Tigers 5, Dodgers 1: Clayton Kershaw sets Dodgers franchise K record, then pen implodes

Tonight was all about Clayton Kershaw, who set the Dodgers franchise record for strikeouts by a pitcher, overtaking Don Sutton in the record books with a K of Spencer Torkelson in the 4th inning.

Despite Kershaw’s outing, the game was close for a while thanks to the lineup struggling, and then it ended up being the Tigers who won the war of the pens to hand the Dodgers a 5-1 loss.

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Despite the celebratory atmosphere, as Kershaw himself would probably tell you, there was a game to play. He got off to a quick start with two quick, clean innings, and the 3rd started that way as well. But after two quick outs that included the record-tying strikeout, the Tigers rallied as they all looked to avoid being part of history. A double, a walk, and a Javier Baez single ended up plating a run against Kershaw as they all avoided the K.

Thankfully that didn’t last long, as after a single in the 4th, he got that record-breaking strikeout and took his time to soak it in. But quickly he got back to work, giving up another single but also escaping any damage with two more strikeouts.

After a clean 5th, he surprisingly issued another walk in the 6th, but ended his day with another impressive line: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 85 Pitches.

On the other end was rookie Beau Brieske. In back-to-back starts, the first two of his career, he’s allowed a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced on his second pitch of the game. This time it was Mookie Betts getting the scoring started with his third dinger.

The consistency is impressive to me, but he didn’t seem thrilled.

Brieske otherwise did great, only giving up a single and a walk in the 3rd and a double in the 4th, and made it through five without allowing another run. Jacob Barnes then took over for him and had a clean inning himself in the 6th.

That bought enough time for the Tigers to get to the Dodgers pen, which had a rare falter. Evan Phillips, who has been one of the team’s best this year, was given his first back-to-back appearance of the season and he didn’t look sharp. He hit the first batter he faced, then gave up an unlucky single, though he bounced back with back-to-back strikeouts. However, Baez then doubled on a late swing to drive in a run and knock Phillips out.

Brusdar Graterol entered and walked the bases loaded, then gave up a jam-shot single to Austin Meadows that drove in two more (charged to Phillips) and extended the lead to 4-1.

Next out of the pen for the Dodgers was Reyes Moronta, another used yesterday, and he gave up an infield single and then a Tucker Barnhart double and the Tigers pushed their lead to 5-1. If today’s game was a test of the pen’s readiness on back-to-back days with the weird Spring Training, then it failed.

Craig Kimbrel finally got into a game again in the 9th, giving up a single but closing the book on the Tigers without drama.

Back on the other side, the Tigers pen ran into trouble in the 7th, with Joe Jimenez issuing a walk and a single while only getting a single out. However, his replacement was Michael Fulmer, who got two outs with one pitch to Austin Barnes to shut down any comeback attempt. He followed that with a clean 8th as well. The 9th was given to Gregory Soto, who cruised through a 1-2-3 frame.

The Dodgers ruining something for Clayton Kershaw, a fitting tribute.

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Messages for Clayton.

The ball.

GOAT

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The Dodgers are now 13-7 and lose their NL West lead.

The series concludes tomorrow at 10:10 AM HT/1:10 PM PT/4:10 PM ET with Walker Buehler facing Eduardo Rodriguez.

About Chad Moriyama

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