…aaaaaand exhale, because wow, did a lot just happen there. Clayton Kershaw was fine, but hardly up to his usual standards. I know that sounds weird when you consider that he struck out eight, walked one, and allowed three earned runs in seven innings. For most any other pitcher in baseball, that’s a pretty great night. For Kershaw, it was one of his lesser outings of the year, which says a whole lot about how wonderful he is. That he allowed Peter Bourjos, a career .248/.304/.389 hitter, to hit a tying two-run homer in the sixth didn’t help, of course, nor did a questionable strike zone from umpire Ed Hickox, but despite only the one walk, it really did seem as though he wasn’t hitting his spots as he’d have liked.
Of course, that’s not what we’ll remember from this game. Obviously, it’s… Matt Kemp‘s nice play!
Okay, fine, fine, but first, let’s at least remember that A.J. Ellis picked off old friend Mark Ellis to end the seventh, and that he led off the ninth with a double that eventually turned into pinch-runner Miguel Rojas scoring the winning run on an Adrian Gonzalez single off Trevor Rosenthal, important because Gonzalez has been increasingly awful this year, and that Kenley Jansen nailed it down in the ninth giving the Dodgers a much-needed win to avoid the sweep.
But fine, if we must: a day after Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch, Hanley Ramirez was hit twice, making it three times by this team if you include Joe Kelly‘s in the NLCS last year. Let’s get one thing out the way here, and that’s that if you really think any of that was intentional, you’re not watching the same sport I am. The second one, the bad one that really looked like it broke Ramirez’ hand — though initial x-rays were negative — came with two outs and an 0-2 count in a tied game, and a man in scoring position. There is absolutely, without question, unarguably, no intent on Rosenthal’s part there, and it sure didn’t look like it when rookie Carlos Martinez plunked in the fourth.
Kershaw hit Matt Holliday after the first one, smartly doing so nowhere near the head. If you believe Rosenthal threw at Ramirez intentionally, well, than retaliating didn’t stop anything. If you believe that he didn’t throw intentionally, as I do, well, then the point was made and we should be able to stop saying that the Dodgers didn’t make their point. I get wanting to stand up for those who have been wronged, I do, and while I don’t agree with it, Kershaw did so. That should be it, right? But no; half my Twitter feed still wanted Jansen to hit the first Cardinal of the ninth inning… in a one-run game. Seriously. The same Jansen who has been BABIP’d to death. He should be the one putting free runners on base. At some point, you just need to admit you don’t care about baseball, and you just care about having a “who’s is biggest?” competition.
Anyway, I’m completely uninterested in the tough guy stuff. I really, truly do not care. What I care about now is that Ramirez is probably going to be unavailable for the one millionth time, and it didn’t come about because Kershaw did or did not throw at enough Cardinals. It came about because Rosenthal throws a billion miles an hour, let one get away from him, and Ramirez is absolutely not the type of player who is going to be able to shake that off. (Not that most others could, either, just that he’s clearly got an injury history.)
Frankly, I’m happy the Dodgers don’t face the Cardinals again in the regular season, because I don’t look forward to any more of this stuff. Of course, the playoffs loom. So, uh, go Brewers!