Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night against the host Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., the veteran left-hander’s last start before a potential All-Star Game start on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw (6-2, 2.40 ERA) missed five weeks with a lower back injury this season, and his numbers fall a little short compared with other potential National League starters, such as Dodgers teammate Tony Gonsolin (11-0, 2.02), Miami’s Sandy Alcantara (9-3, 1.73) and Atlanta’s Max Fried (9-3, 2.56).
It’ll be up to the NL manager, Atlanta’s Brian Snitker, to make the call. Presumably Snitker will take into consideration that the game is at Dodger Stadium and it could be Kershaw’s final All-Star game.
Either way, Kershaw, 34, plans to appreciate every moment.
“I’m going to try and take it all in as best I can,” he said. “As the years go by, you start to appreciate things a little bit more, so every time I get to pitch at Dodger Stadium or every time we get a win, every time something significant happens, I try to take it in a little bit more because you never know when it’ll be the last time.
“It’s no different with this All-Star Game. I’m super excited about it. It really will be cool to do one at home. It’s a special place for me personally, and to get to do that in front of the home crowd will be really cool.”
Kershaw is coming off impressive starts his last two times out. In games against the Padres (no-decision) and Cubs (win), he gave up one earned run with 18 strikeouts and one walk in 14 2/3 innings.
He’s been excellent against the Angels in his career, going 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 14 starts.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout has missed the last two games because of spasms in his upper back, including a 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Houston Astros on Thursday.
It’s possible he’ll return Friday, though he’s struggled against Kershaw in his career, going 4-for-20 with a homer, one double and six strikeouts.
Strikeouts have been an issue for Trout all season, his 97 total ranking sixth highest in the American League entering Thursday’s game. He has struck out in 29.8 percent of his plate appearances this season, a rate considerably higher than his 21.9 career mark.
He’s been particularly susceptible to the high fastball, something the league has figured out. But Trout said it’s something he can overcome.
“I haven’t been in a good spot at the plate, and usually when I’m in a good spot, I either don’t swing at those pitches or I get to them,” he said. “If I’m in a good spot and seeing the ball, we’re not even talking about this.”
Left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-4, 2.95 ERA) will start for the Angels on Friday, hoping he can get some run support. He’s given up two earned runs or less in 10 of his 14 starts, but the Angels’ offense has averaged only 3.9 runs per game for him.
Sandoval is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in four career games (three starts) against the Dodgers.
–Field Level Media