Dodgers 2, Padres 0: Clayton Kershaw does it all, Mookie Betts saves bacon

After yesterday’s win in a game that was one of the best I’ve ever seen in April, the Dodgers and the Padres got back after it today with what seemed like a pitchers’ duel between Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish. Well, that certainly lived up to the billing, as both pitchers dominated. But it was Kershaw himself who provided the key offense, and the Dodgers took the game by a 2-0 score, which is also where the series now stands.

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Darvish started things by casually carving up the lineup, getting 14 straight outs to start the game. However, things unraveled with two down in the 5th as Zach McKinstry got hit by a breaking ball, Luke Raley then blooped a single into center, and Austin Barnes drew a walk, which loaded the bases for Kershaw. To that point, Kershaw had the hardest batted ball against Darvish and he continued to prove his primary nemesis, working an eight-pitch walk for the first run of the game, 1-0.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers were unable to break the game open and Darvish reverted to clean innings for the next two frames. He ended up going seven dominant, limiting them to just that 5th inning rally.

On the other side of things, Kershaw was more than up to the task, not allowing a runner to even reach second base until the 6th. There was some drama in the 4th when Kershaw appeared to strikeout Jurickson Profar to end the inning, but Profar was given a hit and awarded first after catcher’s inference was ruled on Barnes.

Understandably, in my opinion, Kershaw was upset about what seemed like an extremely cynical swing.

Not sure whether this is technically correct or not, but I just don’t think it’s in the spirit of the rule. Like if you can get catcher’s interference after the catcher receives a called strike by taking an unnatural swing and dragging the bat as far back as possible, then I don’t see what’s stopping players from doing this constantly if this is the precedent. Just terrible to me.

Regardless, back to the 6th, there was trouble for the first time. A walk, a strikeout, a stolen base, and a single put runners on the corner with just one out against Kersh. While normally one threat in the game is fine, that’s not so much the case in a one-run affair. Thankfully, Kershaw induced a double play from Wil Myers to Chris Taylor to get out of it.

Kershaw was again rather dominant, as his line reflects: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, 98 Pitches.

The taxed pens started with Pierce Johnson in the 8th, who gave up a double but didn’t allow the Dodgers to get insurance. Emilio Pagan was next in the 9th, and he was greeted by a savvy dinger from the man who abducted Justin Turner in April for a 2-0 lead and insurance.

With a taxed pen, Jimmy Nelson entered in the 7th, and he continued to look erratic with his command. However, it was at least effective, as a lead-off walk and a one-out wild pitch led to nothing thanks to three strikeouts.

Blake Treinen then rebounded and filled in the 8th for the tired arms. He looked no worse for wear, getting a roller down the line, a pop out, and a comebacker to end the frame in 1-2-3 fashion and keep the lead intact. Treinen then continued on in the 9th, getting a strikeout and then allowing a single through the shift before exiting.

Victor Gonzalez entered to try and lock down the win. Gonzalez immediately threw a wild pitch and issued a walk, bringing the winning run to the plate. He then rebounded with a ground out, but that advanced both runners and put the tying run into scoring position. Tommy Pham stepped up and seemed to single into right-center, but none other than Mookie Betts stepped up to rob him on an amazing game-ending catch.

Unreal.

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The Dodgers are now 13-2. It’s way too early for this to matter, but that’s a 140-win pace.

The series will conclude tomorrow afternoon starting at 10:10 AM HST/1:10 PM PST/4:10 PM EST. It’ll be another marquee matchup, this time with Trevor Bauer squaring off against Blake Snell.

About Chad Moriyama

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