While the Dodgers may sit at the bottom of the National League West with a 20-27 record, it's easy to see that Clayton Kershaw has been a rock in the team's starting rotation this season.
Calling on him anytime they need to turn things around, Kershaw (5-2, 1.35 ERA) has been nearly unhittable this season. The left-hander hasn't allowed more than one earned run in his past five starts, going 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA since April 28. He also leads the Majors with a 1.35 ERA, a .166 opponents batting average and a 0.82 WHIP.
In his last outing against the Brewers, Kershaw tossed his 10th career complete game, allowing just one run on three hits to halt the Dodgers' three-game losing streak.
"He was on a mission again, the second time in a row," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "It was [Greg] Maddux-like. Just strike after strike."
The Dodgers will look for that same kind of outing from Kershaw on Sunday as they take on the Cardinals in the series finale at Dodger Stadium.
Shelby Miller will be on the hill for the Cardinals and is excited to face Kershaw. Until one start ago, Miller and Kershaw were tied as the National League ERA leaders.
"It's cool, but at the same time, it's just another game. I'm going to go out there and try to get a win for the team, however that comes," Miller said. "Obviously, it's not going to be as easy facing somebody like that, because he's a great pitcher and is known to dominate. But hopefully our offense puts up some runs against him and we keep the runs off the board and win."
Miller took a loss in his last start against the Padres, allowing three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. He also struck out five and walked three, but fell to 5-3 this season with a 1.74 ERA.
The right-hander was inefficient throughout the contest, allowing a baserunner in each inning he tossed. In Miller's eight starts, not including the shutout he threw earlier this month, he is averaging more than 17 pitches per inning.
"Throwing 20 pitches every single inning is not what I'm here to do," Miller said after the game. "Facing a good hitting offense on a big league club, it's not going to be easy to just throw it and have then swing at it every single time. Something I have to realize is to get the ball around the zone and hopefully things happen better."
Cardinals: Gast leaves in second with shoulder tightness
• The Cardinals starting rotation endured another setback on Saturday when John Gast left the game against the Dodgers in the second inning with left shoulder tightness.
Gast was making just his third start since being plugged into the Cardinals' rotation for injured right-hander Jake Westbrook.
After Scott Van Slyke drew a five-pitch walk to open the second, Cardinals trainer Greg Hauck and manager Mike Matheny went to the mound to check on the uncomfortable left-hander.
Dodgers: Hairston could return to the lineup on Sunday
• If Jerry Hairston had no setbacks in his rehab game with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday, he could return to the Dodgers as early as Sunday.
He was scheduled to play six innings in the outfield on Saturday, and the Dodgers could activate him from the disabled list before Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
"We'll get Jerry back fairly soon here," Mattingly said on Saturday afternoon. "He'll play another day and then we'll make a decision. He says he's ready and medical is basically saying one more day."
Hairston has been on the disabled list since May 7, due to a left groin strain and left knee tendinitis.
• Kershaw is the final of four straight left-handed starters for the Dodgers. The last time the Dodgers had four straight left-handed starters was May 25-28, 2009, with Eric Stults, Eric Milton, Kershaw and Randy Wolf.
• Miller has faced the Dodgers one other time in his career, allowing one hit in one inning last Sept. 16, for his first Major League win.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.