Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw hopes to continue a scintillating start this afternoon when the Los Angeles Dodgers close out a three-game series at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies.
A 24-year-old native of Dallas, Kershaw had won 26 times in 85 big-league appearances before busting out onto the elite level last year with a 21-5 record in 33 starts and a 2.28 earned run average across 233 1/3 innings.
He's begun 2012 as if competing for a repeat award is a high priority on his agenda - as a 2-0 record and even stingier 1.78 ERA through 30 1/3 innings will attest.
Los Angeles is 5-0 in games he's pitched, including wins in the first three outings while Kershaw was getting no-decisions after allowing four earned runs on 14 hits in 15 1/3 innings.
He's won two straight against Houston and Washington since, pitching 15 more innings while allowing only two runs and six hits with three walks and 15 strikeouts.
Opponents are batting a measly .182 against him, 33 points below his career mark.
For the Rockies, lefty Drew Pomeranz starts for the eighth time as a big- leaguer and seeks his first win of 2012.
The 23-year-old came to Colorado from Cleveland as part of the deal that send righty Ubaldo Jimenez to the American League last summer.
He was 2-1 in four starts with the Rockies after the deal with a 5.40 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, and has posted a matching 5.40 ERA this season in 13 1/3 innings while dropping a game to Arizona and picking up no-decisions against Milwaukee and New York.
Pomeranz has never faced the Dodgers.
On Tuesday, A.J. Ellis went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI, Andre Ethier belted a three-run homer, and the Dodgers held on for a 7-6 win.
Los Angeles, coming off a 16-win April, spotted starter Ted Lilly a 7-0 lead that dwindled to the smallest of margins heading to the last inning.
On the day the ownership of the club was officially passed from Frank McCourt to Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC, the Dodgers survived thanks to Javy Guerra fanning Carlos Gonzalez with a runner on third for the final out.
"It seems like no lead is really safe," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Those guys seem to do it all the time. It was one of those games."
Lilly (3-0) allowed two runs on four hits and one walk in his six-inning start, while his counterpart, Jhoulys Chacin (0-3), was pounded for seven runs on 11 hits and four walks in just 4 2/3 innings.