On Friday night, the Giants whomped the Dodgers, 9-0. On Saturday night, the Dodgers decimated the Giants, 17-0. For what was expected to be a very competitive series between the only two non-train wreck teams in the NL West, this weekend had turned into a hilarious joke that had seen both games all but over from the very start, as Hyun-jin Ryu and Tim Hudson had each lasted just a single inning. You had to figure that at least one of these games would actually be a contest, and today’s was, I guess, though it never seemed as close as the two-run margin made it seem.
Why? Because Clayton Kershaw exists. He is not phased by your attempts to defeat him. Run into him on a day where he doesn’t have his good curveball? Well, no big deal…
GIF Link (kudos to Chad)
… he’ll just pump in fastballs and sliders at you, still getting through eight innings, striking out nine and allowing just two runs, and pushing back against any Don Mattingly attempt to remove him before the ninth. In the eighth, his final inning, it took him all of six pitches to get through Joe Panik, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. It could be said that compared to normal Kershaw, this was a big of a struggle for him, throwing 80 pitches through five. It could be said that even a less-than-usual Kershaw is still one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball. It’s absolutely ludicrous how dominant he is, even when he isn’t.
Kershaw also singled and was tossed out trying to stretch it into a double, but otherwise didn’t figure into the run scoring. You know who did? The rejuvenated Matt Kemp, who continued his second half assault on pitchers by blasting a sixth inning Yusmeiro Petit deep into the bleachers for his 20th homer of the year. Of course, the Dodgers were already up 2-1 by that point, because the Giants did their best to match last week’s Dodger error show with some fun and games of their own:
Kenley Jansen easily shut down the Giants in the ninth to preserve the win, and — with the exception of Ryu’s uncertain health — this weekend really couldn’t have gone better. You could never have expected a sweep, because the Giants are a good team. You worried, after Friday, that the Dodgers would leave San Francisco either tied or up by only one game. Thanks to last night and today, they’re leaving town a game better than how they arrived, up by three. It’s still not over, because the Dodgers have a pretty terrifying pitching group set up for the series in Coors Field — Dan Haren, Roberto Hernandez and Carlos Frias — and the Giants still have another crack at the Dodgers next week. But if the Giants really wanted to make noise in the division, they needed to take advantage of this opportunity. They didn’t. It’s almost time to start planning for the playoffs.