The Dodgers survived two rain delays and an impotent offensive showing to beat the Yankees, 2-0. This was a rather significant series win on the road against a red-hot Yankees team fighting for a Wild Card spot, especially on the heels of dropping the Marlins series.
Most importantly, Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Kershaw. Thanks to the rain delays, he was limited to 64 pitches in five scoreless innings, but he only surrendered one hit and walked no batters while striking out five Yankees. Two of those strikeouts came in his last inning of work, when he got into trouble with runners at second and third and one out but recorded back-to-back punch outs to end the threat.
We’ll have to walk on eggshells the rest of the way with Kershaw, just hoping his back continues to feel fine. But today was promising in that he definitely looked like the Kershaw we’ve come to expect, and that’s the guy the Dodgers are going to need down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Grant Dayton relieved Kershaw in the sixth inning, and all he did was strikeout the side on 13 pitches. Pedro Baez took over in the seventh and proceeded to get two outs but gave up a single and a walk. So Luis Avilan had to be brought in to face pinch-hitter Brian McCann, and he proceeded to strike him out to help the Dodgers escape trouble yet again. Avilan continued in the eighth, walking a batter and generally looking like he was walking a tightrope, but still notching two more strikeouts to get through the inning.
As for the offense, it looked, well, bad. They were limited to three hits (one double) and two walks through eight innings against Michael Pineda and the Yankees bullpen.
Then came Dellin Betances, who I’m amazed ever allows a run when I see his stuff. Like it’s comical to watch him pitch, and so of course the Dodgers got two runs off him in the ninth. Corey Seager got things started with a line drive hit to Starlin Castro, who let it get by him for an error. Seager then stole second, and Justin Turner drove him in with a double down the line.
This is crazy when you think about it. It’s a 3-2 count, so he has to protect against that 99 mph heater, and even if you know the slider/slurve/whatever is coming it’s impossible to hit, but he still yanks it down the line for a double anyway.
After Turner advanced to third on an Adrian Gonzalez fly out to left, Yasmani Grandal grounded back to Betances. JT, for whatever reason, broke for home in what seemed like a tailor-made TOOTBLAN, but Betances threw it to the backstop to allow Turner to score and put the Dodgers up 2-0.
Kenley Jansen was then tasked with the ninth inning, and while he allowed a single, he struck out the side and his stuff looked comically good.
Kenley is at 95-96 mph today, touching 98 mph, and the cutter is in fact cutting. Seems difficult to hit.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) September 15, 2016
I’m amazed Castro barreled one, frankly.
The Dodgers improve to 82-63 overall and 35-36 on the road, which again puts them so close to average. The Giants somehow lost today with Madison Bumgarner on the mound, meaning the Padres swept the series and thus the Dodgers lead the NL West by 5 games.
The Dodgers travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks tomorrow night at 3:40 PM HST/6:40 PM PST/9:40 PM EST on SportsNet LA. The matchup on the mound will be Rich Hill (1.80 ERA/2.28 FIP/2.82 DRA Overall, 0.00 ERA/1.37 FIP Dodgers), who should totally do that perfecto thing again, against Archie Bradley (5.10 ERA/4.54 FIP/4.47 DRA).