An impressive outing for Clayton Kershaw, signs of life from Cody Bellinger and the newly unstoppable Austin Barnes helped lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory in the series opener against the Angels on Friday night in Anaheim.
Looking much better than his last time out, Kershaw hit a high of 93.6 mph with his fastball while averaging 92.1 and reaching a season-high 91 pitches. Only one Angel managed to reach base against Kershaw, as Anthony Rendon walked twice and connected for the only hit, a solo homer to lead off the 5th.
Kershaw’s slider, which led to four of his six strikeouts, sat at 88.0 mph as both pitches bumped back up a bit from his start against the Giants last weekend.
The Angels struggles against Kershaw included an 0-for-3 night with a strikeout for Mike Trout, who is now hitless in his last 14 at-bats against Clayton.
Run support wasn’t too much of a problem for the Dodgers, who got on the board in the 3rd and added to the lead throughout the night.
After stranding runners on first and second with one away in the 1st, the Dodgers didn’t waste a similar opportunity a couple innings later. The now unstoppable Barnes, who is 7-for-15 with 5 RBIs and 3 runs since Stacie dared to question his offensive ability, led off the 3rd with a single and moved to second as Rendon failed to field a Mookie Betts grounder. Betts ended up out on a fielder’s choice at second, but Justin Turner put the Dodgers on the board with an RBI single.
Just in case you missed it in Chad’s video, Fabian Ardaya’s captured some displeasure with the first run of the day.
Bellinger doubled the Dodgers’ run total in the 6th, driving home Turner and his leadoff walk, with his third home run of the year. As Chad mentions, credit to Orel Hershiser, who had been explaining how much better Bellinger had started to look the past few days just before the homer.
Bellinger added another two-run shot in the 8th to make it 7-1, so hopefully Orel is indeed onto something with Bellinger.
A hard-hit ball from David Fletcher bounced off the end of Enrique Hernandez‘s glove, loading the bases for Tommy La Stella. Slapping the ball to right center, La Stella drove in two, but Floro’s full count slider over the plate to Trout landed safely in Bellinger’s glove to end the inning.
Seems a little lucky.
Blake Treinen‘s 9th inning didn’t exactly go smoothly either as he allowed his first earned run of the season. Allowing doubles to Shohei Ohtani and Brian Goodwin, Treinen was removed for Kenley Jansen, who needed one out for the victory. Jansen got a strikeout to end the game.
Hernandez was already having a busy day, helping record eight outs thanks to the 12 groundouts induced by Kershaw during the night, but this play right after Rendon’s homer in the fifth inning was much more than the routine ones he’d fielded early on.
After being swept by the Angels in four meetings last season, this was refreshing to see, and the Dodgers are on a 108/40-win pace. Tomorrow it’ll be Walker Buehler facing off against old friend Andrew Heaney for a 6:40 p.m. start.