home games, the Los Angeles Dodgers could use a stopper to help them get back on track at Chavez Ravine.
Luckily, Saturday night marks Clayton Kershaw's turn in the rotation.
Kershaw looks to extend his winning streak to the longest by a Dodgers pitcher in nearly 40 years by knocking off the Milwaukee Brewers for a second time in seven days.
Kershaw (14-2, 1.78 ERA) hasn't lost since May 28, going 11-0 with a 1.16 ERA in 13 starts since. He's completed at least eight innings in seven of his last 10 outings and his 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings marks the highest rate of his career.
The left-hander was responsible for Los Angeles' only victory in last week's three-game set with Milwaukee. He limited the Brewers to one run over eight innings in a 5-1 victory at Miller Park on Sunday, but walked two for the second straight start - a relative "struggle" by Kershaw's standards, as manager Don Mattingly described it.
Still, he's won four of his last five starts versus Milwaukee while throwing at least eight innings and allowing one run or fewer in each of those victories.
After helping to thwart a three-game sweep his last time out, Kershaw will be tasked Saturday with helping the Dodgers avoid their second home series loss in their last three.
"Throw him in there as the best guy in any situation, to stop one, to continue a streak or to start a streak," Mattingly told MLB's official website. "He's pretty good in any situation."
Kershaw can become the first Los Angeles pitcher to win 12 straight decisions since Burt Hooton from July 24-Sept. 26, 1975. The Dodgers are also looking for their 14th consecutive win with Kershaw on the mound, something not done by the franchise behind a single pitcher since it won 15 straight starts by Dazzy Vance in 1924.
Milwaukee (68-55) knocked off Los Angeles 6-3 Friday, with Lyle Overbay ripping a three-run double to cap a five-run eighth inning. All five runs were charged against reliever Jamey Wright.
"I'm the reason why we lost this game," Wright said.
The Dodgers (70-54) had won four of five while limiting opponents to 12 runs, but Friday marked the second straight rough showing for the club's bullpen after it surrendered three runs in three innings of Thursday's 6-4 win at Atlanta.
Ryan Braun was 1 for 4 after sitting out Thursday's win over the Chicago Cubs due to a nagging hand injury while Aramis Ramirez was 2 for 4, improving to 25 for 57 (.439) over his last 14 games. Braun is 9 for 26 against Kershaw for a .346 average, the sixth-highest among the 41 players with at least 25 plate appearances against the southpaw. Ramirez is just 3 for 16 off him.
No current Brewer has a home run against Kershaw in 156 combined at-bats.
Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 3.44) takes the hill for Milwaukee looking to continue his road success. He's 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA over his last six games away from home and limited the Cubs to one run over seven innings of a 3-1 victory at Wrigley Field on Monday.
Gallardo is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last four starts against the Dodgers. He lost 3-1 in his last matchup on May 20, 2013, giving up three runs and eight hits over six innings.
Milwaukee has won 11 of 16 in Los Angeles.
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