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Kershaw Picking Up Where the Padres Left off

DENVER, CO - APRIL 05:  Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 5, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Kershaw collected the loss as the Rockies defeated the Dodgers 3-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Barrett HansenAnalyst IIApril 12, 2011

For the second time in a row, Clayton Kershaw made Giants hitters look like little leaguers. 

Last night, the southpaw allowed only six hits over 6.2 innings, striking out seven, while not allowing a single run. 

He has now accumulated 13.2 scoreless innings against Giants this season, 22.2 dating back to 2010.

Kershaw is reminiscent of San Diego ace Mat Latos, who in 2010 allowed only five hits in 16 scoreless innings in his first two starts against the Giants. 

“Padre” in Spanish literally means “father” or “priest,” but the Friars were nothing short of demonic against the Giants in 2010. San Diego decisively won the season series 12-6, despite a 2.93 team ERA by the Giants staff.

Last season, it took the Giants until May 18th, their eighth game vs their division foes, to beat the Padres.

In the seven straight losses in 2010, the Giants scored eight total runs, the same amount they scored in their 8-4 victory last week. Over that span, the Giants never scored more than two runs, four times lost by a single run and were shut out twice.

Had the Giants missed the playoffs in 2010, you can guarantee that the offseason story would have been how the team could not figure out the Padres.

They were pretty close, as San Francisco fans would be wise to remember—the Giants squandered two chances to secure the division before finally clinching on the final day of the regular season.  

Few consider the Padres a legitimate threat in the National League West in 2011. After losing Adrian Gonzalez, by far the team's best hitter, it seems unlikely San Diego can muster enough offense to compete.

Plus the Giants have already notched a win versus their Southern California foes, rendering a repeat of last year's early season winless streak impossible. 

The Dodgers, however, look to be the Giants' new division menaces, already 4-1 against the reigning world champions. They have faced each Giants starter once, falling only to probably the Giants most consistent pitcher, Matt Cain. 

Year after year, the Dodgers fail to live up to their preseason expectations. Over the past few seasons they have been a popular pick to win the division, but in reality have struggled even to reach .500.

Last season, they started strong: Andre Ethier was leading all three triple crown categories through May 14th, when a finger injury sidelined him for several weeks.

Los Angeles finished 2010 at 80-82, in fourth place and 12 games behind the Giants.

This year, when the Rockies and Giants dominate the NL West conversation, the Dodgers could finally put it all together and win the division.

It would not be the first time an unheralded team has taken the league by surprise. Not many had the Cincinnati Reds or Texas Rangers in the playoffs in 2010.

Los Angeles is proving thus far to be the Giants toughest obstacle. San Francisco will need to quickly reverse their fortunes against the Dodgers if they hope to avoid another season of divisional struggles. 

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