If there is anybody who could stop the bleeding for Los Angeles, that would be Clayton Kershaw, who gets the start Tuesday in hopes of turning things around for the slumping Dodgers.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner owns the Giants in 87 innings pitched against the rivals to the north. Kershaw is 6-2 with a 1.34 ERA while holding San Francisco batters to a .180 batting average.
What is even more promising for the Dodgers is that Kershaw is better while facing the Giants on the road, owning a 4-1 record with a minuscule 0.45 ERA in six career games (five starts) at AT&T Park.
After allowing eight hits and four runs on June 15 against the White Sox, Kershaw rebounded and threw eight innings of one-run and three-hit ball against Oakland in his last outing.
The lefty had allowed four home runs in three games before the stellar performance against the Athletics.
"Every time he doesn't throw a two-hit shutout, it's like, 'What's wrong with Clayton?' That's not fair," manager Don Mattingly said after his ace's last start.
After a game like Monday's series opener, the Dodgers may need a performance like that as Kershaw takes on Ryan Vogelsong, who has been a model of consistency for the Giants this year.
Vogelsong heads into Tuesday's game with a 6-3 record and 2.41 ERA, which is slightly better than Kershaw's numbers (5-3, 2.73 ERA).
The Giants righty was 0-1 with a 4.19 ERA at the end of April, but he has steadily improved with a lights-out May and an almost-as-good June. He is 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in four starts this month with the one loss coming in his most recent outing against Jered Weaver and the Angels, which snapped a six-game winning streak.
"I feel like, for me, to have people start believing that I'm real, I have to win these games against guys like Weaver, [Clayton Kershaw], the No. 1's on other teams," he said.
Vogelsong was disappointed after failing to do so in his last start, but he'll get that opportunity again Tuesday against Kershaw.
Dodgers: Kemp's All-Star status in question
Matt Kemp continues to lead the National League in All-Star balloting this year thanks to his torrid start to the season, but the possibility of him playing in the game decreases each day that he's still out of the Dodgers' lineup.
"If he hasn't played a game for us, it's hard to think of Matt playing his first game in the All-Star Game," said Mattingly, who has had that conversation with Kemp. "The home run contest, nobody has a problem with that. We're still a couple of weeks away before the break. But he hasn't played a rehab -- he's been out a long time. I think Matt feels the same way. To me, he says he wants to make sure he's healthy. We've talked about it when it comes up like this."
Kemp has been on the disabled list twice this season with a strained left hamstring, playing only one game between DL stints.
"He's got to be healthy or he can't play," said general manager Ned Colletti. "We'll have to see. No doubt he really wants to play."
Giants: Penny could join Giants' big league roster
Brad Penny was signed by the Giants to a Minor League contract in May, and he could be an option to join the team's pitching staff in the near future.
Penny has been pitching for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies after time at extended spring training. The former All-Star has a 7.11 ERA in six appearances with the Grizzlies, but he has shown promise with three scoreless innings in his last two appearances.
The veteran pitcher is a likely bullpen option for the Giants, but he could also be used as a spot starter if the team brings him up.
"We signed him to come up here and help us," manager Bruce Bochy said Monday. "We'll see how it goes. I talked to Brad yesterday, and he said he feels good. He's throwing the ball fairly well. He'll have a day or two off, then one more outing, and then we're going to have to make a call."
Buster Posey is hitting .111 in 21 at-bats against Kershaw in his career.
Kershaw has thrown 94 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched against the Giants.