Dodgers 4, Braves 0: Kershaw leads team shutout as offense explodes late

Clayton Kershaw against the Braves hitters seemed like a match made in heaven for the Dodgers, but it actually ended up resulting in his shortest outing of the season as he struggled with command. Still, he kept the Braves scoreless anyway, and he ended up leading the pitching staff’s performance in a 4-0 win for the Dodgers tonight.

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Kershaw was on the mound today, so of course the story starts with him. While absolute dominance was expected, he actually turned in his shortest outing of the season tonight, as he lasted just six innings and 96 pitches. Prior to tonight, Kershaw had never gone less than seven innings and had only thrown less than 96 pitches once before. While he clearly didn’t have his best stuff, Kershaw limited the Braves to three hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch while allowing no runs, though he did somehow only strikeout four.

Despite the Braves ranking last in offense in the majors, Kershaw did run into trouble frequently this game. In the top of the second, he allowed a lead-off single and was then called for a dubious balk by Joe West.

I’m … puzzled as to how that’s a balk.

Anyway, while the runner did reach third, Kershaw managed to work out of that inning without damage. But it happened again in the next inning when he walked the lead-off man in the third and that runner also reached third base before Kershaw worked his way out of trouble. Later, in the sixth inning, he hit the opposing pitcher to lead off the inning, which was another exceedingly odd occurrence.

Kershaw then gave up an infield single and the threat was on. Luckily, he managed to escape that jam as well to keep the shutout. When all was said and done, Kershaw actually only managed two clean frames on the night, which is a rarity for him.

The Dodgers offense was stagnant for most of the game, but they got on the board in third. With one down, Kershaw singled up the middle into the shortstop’s glove by beating the throw to first. After another out, Corey Seager walked and then Justin Turner got a ball off the end of the bat up the middle which snuck through to drive in Kershaw and give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

The hitters then went into hibernation until the eighth inning, when the broke the game open with a crooked number. Turner led off with a double to right center that was actually more of a single and an error. After Adrian Gonzalez moved him to third with a grounder, Trayce Thompson walked, and lefty specialist was brought in to face Joc Pederson. On the first pitch to Joc, he finally got a bunt to work and not only managed to get the run in but got a single out of it.

That scored Turner for an insurance run and put the Dodgers up 2-0. Following that, roommates Trayce and Joc executed a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Howie Kendrick was walked to intentionally load the bases, and a new reliever proceeed to give up a sac fly to A.J. Ellis to drive in Trayce and a single to Yasmani Grandal to drive in Joc, giving the Dodgers the 4-0 cushion.

On the night, the Dodgers walked seven times but still only amassed six hits. Fortunately then, they assisted themselves by finally getting the running game going, stealing five bases.

Even before that outburst, though, the bullpen did their job, with Joe Blanton coming through with a scoreless seventh and Pedro Baez (yes, I know) managing to do the same in the eighth. Kenley Jansen then entered in what was suddenly a non-save situation, and he looked … less than enthused.

After a rare lead-off walk, Kenley then threw a ball away into a dugout without calling time, which moved the runner to second. Fortunately he set the rest of the batters down in order, including two strikeouts.

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With the win, the Dodgers are now 30-27 overall and 15-12 at home. The Dodgers go for the series sweep tomorrow at 10:10 AM HST/1:10 PM PST/4:10 PM EST with a (hopefully still) rejuvenated Scott Kazmir matching up with Matt Wisler.

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About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times