Kershaw is penciled in to start the opener of this two-game set between the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks , who will be trying to avoid losing seven in a row at home for the first time in six seasons.
Scheduled to take the mound Sunday against NL West-leading San Francisco, Kershaw (12-8, 2.79 ERA) was scratched with an inflamed right hip joint and replaced by Joe Blanton . The change proved costly for second-place Los Angeles (74-67), which fell 4-0 after Blanton allowed all four runs in 5 1-3 innings.
"None of it made any sense for him to pitch (Sunday). We're really trying to put him in a position to pitch the rest of the year," manager Don Mattingly said of Kershaw, who's gone 5-2 with a 1.97 ERA over his last eight starts. "This is all about him having the best chance of being healthy the rest of the way."
A handful of games behind the Giants in the division but near the top of the wild-card standings, slumping Los Angeles could surely use another solid outing from Kershaw. The Dodgers have scored 11 runs while going 7 for 46 (.152) with runners in scoring position during a 1-4 stretch.
"Everybody wants to know what's going on, but I don't sit here and analyze every day," center fielder Shane Victorino told the Dodgers' official website. "We're capable of scoring five to 10 runs a game. We're capable of being one of the contending teams. I've been in worse positions than this and made the playoffs (with Philadelphia)."
While Kemp's return would seem to be good news, he's gone 3 for 30 since crashing into the outfield wall in Colorado on Aug. 28. The two-time All-Star missed the last two games with an inflamed left shoulder but received a cortisone shot Saturday and could play Tuesday.
Kemp has batted .315 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 14 games at Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks (69-72) went a division-best 51-30 at home in 2011 but are 33-34 there this year. Arizona, outscored 33-13 during its six-game skid in the desert, hasn't suffered seven consecutive home defeats since June 5-11, 2006.
The Diamondbacks went 5-5 on their just-completed trip, which included a four-game split with the Dodgers Aug. 30-Sept. 2. Arizona dropped two of three to San Diego over the weekend, going 3 for 30 with runners in scoring position after an 0-for-10 effort in an 8-2 loss Sunday.
"It's disappointing," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We've lost a lot of close games. We have been close to a .500 club most of the later part of this year and it hasn't been good enough."
The Diamondbacks will try to regroup behind the struggling Ian Kennedy (12-11, 4.39), who yielded five runs in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-6, 11-inning win at San Francisco last Tuesday and has gone 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his last six outings.
Kennedy, though, is 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA in his last six starts versus Los Angeles. He pitched 6 1-3 innings of two-hit ball with seven strikeouts in a 2-0 home win over the Dodgers on Aug. 30.
Kershaw gave up two runs and a season-high nine hits while striking out nine over six innings in that game. While Kershaw is 7-4 with a 2.45 ERA lifetime against the Diamondbacks, he's posted a 6.94 mark in losing his last two starts at Arizona.
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||6||.333||2||0||0||1||2||.429||.762||.333|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||5||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|September 09, 2012||Clayton Kershaw||Day-to-Day||Sore hip|
|September 08, 2012||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder strain|
|September 08, 2012||Adam Kennedy||Day-to-Day||Strained right groin|
|September 03, 2012||Javy Guerra||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|September 01, 2012||Chris Withrow||60-Day DL||Recovery from torn pectoral muscle|
|August 31, 2012||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Recovery from auto accident, concussion|
|August 30, 2012||Chris Johnson||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|August 21, 2012||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Tight hamstring|
|August 17, 2012||Jason Kubel||Day-to-Day||Neck stiffness|
|August 14, 2012||Takashi Saito||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|August 14, 2012||Takashi Saito||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|August 09, 2012||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Lower back stiffness|
PHOENIX (AP) -- Ian Kennedy has been maddeningly inconsistent in the follow-up year to his 21-win season.
His performance Tuesday night was a reminder of how good he can be.
Kennedy pitched neatly into the eighth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks used an unearned run to beat Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0.
