Giants look to win series against Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- The San Francisco Giants have been looking ahead to next season for a while, and they'll put rookie right-hander Chris Stratton back under the microscope in their series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.

Stratton (3-3, 3.94 ERA) has made an impression over his past six outings, posting a 2.17 ERA in that span to demonstrate he's a legit candidate to fill a back-end starter role next season.

"He's on a nice roll," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News after Stratton allowed two runs and five hits over six innings in a 7-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. "If you have good stuff and good command and the ability to adjust your patterns and how you attack hitters, you'll be good. That's how it works in the major leagues and he's doing that."

Stratton, taken 20th overall by the Giants in the 2012 MLB Draft, two spots behind Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, made one of his nine career starts against the visiting Dodgers on Sept. 11, but recorded only one out on five pitches before a lengthy rain delay ended his evening.

He made his only other appearance against Los Angeles in June of last season and earned his first major league win in one inning of relief. He gave up a solo home run in the 10th inning to Adrian Gonzalez, but the Giants scored twice in the bottom of the inning off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to win the game.

Stratton will be up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who's still trying to find his rhythm after missing six weeks with back issues. Kershaw (17-4, 2.26 ERA) is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts since his return. He gave up the first grand slam of his career in his most recent outing, a 4-3 loss at the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kershaw lost a 4-3 decision to the visiting Giants on May 1, but has been otherwise stellar against San Francisco this season, owning a 3-1 mark with a 1.73 ERA. He beat the Giants on Sept. 12 after holding them to one earned run and scattering eight hits in six innings of a 5-3 victory in San Francisco.

Kershaw has thrown a career-high five shutouts in 39 starts against San Francisco. He's 21-9 overall against the Giants with a 1.62 mark, his best ERA against a team he has faced at least 10 times.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he does not plan to place any limitations on Kershaw, even though Los Angeles has already locked up the National League West title.

"He's going to go full bore and after (Sunday) we'll know more on how we want to manage him for that last start against Colorado," Roberts said.

The Giants won't be holding anything back against Kershaw either. They're looking to win a series for one of the few times this season.

"They're staying focused, despite where we're at." Bochy said of his players after a 2-1 win on Saturday night. "That's what I feel good about. I like the intensity and how we're playing."
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