Dodgers 4, San Francisco Giants 2: Today’s game story.

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw allowed seven hits and two runs while walking one batter and striking out nine in eight innings Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. (Associated Press photo)

Things you learn by talking to people after a game: The Dodgers’ win over the Giants today might have depended on overcoming a misunderstanding.

You can read about that here; the box score is here.

Joc Pederson didn’t get into the game. In fact, he wasn’t even the left-hander chosen to pinch hit for Clayton Kershaw in the ninth inning against right-hander Hunter StricklandAndre Ethier was. Behind the scenes, he’s still adjusting to a new routine. You can read about that here.

Yusmeiro Petit vs. Clayton Kershaw: Why it’s safe to take the under today.

SAN FRANCISCO >> After the Giants scored all nine runs Friday, and the Dodgers scored all 17 runs Saturday, the two teams will be hard-pressed to put up a crooked number in Sunday’s series finale.

Clayton Kershaw is starting for the Dodgers. He’s had the efficiency of a robot all season. Here are a few numbers that make it hard to believe he will allow a run today:

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Dodgers’ “Big Three” lined up to face Giants.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw can match Orel Hershiser’s franchise record for single-season winning percentage by beating the Giants on Sunday. (Getty Images)

The Giants must face the Dodgers’ top three starters this weekend in San Francisco. Oh, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will all be pitching on an extra day’s rest.g

That’s about as good as Don Mattingly could have drawn it up.

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Clayton Kershaw is lined up to start the Dodgers’ first playoff game.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Clayton Kershaw‘s September starts have been lined up “for a while now.”

In theory, Kershaw would start Sunday in San Francisco, Sept. 19 in Chicago, and Sept. 24 at home against the Giants. That presumes that Kershaw takes every turn in the rotation in order, on schedule.

A few implications:

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Clayton Kershaw’s ping pong tournament going strong in second year.

Ping Pong 4 Purpose

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (holding the Stella Artois can) and comedian George Lopez play ping pong Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. (David Crane/Staff photographer)


When Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul team up, how can they lose?

On a superficial level, Thursday night proved it was possible. Columnist Jill Painter reports that the two were bounced in the first round of Kershaw’s second annual “Ping Pong 4 Purpose” charity event at Dodger Stadium.

In all the ways that matter, Kershaw carried the day. A slew of Hollywood celebrities and Dodger players participated in the event, whose proceeds benefit Kershaw’s Challenge. From Jill’s column:

The money raised from the event will go toward building another orphanage in Africa and money to help pay for surgeries and medical care. In addition, funds will help the Dream Center, an organization that helps people move from the street to transitional housing.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the event.

Greg Maddux offers some high praise for Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw pauses before throwing the final pitch of his no-hitter June 18 at Dodger Stadium. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

SAN DIEGO >> Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw‘s name has been linked to Greg Maddux quite a bit in recent years. Last year, Kershaw became the first pitcher since Maddux to lead the majors in earned-run average in three consecutive seasons.

This year, Kershaw is on track to make it four years in a row. He’s 16-3 with a 1.73 ERA and a major-league leading six complete games.

Maddux never finished higher than third in National League Most Valuable Player voting in 23 major-league seasons. Speaking Friday at Petco Park, the recently inducted Hall of Famer thinks Kershaw has a shot at winning the award this year.

“I don’t have a vote,” Maddux said, asked if Kershaw should win the award. “That [winning three straight MLB ERA titles] is what it would take for a pitcher to win the MVP. That and a down year on the hitter’s side.”

It so happens that offense is down across the board this season. The OPS for the entire major leagues is .703, which would be the lowest mark since 1992 (.700).

Even though he wouldn’t commit an MVP vote to Kershaw, Maddux offered some high praise for his former teammate.

“His consistency is off the charts good,” Maddux said. “Everybody who wears a major-league uniform is good in their own way. There’s guys who can do it every time they put on the uniform. … Every time you see a player whose bad games are good, it’s special.”

Zack Greinke’s next start moved back two days because of sore elbow. Update.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke isn’t expected to go on the disabled list because of a sore right elbow. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Zack Greinke‘s next start will be pushed back two days, to Saturday against the New York Mets, because of soreness in his right elbow.

Greinke had an MRI on the elbow two weeks ago that “didn’t show anything different than when we first signed him,” Mattingly said. He isn’t expected to go on the disabled list.

But with Kershaw able to start tomorrow on regular rest — as well as Dan Haren, who now starts Friday — the Dodgers decided to hold Greinke back as a precaution.

“We’re better off giving him a couple extra days for the long term,” Mattingly said.

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Kevin Correia’s Dodgers debut could come tomorrow.

MILWAUKEE — We didn’t bother asking Dan Haren if he was starting tomorrow in Atlanta. His name was on the sheet. There was no reason to expect otherwise.

Besides, Haren earned it. In his most recent start in Anaheim, he gave up three singles, didn’t walk a batter, and only allowed one run in the Dodgers’ 2-1 win over the Angels on Wednesday. His reward: His next turn in the rotation will be pushed back – at least for one day, it seems — by new Dodger Kevin Correia.

“We talked to (Correia) last night,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He seemed excited about being here. As I told him, right now we’ll use him as spot starts, coming out of the bullpen kind of filling Paul (Maholm)’s role, having some length but also giving us some insurance at the starter’s spot.”

When might that spot start come up?

“It might come up tomorrow,” Mattingly said. “That would come up quick. If it would come up tomorrow, hypothetically speaking, during this little stretch of all the games in a row to give our guys a little bit of a breather. Making sure we’re not overtaxing Kersh, Greinke. We know Hyun-Jin’s pitched better with that little extra day.”

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Clayton Kershaw is the odds-on favorite to win the National League MVP award.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw can match Orel Hershiser’s franchise record for most consecutive wins by beating the Angels today. (Getty Images)

As if you needed another reason to watch Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout in tonight’s Angels-Dodgers game: The two young stars are now the odds-on favorites to win the MVP award in their respective leagues, per online oddsmaker Bovada.

Kershaw is now the 4-to-7 favorite to win the National League MVP, ahead of second-place Giancarlo Stanton (7 to 4) and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig (10 to 1).

Kershaw enters tonight’s game unbeaten in his last 11 starts since June 2, going 10-0 with a 0.94 ERA, five complete games, two shutouts, 104 strikeouts (against only eight walks) and a .165 opponents’ batting average (49-for-297) in that span. A win tonight would give Kershaw the longest winning streak of his career and match Orel Hershiser’s team record run from July 18 to Oct. 2, 1985.

He also leads the Majors in ERA (1.71), wins (13, tied with Madison Bumgarner, Wily Peralta, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Adam Wainwright), strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.00) and WHIP (0.82).

Here’s the complete list of updated odds:

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