Before the seventh inning of tonight’s 2-0 Dodger victory, neither team had a batter reach second base. Enrique Hernandez scattered a couple of hits among a lot of continued Dodger offensive futility. That’s not to discredit Cardinal starter Jaime Garcia, who was great, but the questionable lineup was performing about as well as one would expect the questionable lineup to perform.
Finally, in the seventh inning, the offense broke through. Chris Heisey – unfairly maligned but should not be batting second – led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Yasiel Puig followed up with a double of his own, finally pushing across the first run. Justin Turner then hit a line drive off of Kolten Wong‘s glove, which drove in Puig. Puig’s speed looked excellent on the play, hopefully pointing towards full recovery. Two runs was all the Dodgers could score, and two runs isn’t great, but they were enough tonight.
However, the real story tonight was Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw against the Cardinals will always bring up both bad memories and narratives, but he did his best to erase those tonight. Randal Grichuk singled in the second inning on a chopper that bounced in front of the mound before skipping just past Jimmy Rollins. That was the only hit that Kershaw allowed in his eight innings of work. Kershaw struck out 11 Cardinals (many looking – his fastball command was excellent tonight). His curve was also looking fantastic, and is in many ways the best it has ever been.
Hopefully this will quiet the “Cardinals own Clayton Kershaw” narrative. He pitched out of the stretch a few times tonight (he walked two batters and hit one, as well as the hit) and there were no signs of them being able to pick up any tipped pitches. Also, this should quiet down the “what’s wrong with Clayton Kershaw” talk as well. After tonight, his ERA is down to 3.36, his FIP decreased to 2.56, and his xFIP remained the same at 2.19. Decent.
Kenley Jansen closed out the win with two pop-ups and a strikeout. The win also keeps the Dodgers 1/2 game in front of the Giants for first place. They will now try to salvage a split against the Cardinals tomorrow night. Zack Greinke will attempt to follow up on Kershaw’s success against Lance Lynn at 5:08 PM Pacific Time.