Clayton Kershaw‘s masterful performance and three home runs propelled the Dodgers to a 5-1 win over the Angels on Tuesday night. It’s a pretty simple equation, really.
Other than a bumpy second inning, Kershaw did what he usually does: dominate. He finished with this line: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 11 K, 107 pitches, 77 strikes, 7/4 GO/AO, 21 whiffs (11 slider, 7 fastball, 3 curveball, 19.6 SwStr%). It was the sixth consecutive game in which he has struck out at least 10 hitters. The MLB record is 10, if you were wondering.
Here’s a Jeff Passan tweet to put it into some context:
Clayton Kershaw now has double-digit Ks in six straight starts. Only others ever to do that: Pedro, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Chris Sale.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 18, 2016
Pretty nice company. Kershaw owns an 88:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, or as Sarah put it:
22.00 K/BB lolol
— Sarah Wexler (@SarahWexler32) May 18, 2016
In the second inning, Kershaw allowed a single to Albert Pujols, because that’s what Pujols does to Kershaw. Then, Kershaw, uncharacteristically, balked him to second base. After a Geovany Soto ground out to Kershaw, Johnny Giavotella (sure, why not?) singled to center field, which moved Pujols to third. Then, Shane Robinson jumped on a first-pitch fastball right down the middle for an RBI single. You might remember Robinson from Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS … yeah.
The Dodgers returned the favor in the bottom half of the third. Kershaw singled to right with one out, and Chase Utley followed with a single to left-center field. Kershaw, for whatever reason, decided to try to go first-to-third on Mike Trout, and while Trout’s arm is still the weakest part of his game, it was plenty good enough to nail Kershaw at third base. Justin Turner followed with a deep drive to center that looked like was going to be tracked down by Trout, but he bobbled the ball and it led to the Dodgers tying the game at 1.
In the fourth, first baseman and cleanup hitter Howie Kendrick led off with a single, and Joc Pederson followed that with his seventh home run of the season to recapture the team lead from Corey Seager and Trayce Thompson.
That is, until Seager went deep off Jered Weaver in the seventh inning. But wait, there was more, as Pederson said “no thanks” and hit his second homer of the game in the eighth inning.
Speaking of Thompson, he had a good showing in his second consecutive start: 2-for-3 with a single, walk and a 104 MPH ground out to third base. He looks rather locked in. Not really sure what more Dave Roberts needs to see from the toolsy outfielder.
Kenley Jansen pitched a clean ninth inning that included two strikeouts. He needed just seven pitches to get the job done.
The Dodgers improve to 21-19 with the victory. The Angels fall to 17-22. Mike Bolsinger makes his 2016 debut (on an 80-pitch limit). He will be opposed by Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3,68 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.