Clayton Kershaw looks to bolster his case for the National League Cy Young Award on Tuesday night, facing two-time winner Tim Lincecum for the fourth time this season as the Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw (19-5) is looking to become the first 20-game winner for the Dodgers since Ramon Martinez in 1990.
The top four candidates for the award figure to be Kershaw, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Ian Kennedy, with Kershaw perhaps facing an uphill battle as he is the only one of the three not headed to the playoffs. Kershaw leads the National League in both ERA (2.30) and strikeouts (236), and is one victory behind Kennedy, who picked up his 20th win on Monday night for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kershaw can pass Justin Verlander (2.29 ERA, 244 strikeouts) of the Detroit Tigers for the major league lead in both ERA and strikeouts on Tuesday if Kershaw allows one run or less with nine strikeouts in an outing of at least 5 2/3 innings. Then again, beating the Giants hasn't been a problem for Kershaw.
In his career against the Giants (11 games, 10 starts), Kershaw is 5-1 with a 1.26 ERA, with 13 unintentional walks and 81 strikeouts in 72 innings. This season, Kershaw has is 4-0 in five starts against the Giants, including three wins against Lincecum. In those five starts, Kershaw has allowed five total runs, four of them earned.
Per Mark Simon of ESPN, the last Dodger to beat the Giants five times in one season was Don Newcombe, who was 5-2 in 1951. He was in line for another win on October 3, but Bobby Thomson had other ideas. The last Dodger to go 5-0 against the Giants in one season was Vic Lombardi in 1946.
Lincecum has a 1.65 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this season, and no wins to show for it.
Tuesday night's 7:10 p.m. PDT game will be televised by Prime Ticket. For a detailed series preview, be sure to read True Blue LA.