|Dodgers hope Kershaw able to solve Brewers|
Dodgers hope Kershaw able to solve Brewers
As a starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw's last use of the mound at Milwaukee's Miller Park is not exactly one he wants to remember.
Yet, the Dodgers' ace still has managed to purge that outing from his system.
Kershaw will face the host Brewers on Sunday, six months and one day after he was called on to close out the National League Championship Series with one inning of scoreless relief in Game 7 in Los Angeles as the Dodgers advanced to their second consecutive World Series.
It was vintage Kershaw in the sense that he was willing to step up for his team when needed. It did not quite go to plan in Game 1 of the series at Milwaukee, when the Brewers tagged him for five runs (four earned) in just three innings and took the early NLCS lead.
It has been an eventful time for Kershaw since his last Milwaukee visit. The Dodgers lost their second consecutive World Series, he opted out of the final two years of his seven-year, $215 million contract and then agreed to a three-year, $93 million extension.
That was all before he developed shoulder inflammation at spring training that delayed his 2019 debut until Monday when he gave up two runs on five hits over seven innings against the Cincinnati Reds. He has 84 pitches under his belt heading into his second start Sunday.
Kershaw (0-0, 2.57 ERA) gave up a home run to former teammate Yasiel Puig in the opening inning of his 2019 debut, but Joc Pederson won the game with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"Definitely a good first outing back," Kershaw said. "I'll take that, especially the way we ended it. It was a fun night all around, other than that first inning. Definitely helps me remember I can do it.
"Any time first time out, you just want to make sure you can get hitters out again. 'You can do this, you can succeed. Do it efficiently.' Things to work on, which is good, but overall, a good first step."
Brandon Woodruff (2-1, 5.23) will start opposite Kershaw, bringing a double threat into the game.
Not only has the right-hander helped pitch the Brewers to three victories in his last four starts, he is also 5-for-7 at the plate with a pair of doubles, including a two-run double Tuesday in an 8-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Brewers will enter the finale of the four-game series off a 5-0 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday that ended their three-game losings streak. They also ended a three-game losing streak to the Dodgers that went back to last weekend's series at Los Angeles.
The Dodgers had just two hits against four Brewers pitchers Saturday and are no longer in sole possession of the National League lead for home runs. The Dodgers now share that honor with the Brewers at 41 home runs each.
"... We're going to be fine offensively," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're going to score a bunch of runs. I'm confident in that. This is a good baseball team (the Dodgers) with good pitching and a good offense. You have to do a lot of things well to beat them."
The Brewers lost third baseman Mike Moustakas in the seventh inning Saturday after the veteran left the game because of right hand discomfort. His status for Sunday is unknown but might have been out of the lineup anyway as a left-handed hitter against the lefty Kershaw.
--Field Level Media