(SportsNetwork.com) - Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is making his final bid to start for the National League in next week's All-Star Game and gets the nod Thursday in the opener of a four-game series versus the San Diego Padres at Chavez Ravine.
Kershaw has been lights-out this season and carries a 36 consecutive scoreless innings streak into this series. The streak is the longest in the majors this season and the third-longest single-season run in franchise history behind Don Drysdale (58.0) and Orel Hershiser (59.0).
The left-hander threw eight shutout innings in a 9-0 win at Colorado on Friday with eight strikeouts and one walk, improving to 10-2 with a 1.85 ERA. Kershaw has won seven straight starts and has fanned at least seven batters in nine consecutive contests. Kershaw leads the league with 11.85 strikeouts per nine innings as a starting pitcher.
Kershaw has 115 strikeouts to just 12 walks in 87 1/3 innings.
In six home starts this season, Kershaw is 4-1 and will face San Diego for the first time this season. In 21 career starts against the Padres, Kershaw is 9-6 with a 2.47 ERA. He last faced them in a 4-0 win last Sept. 21, tossing seven scoreless innings with 10 K's and two walks in 99 pitches.
The Dodgers have struggled this month, going 3-5 so far, and recently lost two matchups against the Detroit Tigers.
In Wednesday's 4-1 loss at Comerica Park, Zack Greinke was dealt the hard-luck loss for allowing three runs in seven innings. Miguel Rojas homered and Yasiel Puig finished 2-for-4 for Los Angeles, which went 3-3 on a recent trip.
Los Angeles is even with San Francisco atop the NL West standings.
Meanwhile, San Diego has dropped two straight and four of five games since winning five in a row, and just lost two of three at Colorado.
Seth Smith and Jake Goebbert both homered in Wednesday's 6-3 loss and starting pitcher Eric Stults tossed five innings of three-run ball. With the score tied at 3-3, Joaquin Benoit served up a two-run homer to Drew Stubbs and a solo shot to Troy Tulowitzki in the bottom of the eighth to suffer the loss.
"They got a couple fly balls on a day that (the ball) was flying," Padres manager Bud Black said.
Odrisamer Despaigne draws the start for Black's club and is 2-0 with a 0.92 earned run average. Despaigne will make the fourth start of his career and threw six innings of one-run ball in a 5-3 loss to the Giants on Saturday for a no-decision. The right-hander will face LA for the first time.
The Dodgers are 4-2 against the Padres this season with all six games played at Petco Park. San Diego has lost three straight and five of six games at Dodger Stadium.