Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kershaw faced the Marlins... bet you know what happened

Yup, he won.

Clayton Kershaw put in another Clayton Kershaw-like day on the mound, tossing eight innings of shutout ball as the Dodgers pounded the Marlins, 6-0.  After dropping Monday's opener to Jose Fernandez, the Dodgers won the next three by a combined score of 16-5.

The Diamondbacks dropped an afternoon tilt at the same time the Dodgers were in action, so the NL West lead increased to 9 1/2 games.

While the final line was fantastic, Kershaw was actually very shaky for himself in the first couple of innings.  He walked leadoff hitter Christian Yelch in the first, but got the next three in order.

In the second, Kershaw had to really fight through his control issues, as his fastball was just all over the place.  Ed Lucas singled to center leading off, then went to second on a wild pitch.  Justin Ruggiano walked, and the Marlins were in business.

Then again, the Marlins are the Marlins, and Kershaw is Kershaw, so you knew that somehow there'd be no runs scored.  And that's exactly what happened, as the next three went down meekly, and the game remained scoreless.

Yasiel Puig led off the fourth with an absolute monster shot that somehow went an estimated 436 feet and DIDN'T leave the ballpark.  Alas, he settled for a double off the very top of the centerfield wall.  After going to third on a groundout, he tried to score on what he thought was a wild pitch to Skip Schumaker, but the ball actually hit his foot, so it was all for naught.

Juan Uribe took a walk to load the bases with two outs, and Kershaw got another big hit with an RBI single, making it 1-0.  Carl Crawford hit a sinking liner just in from of Giancarlo Stanton in right for the two-run double, and it was 3-0.

Spotted a three-run lead, Kershaw shook off any wildness and started mowing down The Fist left and right.  He was helped out by three double play balls, as the rare times the Marlins would get on base, they'd shoot themselves in the foot.  Overall, he ended up allowing five hits, three walks, and six strikeouts over eight frames.

Two more runs were scored for the Dodgers in the fifth, as they really started hitting Henderson Alvarez hard.  Andre Ethier doubled with two outs, and A.J. Ellis hit one of his own to go up 4-0.  Schumaker added an RBI single to score Ellis.

The final run came in the seventh when Adrian Gonzalez doubled leading off, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on Puig's sac-fly RBI.

Once Kershaw was done for the day, the long-awaited debut of Brian Wilson came in the ninth.  He struck out Stanton looking, then got Logan Morrison to ground to second.  Greg Dobbs pinch-hit and lined a double down the right field line, but Wilson bounced back to strikeout Ruggiano to end the game.

And let me tell you, seeing Wilson perform his signature arm cross while pointing at the sky was very weird.  But I'll be happy to keep feeling that way over and over this year.

The Kershaw MVP talk will only continue to intensify with another sensational performance.  He's now up to 13-7 with a 1.76 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 188 K's in 198 1/3 innings.  What more can I say?  The guy is simply out-of-this-world good.

The Dodgers are now unbeaten in their last 18 series, going 14-0-4 in the process.  They're on a 44-10 run, and 28-5 since the All-Star break.  It seems like after every game I'm adding to these numbers... but hey, since they keep winning, why not?  That's the fun of it!  I hope I get to keep doing it.

If there's a downside to the last two games, it's that Zack Greinke and Kershaw now won't be available for the upcoming series against the Red Sox.  One year ago right around this time was when the Sox dumped Gonzalez, Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and all of their salaries for various other guys.  Now these two teams finally meet.

Much like playing the Rays a couple weeks ago, this is another possible World Series preview.  With the bottom three in the rotation going, the Dodgers should be thrilled if they take two.  It won't be easy, even if the studs were going.  But who knows, maybe not giving the Sox a look at the aces will pay off in October.

On Friday night, it'll be Ricky Nolasco taking on John Lackey.

No comments: