In baseball there is nothing better than when your team provides for some sort of walk-off hit to end a game, resulting in a win.
For the second day in a row, the Dodgers got a walk-off hit, this time to defeat the Padres 4-3 in extra innings last night, becoming an even bigger win since the first place Giants had already won earlier during the day, keeping the Dodgers 4.5 games back in the race for the NL West.
These walk off wins could wake up a talented team involved in an intense pennant race going into the final stretch of the season.
The 2011 Cy Young award winner has shown his dominance throughout this season, and while his 12-8 record with a 2.85 ERA doesn’t compare to last year’s stellar 21-5 record with a 2.28 ERA, he has still been one of the league’s best.
In his last start against the Diamondbacks he took the loss, pitching 6.0 innings, allowing nine hits, two runs, three walks, with nine strikeouts.
It isn’t the first time this has happened though, as Clayton has been involved in a couple of those games where the Dodgers offense decides not to show up.
In fact, he has a 1-2 record with a 2.45 ERA in his last three starts. Tonight, Kershaw will face a Padres team that he never gets tired of facing, against whom he proudly owns a career record of 8-3 and a 2.35 ERA against them.
The Padres will counter with a lefty of their own, Eric Stults.
Many Dodgers fans might be familiar with the name, as he was up and down in the Dodgers organization from 2006-2009. After a brief stint in Japan, Stults has returned to the Major Leagues as a starter, and has made the best of this opportunity.
In 15 games and 10 starts with the Padres this season he has a 5-2 record with an impressive 2.43 ERA. Stults has won his last two outings against the Braves and Diamondbacks without allowing a run in either of those starts. This will be the first time that Stults gets to face off against his old team, so emotions will be running high in this one, again.
San Diego Padres (62-74) at Los Angeles Dodgers (73-63)
Eric Stults (5-2, 2.43) vs. Clayton Kershaw (12-8, 2.85)
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
7:10 p.m. PST, September 5, 2012
TV: KCAL, ESPN
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (S0panish)
Game-Time Weather: 80 degrees, Mostly Sunny
Padres’ Projected Starters:
P: Eric Stults
C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Yonder Alonso
2B: Logan Forsythe
SS: Everth Cabrera
3B: Chase Headley
LF: Carlos Quentin
CF: Cameron Maybin
RF: Will Venable
Key Bench Players: IF Alexi Amarista, OF Chris Denorfia
Key to a Dodger Victory:
Put together some offense
When Clayton Kershaw is on the mound the offense usually doesn’t have to score five or more runs to win. Although it would be nice for the Dodgers offense to go out and score them, they really don’t have to when Kershaw pitches. Kershaw has dominated the Padres throughout his career and tonight shouldn’t be any different, so if the Dodgers score just two or three runs they could come out with a win in this one.