Guardians hope to build momentum vs. Dodgers

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The Cleveland Guardians‘ ongoing attempts to ignite their offense has resulted in regular at-bats for first baseman Kole Calhoun, who joined the team earlier this month.

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Calhoun has settled into the middle of the batting order for the Guardians, who continue their three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Los Angeles lost for just the third time in 20 games this month on Tuesday, when Calhoun’s three-run homer capped a five-run seventh inning and helped the Guardians rally for an 8-3 victory.

Calhoun has recorded hits in 11 of his 13 games since joining Cleveland. The 35-year-old veteran was acquired from the Dodgers‘ organization earlier this month and said he immediately felt embraced by his new team.

“It’s been awesome,” Calhoun said. “This organization has been phenomenal and been honest with me from the start and let me have some freedom and let me be around a bunch of kids, so I’m having fun playing with them.”

Calhoun has provided a much-needed power threat for the Guardians, who rank last in the majors with 91 home runs and have hit just nine this month.

The Guardians will look for another strong game at the plate when they face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (11-4, 2.48 ERA) on Wednesday. On Aug. 16, the left-hander made his second start since returning from the injured list and tossed five innings of one-run ball in a 7-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kershaw, 35, has 208 career victories. He can tie Don Drysdale for second on the franchise’s all-time list with a win against Cleveland.

Calhoun is 2-for-18 (.111) with a homer and 10 strikeouts against Kershaw, who is 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA in three career starts vs. Cleveland.

The Guardians will counter with rookie right-hander Xzavion Curry (3-1, 3.24), who received a no-decision after allowing one run over a career-high six innings against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

“He pitched his heart out,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “The only run he gives up is on the popup that both our guys lost. Other than that, he kept them off the scoreboard. I thought he was terrific.”

Curry, 25, began the season as a long reliever before moving into the rotation earlier this month. He is set to face the Dodgers for the first time.

Los Angeles began the series without designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who was placed on the 10-day injured list before the Tuesday game because of groin tightness.

“He’s in Arizona and I think there’s going to be a week of inactivity and then we’ll pick up a hitting progression,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s going to be two to three weeks until we see him.”

Michael Busch was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City for his third stint with the Dodgers this season and went 0-for-3 in the Tuesday contest. The 25-year-old hit .323 with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs in 88 games for Oklahoma City this season.

“Michael’s earned his way to get back here,” Roberts said. “He’s been performing really well.”

The Dodgers continue to be led by Mookie Betts, who is 18-for-36 (.500) with three doubles, three homers and nine RBIs during an active 10-game hitting streak. He had two hits, two runs, a walk, and two stolen bases on Tuesday.

—Field Level Media

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