In his last outing, Kershaw gave up three hits while taking the Dodgers into the seventh inning in Friday's 5-2 win over the Marlins for his third straight win. He'll go for No. 4 on Wednesday against the Pirates, whom Los Angeles defeated in the first two games of this four-game set.
Kershaw's outing on Friday was his fifth quality start over his last six games and it improved his record to 10-6. He has an ERA of 2.88 this season.
"He's been good a lot," manager Don Mattingly said. "We don't realize how good sometimes."
While Kershaw has dominated many opposing teams, he has never beaten the Pirates. He is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts against the Bucs, who will trot out Wandy Rodriguez to oppose him.
Rodriguez hasn't had the greatest success with the Pirates since being acquired midseason, but he has been serviceable.
He has thrown two quality starts in his three outings with Pittsburgh and he gave up four earned in six innings in the other, which was on Thursday against Arizona. He is winless since coming over from Houston and he has dropped seven of his last eight decisions, but manager Clint Hurdle is confident in Rodriguez.
The new Pirates starter was virtually perfect between two-run homers in the first and sixth inning in his last outing.
"What I liked were the 15 outs in between," Hurdle said about that start. "You saw a confident guy on the mound who went right after people."
Dodgers: Mattingly not concerned with League's rough start
Mattingly said he knows reliever Brandon League is capable of turning things around after a shaky five games since joining the Dodgers.
League has given up five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings during that span and he is sporting a 16.88 ERA with his new team.
Mattingly said the problem is League has been up in the zone. The skipper said his new reliever has made him a "little skittish," but he knows the veteran is able to produce.
"You can't always get off to a great start," Mattingly said. "We've just got to stay with him, keep him working, keep him positive and get him in the mix where he's throwing the ball good, just like anybody else who's going through a stretch, or whatever."
Pirates: McDonald mentally regrouping with extra rest
James McDonald started the season on fire, but things have cooled down lately for the righty since the All-Star break.
He has allowed multiple runs in an inning 10 times in six starts since the break and he's using the extra time off between starts to regain command of himself.
"I have to get back to that frame of mind I had earlier in the season," McDonald said. "Damage control -- I have to make adjustments to what [opposing hitters] are trying to do to me."
He is being given six days off before pitching again on Friday in St. Louis. Prior to the All-Star break, McDonald had only given up multiple runs in an inning six times in 17 starts.
Rodriguez is 5-4 with a 2.21 ERA in 12 career games (11 starts) against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers have won eight straight against the Bucs and have won 11 of the last 12 meetings.