Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 2.65 ERA) vs. Yusei Kikuchi (0-1, 5.28 ERA)
The Los Angeles Dodgers look to bounce back on Thursday following a shoddy performance Wednesday. The Mariners were 6-4 winners to notch their first victory in this series. While it’s only their first win over the Dodgers, they were competitive in the first two outings. The Dodgers won 11-9 and 2-1, so the Mariners made it interesting at least.
A couple of games of playing competitive baseball with the Dodgers and winning one is a step in the right direction for the Mariners. And the Mariners have one more game left to impress versus the Dodgers in this series. We’ll see if they can close things out on a high note against the visiting Dodgers.
Don’t expect to see the Mariners in the postseason, but signs of improvement here and there are important. That is especially true for the younger guys on this roster. The Mariners failed when they signed a big bat in Robinson Cano, and now it’s back looking towards the future in Seattle.
I will give them credit on going for it in an attempt to give Felix Hernandez a chance in the playoffs. It obviously didn’t go so well, but there were good intentions by the front office. For years they were bashed for not going after a power bat like Cano. Fans were excited, but Cano looked well over the hill in Seattle.
The Mariners enter Thursday with a record of 8-18 for dead last in the AL West. That puts them 9.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for first in the division. They can stop watching the standings if that’s what they’re doing as we approach mid-season. Yusei Kikuchi is one Mariner that the organization was hoping to see improvements from in 2020.
His velocity is up in the mid 90’s, though his numbers are still in the gutter. Kikuchi has a sizable challenge with Clayton Kershaw scheduled to get the starting nod for the Dodgers. He’s coming off a strong start against the LA Angels last week. Head below for our free LA Dodgers vs. Seattle Mariners pick for August 20, 2020.
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Clayton Kershaw missed his first start of the season and there was a moment of panic amongst Dodgers’ fans. Fortunately, though, it was nothing serious and Kershaw is back on track in the rotation. Kershaw goes into Thursday with an ERA of 2.65 and 0.82 WHIP. Opposing hitters are connecting for a .180 average against Kershaw in 2020.
Despite a strong ERA of 2.65, you almost expect a little more from Kershaw after all of the success he’s had throughout his career, which is crazy to say. Kershaw has an ERA of 2.44 in 350 games in his career. Kershaw ran into problems against the San Francisco Giants in one of his three outings this season.
He was tagged for 7 hits and 4 earned runs through 4.1 innings. However, Kershaw was flawless in his two other starts against the Diamondbacks and Angels on the road. He gave up just 1 run to the Angels across 7 innings. That 1 run was due to one swing of the stick, as Kershaw gave up just 1 hit as well. In 12.2 innings on the road in 2020, Kershaw has recorded an ERA of 0.71 and 0.47 WHIP. The D-backs and Angels hit 0.98 against Kershaw.
Kershaw, not surprisingly, has been dominant against the Mariners in his career. This Mariners team is hitting just .167 with no runs scored in 18 at-bats. Yusei Kikuchi has a big challenge on Thursday. He will likely be forced to try to keep up with Kershaw which is no easy chore. Kikuchi owns an ERA of 5.28 and 1.30 WHIP in 2020. He missed his last start because of neck spasms.
While an ERA of 5.28 is not good for Kikuchi, he has been better at the eye test than last year. His velocity is up, so that’s good news, though Kikuchi has given up at least 4 earned runs in three out of four starts this season. Look for the Dodgers to take out some frustration out on the Mariners following a rough showing yesterday.