It was the first 1-0 victory of the season for the Diamondbacks, who needed left fielder Jason Kubel to rob Luis Cruz of a two-run homer with a leaping grab at the wall to end the fifth inning.
The lone run came in the seventh, when Paul Goldschmidt reached on shortstop Hanley Ramirez 's throwing error and scored from first on Miguel Montero 's double.
With San Francisco's win at Colorado, the Dodgers fell six games behind the first-place Giants in the NL West. Arizona ended a six-game home losing streak.
Kennedy (13-11) gave up four hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking none.
"Really what made my fastball better was the execution of my off-speed pitches," Kennedy said. "I was throwing those for strikes and when you do that it's going to be a good game, at least you give your team a chance. You've got to against Kershaw, he's one of the best pitchers in the game."
Kershaw (12-9) allowed three hits, striking out five and walking three in seven innings.
"I blinked first tonight," Kershaw said. "I threw a pitch I shouldn't have. I didn't put it where I wanted to and Miguel did a good job with it and made me pay for it. You can't blink first in those games and I did."
Montero said he hit a slider a little over the plate. It was about the only hard-hit ball off of Kershaw.
"That was the best he's looked in the times we've faced him this year," Montero said. "He had everything going. I ran into one pitch and that was the difference. But his stuff was very, very good."
Kershaw is 0-2 in his last three starts despite allowing a combined three earned runs. The Dodgers have lost all three games.
"It hurts when he pitches so good and we don't get a win," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said.
But, Kershaw said, "They all hurt the same right now."
Regular closer J.J. Putz, who blew consecutive saves last week, was out with a stiff back, manager Kirk Gibson said, so David Hernandez came on in the ninth. He gave up a two-out double to Shane Victorino , then Adrian Gonzalez struck out looking, staring at home plate umpire Dan Iassogna after the pitch.
Kennedy got big defensive plays from third baseman Chris Johnson and second baseman Aaron Hill . Johnson nabbed Kershaw's sharp line drive in the sixth and Hill made a lunging grab on Andre Ethier 's liner leading off the seventh.
Kennedy, a 21-game winner a year ago, left after giving up a single to Luis Cruz . Brad Ziegler came on and got a double-play grounder to end the inning. Ziegler has induced major-league best 17 double plays, most by a National League reliever since Jeremy Affeldt 's 18 in 2009.
Goldschmidt reached for the third time when Ramirez's throw on a deep ground ball bounced in front of first base and Gonzalez couldn't handle it. Montero followed with the double to deep right-center that easily scored Goldschmidt, who had been picked off at first by Kershaw in the second.
Montero advanced to third on a passed ball and tried to score on Johnson's fly ball to center. But Matt Kemp 's throw arrived first and Montero was out on a close play, ending the inning.
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the third when John McDonald singled with one out, then Adam Eaton and Hill drew two-out walks. The threat ended when Kubel bounced out.
The Dodgers got a runner to second when Ethier doubled to left-center with two outs in the fifth. On the next pitch, Cruz launched one to deep left but Kubel, backtracking in a hurry, made a leaping grab at the wall to rob him of what would have been a two-run homer, and the game remained scoreless.
"I wasn't sure if it was going to get out or not but thankfully it hung up a little bit so I could get under it," Kubel said. "It was fun. I'm just happy it worked out and thankfully it saved us a couple of runs. It could have been 2-1, who knows?"
Kemp doubled with two outs in the seventh but was stranded after Ramirez's check-swing dribbler to the pitcher.
NOTES: Arizona had last won at home on Aug. 22, when it swept a doubleheader from Miami. ... Kershaw leads the NL with 206 strikeouts. ... Los Angeles starts Aaron Harang (9-8, 3.75 ERA) in the finale of the brief series while Arizona goes with Trevor Cahill (10-11, 3.98). ... Goldschmidt's single in the fourth was his first hit against Kershaw in 10 at-bats. ... Arizona improved to 11-6 against the Dodgers this season with one game remaining.
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