Although the Los Angeles Dodgers have just boosted their rotation, Clayton Kershaw already gives them an excellent chance to win every time he takes the mound - especially against the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw, who owns a lower ERA against the Giants than any other NL team, looks to win his third straight start Sunday at AT&T Park.
Los Angeles (41-45) made a major move Saturday by acquiring right-hander Ricky Nolasco from Miami in exchange for three minor league pitchers. Nolasco should bolster a rotation anchored by Kershaw (7-5, 1.93 ERA), who leads the majors in ERA and opponent batting average (.189).
"You can't pitch much better than he's pitched," manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website. "He deserves a few more Ws."
Kershaw is 10-4 with a 1.33 ERA against San Francisco (40-46) in 20 appearances - 19 starts. He's 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in three 2013 outings versus the Giants, and 5-2 with a 0.74 ERA in eight career starts at AT&T Park.
The left-hander's presence on the mound won't be a welcome sight to Giants regulars Hunter Pence (2 for 32 against him) and Andres Torres (2 for 31). That duo is 1 for 18 against Kershaw this year.
Reigning NL batting champion Buster Posey is 3 for 8 with a homer and double against Kershaw in 2013 after entering the year 6 for 33 with nine strikeouts.
Kershaw will try to win three straight outings for the first time this year after striking out eight and walking none in a four-hitter in Monday's 8-0 victory at Colorado. The eight runs of support represented a rare outburst for Kershaw, who has received an average of 3.2 runs for one of baseball's lowest marks.
Mattingly said Matt Kemp could be back in the lineup after the center fielder sat out Saturday's 4-2 defeat. Kemp left Friday's 10-2 series-opening victory with an irritated left shoulder.
The Giants snapped losing streaks of four straight overall and four in a row to the Dodgers on Saturday despite an embarrassing mistake by Bruce Bochy. The manager submitted the wrong lineup card to the Dodgers and the umpires, and Posey's RBI double in the first inning was wiped out due to the error.
Posey hit third in Pablo Sandoval's spot, but the incorrect lineup card had the sluggers reversed.
"That was a huge game for us," Bochy said. "I would've felt horrible if that would've played a part in us not winning."
The Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games with a triple in four at-bats Saturday. He's batting .477 with six homers and 17 RBIs in that run.
Yasiel Puig struck out all four times as his nine-game run ended.
Puig will get his first look at Chad Gaudin (2-1, 2.60), who will be activated off the 15-day disabled list to make his fifth straight start for the Giants. Gaudin, out since June 20 due to a right elbow contusion, went 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in the first four.
The right-hander owns a 5.66 career ERA against the Dodgers in nine appearances - two starts. Kemp is 2 for 10 against him and Ramirez is 1 for 9.