Coming into Jackie Robinson Day, the Dodgers had lost 11 in a row to the division rival Diamondbacks, so thankfully they were at least able to end that streak on this occasion with a comfortable 7-2 win. Clayton Kershaw deserves most of the credit for that, as he turned in a dominant performance like an ace should.
Concerns about Kershaw’s velocity are rooted in defensible worry, but doubting Clayton’s ability to adjust is always dubious, which he proved today in seven innings of dominating one-run ball. Despite striking out 12, Kershaw used just 100 pitches, helped by the fact that he allowed just two hits and walked nobody.
Perhaps more importantly, while still sitting in the 90-92 mph range with the fastball, Kershaw’s slider seemed to regain its depth and he used it to devastating effect.
If Kershaw's slider isn't gonna be flat anymore, that might be a fair trade off for a tick or two.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) April 15, 2018
If Kershaw figures out to utilize his off-speed more to compensate for any issues with fastball velocity, there’s potentially less reason to worry about regression in 2018.
Fortunately, the bats didn’t take the day off today, and they backed Kershaw with runs. Granted, some of that was gifted to them, but given their current state, the Dodgers could use any help they can get.
In the 2nd, they loaded the bases with one out behind reaching on an error and two walks, after which Enrique Hernandez plated a run with a sacrifice fly that involved a quality Yasiel Puig barrel roll.
The offense also loaded the bases in the 3rd with one out behind an infield single and two walks, which was immediately cashed in for two runs by a sharp Puig single to center, making it 3-0.
In the same inning, the Dodgers plated another after a walk re-loaded the bases and then another walk to Chase Utley forced a run home.
The run in the 4th was done a lot easier, as Chris Taylor just decided to rip a dong into left to make it 5-0.
CT3 wasn’t done for the day, as he came through with a two-run double in the 5th after the Dodgers put runners on second and third for runs six and seven.
To close out a comfortable lead, Pedro Baez pitched the 8th inning and got a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts. Ross Stripling took over for the 9th but didn’t have nearly as comfortable an outing. He surrendered a double, single, and walk to start the inning but almost remarkably got out of it only allowing a single run.
2018 Diamondbacks doing their 2018 Dodgers impersonation.
The Dodgers manage to avoid another sweep and improve to 5-9 on the year, including 4-5 at home. It still sucks, but it sucks less.
This was the last game of a short five-game homestand, and the team will now travel to San Diego to play the Padres tomorrow at 4:10 PM HST/7:10 PM PST/10:10 PM EST. The good guys will send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound looking to build off his excellent previous start, and the bad guys will send … well, we don’t know who. Luis Perdomo was supposed to start, but he was suspended for his role in the brawl with the Rockies.