The San Francisco Giants are enjoying their longest win streak of the season with eight straight, but it will be tough to keep it going against Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw can become the first Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher in two decades to win 20 games and the first to go 5-0 against the Giants in one season when he faces Tim Lincecum for the fourth time this year Tuesday night.
San Francisco (83-70) heads to Dodger Stadium trying to win nine in a row for the first time since May 20-31, 2004. The Giants are still in striking distance in the NL West and wild-card races.
“We’ve done what we needed to do,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s obvious we need help. We’ve got to find a way to get (wins) and see what happens at the end.”
Getting a win will be a tall order against Kershaw (19-5, 2.30 ERA), who leads the league with 236 strikeouts and is 6-0 with a 0.71 ERA in his last seven outings. He’s won seven straight at Dodger Stadium, including three complete games, and is 10-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his last 13 home starts.
The NL Cy Young Award favorite is bidding to become the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner since Ramon Martinez in 1990 and the first to go 5-0 against the Giants since Vic Lombardi in 1946, when the team was still in Brooklyn.
The left-hander has not yielded an earned run in four of five starts against San Francisco this year, allowing one unearned run and striking out 30 over 23 innings in beating Lincecum three times. Lincecum (13-12, 2.59) is 0-2 in those outings, giving up two earned runs and striking out 18 over 22 innings.
Kershaw’s 1.26 career ERA against the Giants is his lowest against any NL opponent, and he leads the majors with a 1.72 home ERA.
Lincecum’s 2.02 road ERA is the best in baseball, although the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner’s last five outings have been at home. He has a 1.65 ERA against the Dodgers (76-76) this season.
Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp, however, is 5 for 10 against Lincecum this year after going 2 for 20 previously. Kemp, who owns the longest active streak in the majors by playing in 354 straight games, is 7 for 12 during Los Angeles’ current three-game win streak.
James Loney is 8 for 11 with nine RBIs in those three games after a career-best, five-hit effort in Sunday’s 15-1 rout of Pittsburgh. Loney is hitting .190 against the Giants this year and is 6 for 37 (.162) versus Lincecum.
San Francisco slugger Pablo Sandoval also is coming off a big weekend, going 7 for 12 with three homers and six RBIs in a four-game sweep at Colorado. He’s hit .483 with 11 RBIs in his last seven games.
“What a series he had,” Bochy said. “Pretty impressive. Pablo was locked in.”
Sandoval, 5 for 21 in his career versus Kershaw, is hitting .395 with three homers and seven RBIs against the Dodgers this year.
The Giants are 8-7 against the Dodgers, who are beginning their final home series.
“At this time, it’s hard to get excited about ruining somebody’s year,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told the majors’ official website. “But they are getting back into it, so the atmosphere should be fun.”
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