Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has had an up-and-down history with the Chicago Cubs during his 14-year major-league career.
Kershaw will try to rediscover his success against the Cubs when he takes the mound in their series finale on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers were no-hit by four Chicago pitchers in the series opener on Thursday, but have rebounded to win the past two games.
In his most recent appearance against Chicago on May 4, Kershaw experienced the shortest outing of his MLB career.
He allowed four runs and four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in the first inning and didn’t return for the second in the 7-1 loss in the opener of a doubleheader.
Kershaw (8-7, 3.43 ERA) bounced back to go 3-0 over his next four starts, but is 1-4 since and his ERA has inched up from 2.94.
Although his past two starts were good enough to earn a win, Kershaw is trying to avoid losing three straight starts for just the second time in the past six years.
Kershaw gave up two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on June 16, and surrendered three runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
Two of the four hits allowed by Kershaw in his latest outing left the ballpark.
“It’s a tough night when your mistakes go over the fence,” he said.
Kershaw is 6-4 in regular season games against the Cubs with a 3.21 ERA.
During the playoffs, Kershaw lost an NLCS-clinching game against the Cubs in 2016, sending Chicago to the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Kershaw came back the following year and beat Chicago in Game 5 of the NLCS to advance Los Angeles to its first World Series since 1988.
Chicago plans to start right-hander Adbert Alzolay, who also lost his past two starts.
Alzolay (4-6, 4.19) gave up three runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday. He was stung by two home runs during the game.
“He’s obviously a huge piece for us and pitching big innings for us,” Chicago manager David Ross said. “He’s given us a chance to win and continues to grow every time out. So, in my mind, he’s going to continue to help us as long as he’s healthy and pitching the way he’s capable of.”
Alzolay faced the Dodgers for the first time in his career on May 5. He allowed two runs and three hits in five innings and did not receive a decision in the 6-5 win in 10 innings.
–Field Level Media