Clayton Kershaw makes his return from a back injury just when the Los Angeles Dodgers could suddenly use a boost. Los Angeles has dropped a season-worst five consecutive games and is hoping Kershaw can halt the slide when it visits the San Diego Padres on Friday in the opener of a four-game set.
Kershaw has been sidelined for 5 1/2 weeks and the Dodgers plan to limit him to approximately 75 pitches against the Padres. “Obviously, with where we’re at right now, I know that, not that he needs any more motivation or incentive,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters, “but I know that he’s looking to put a stop to this little downslide.” Los Angeles allowed 21 runs while suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks but is still 50 games above .500 despite the skid. San Diego is playing the fourth contest of an 11-game homestand and opened it by taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles), FSN San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (15-2, 2.04 ERA) vs. Padres RH Dinelson Lamet (7-5, 4.60)
Kershaw has continued his dominance against the Padres this season by going 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA in two starts. The 29-year-old is 16-6 with a 2.00 ERA and .191 batting average against in 31 career starts against the Padres. Kershaw is holding opponents to a .197 average this season but has served up a career-worst 18 homers.
Lamet received a no-decision against the Miami Marlins in his last turn when he gave up one run and four hits over six innings. The 25-year-old has allowed just 16 hits in 34 1/3 innings over his last six outings, giving up as many as four just once during the stretch. Lamet, who is facing the Dodgers for the first time, is 4-2 with a 3.98 ERA in seven home starts.
1. Dodgers SS Corey Seager (elbow) won’t play in the field in the four-game series but will continue to be available for pinch-hitting duties.
2. San Diego 1B Wil Myers, who is mired in a 17-game homerless drought, is batting .175 with two homers against the Dodgers this season.
3. Los Angeles INF Logan Forsythe is 0-for-12 with six strikeouts over his past four games.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 4, Padres 2