Despite some late heroics, the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on another great start by Clayton Kershaw and dropped the series finale against the Giants by a score of 7-4. The loss drops the Dodgers to 20-19 overall and puts them back to 4.5 games behind the Giants.
At first, the game continued the Dodgers’ ongoing offensive frustration with runners in scoring position. Andre Ethier hit a double with two outs in the second inning and did not score. In the third inning, Drew Butera reached second with one out after a Kershaw sacrifice bunt and did not score. In the fifth inning, Ethier doubled down the right field line and was moved to third on a Justin Turner ground ball out. Drew Butera grounded to a drawn-in Brandon Hicks. Ethier, who was moving on first contact, was thrown out at the plate. For good measure, Butera was stranded at second to end the inning.
Finally, the Dodgers broke through against Tim Hudson in the sixth. Yasiel Puig hit a solo shot into the left field bullpen. Hanley Ramirez, fighting a slump, “doubled” under two infield gloves, then Adrian Gonzalez singled to drive him in, finally giving the Dodgers a hit with runners in scoring position. Later in the inning, Gonzalez was cut down at the plate trying to score from second on a single, ending the rally.
Hudson didn’t miss many bats today, but he did an excellent job keeping the ball on the ground. He only allowed two fly balls all afternoon, including Puig’s home run. He went six innings, striking out two batters and walking one intentionally.
On the other side of the ball, Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Kershaw… for the most part. He went seven innings, striking out nine batters and walking zero. He also did this:
That’s a 60mph eephus pitch which completely befuddled Angel Pagan.
However, the Giants were able to scratch out three runs against Kershaw, including two in the seventh. Pablo Sandoval somehow singled on a ball which was about six inches off the ground. Kershaw got ahead of Brandon Hicks 0-2, and threw him a curveball. Hicks hit a home run on the pitch. That’s the first time that Kershaw has ever allowed a home run on his curve during the regular season, according to Fangraphs (though apparently there are some classification issues). Baseball.
After today’s start, Kershaw has 25 strikeouts and 1 walk this year, which gives him a 1.44 FIP and 1.55 xFIP. The three runs allowed raised Kershaw’s ERA to 1.74. Chris Withrow allowed another Giant run in the eighth and Jamey Wright threw a scoreless ninth.
However, the Dodgers fought back at the last possible second. After striking out Miguel Olivo, Sergio Romo allowed a double to Dee Gordon. He then struck out Puig, who almost worked back from an 0-2 count. With two outs, Hanley Ramirez stepped up to the plate hit a two run line drive home run to tie the score at four. After Gonzalez grounded out to second, the Dodgers needed extra innings for the tenth time this year.
Kenley Jansen, tasked with pitching the tenth inning, had a difficult time to say the least. After a leadoff walk, one line drive, another walk, and a few balls which failed to find gloves, he allowed two runs and only got one out before being removed for J.P. Howell. A third run (charged to Jansen) scored on a wild pitch which Olivo should have caught. The outing raised Jansen’s xFIP to 2.16, and his BABIP to .452. His control looked off today, but this season hasn’t been anywhere close to the disaster that some people consider it to be.
The Dodgers brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the tenth, but the damage was done. Mercifully, the Dodgers won’t play the Giants again until late July. Tomorrow, the Marlins come into town to face Dan Haren, who will be the subject of a long post in the morning.