Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Clayton Kershaw was great and the Dodgers won. That’s precisely what happened on Tuesday night in the Dodgers’ 4-1 win against the Nationals.
Kershaw’s line was really good: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 108 pitches, 77 strikes. He also brought the velocity tonight, averaging 93.4 MPH and a high of 95.8 MPH.
He allowed just one hit until Bryce Harper ripped a 94 MPH fastball into the right-center field pavilion. He also allowed a single to Anthony Rendon. That was about it. He issued two walks in the first three innings, but didn’t allow a free pass after that. This was Kershaw’s fifth consecutive start of eight or more innings and 11th in the last 14 (the other three were 7-inning outings). He lowered his ERA to a still-MLB-leading 1.70. He also broke the 200-strikeout threshold for the fifth consecutive season. It’s almost like Kershaw is an MVP candidate or something.
But Kershaw’s impact was first felt on the base paths. In the fifth inning, Kershaw singled up the middle. Dee Gordon followed with a single of his own. Most pitchers would have stopped at second base — especially with Harper in center field, but Kershaw motored to third base (admittedly, a good throw from Harper gets him). Gordon scooted to second. Two batters later, Adrian Gonzalez singled to shortstop. Ian Desmond, for some reason, made a horrible throw home to try to get Gordon (he was dead to rights). The errant throw gave the Dodgers their second run. Kershaw gave the offense a little jolt, and it ended up getting 10 hits off Doug Fister (who was a bit off tonight).
Juan Uribe launched a 2-run home run in the sixth inning, and that would be all the soon-to-be-3-time- Cy Young award winner would need. Joc Pederson got his first MLB hit — a soft single to center field in the second inning. He also struck out, walked and grounded out (against a left-handed pitcher). Kenley Jansen had Jayson Werth reach on an error before striking out the side. He good.
The Dodgers (78-61) stay two games ahead of the Giants because the Rockies blew a 6-0 lead. They send Carlos Frias (0-0, 5.65 ERA) out in his first MLB start to face Jordan Zimmerman (10-5, 2.93) in a rare midweek afternoon game at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. Pacific time. Hope the Dodgers bring their hittin’ sticks. At least the bullpen is rested.