For the second time in 2022, Clayton Kershaw had a perfect game through seven innings. This time he was allowed to go for it, but sadly had it broken up in the 8th inning. Needless to say, he looks as good as ever.
As for whole team thing, the Dodgers had their seven-game winning streak ended and have immediately climbed back onto the horse to run off three straight now with a 9-1 victory over the Angels tonight.
Before getting to the main story, let’s take a look at why Kershaw was able to do this without much pressure on him in terms of the result at least.
Things started about as bad as possible for Patrick Sandoval, who issued a four-pitch walk to Mookie Betts, gave up a single to Trea Turner, and then gave up another one to Freddie Freeman to plate Mookie for an early lead.
There was no relenting after that as Will Smith followed with a single to load the bases and Justin Turner grounded out softly enough to take the double play out of the equation and move everybody up to score Trea and make it 2-0. Amazingly, Hanser Alberto still found a way to kill the rally with a double play, grounding to the bag at third for a tag out on Freddie and then a throw across to end the inning.
After stranding a single and a walk with nobody out in the 2nd, the Dodgers then stranded a walk and a single with one out in the 3rd before going in order in the 4th. Sandoval looked like he was on his way to a decent outing all things considered, but the 5th was a mess for him and it all happened after two outs. Will started things with an infield single, then JT reached on an error by Jonathan Villar at third, and Hanser had the killer blow with a “triple” off the wall and Jo Adell in right to make things 4-0 and knock Sandoval out of the game.
While the Angels pen ended the 5th, things did not get much better for them. The 6th started with back-to-back walks for Austin Barnes and Gavin Lux, then following a pop out Trea also walked to load the bases. Freddie hit another ball hard to left-center for a sacrifice fly, but they weren’t done there as Will followed with a double to drive in a run and Justin then singled cleanly to put two more on the board for an 8-0 lead.
After getting just a single in the 7th, they added more in the 8th with two outs as Will tripled off the wall in center and was driven in by a JT single to make it 9-0.
Kershaw was hilariously a somewhat controversial All-Star selection because of the strength of the NL pitchers, him missing time with a back injury, and general saltiness at the Dodgers, but the fact remains that while he’s been on the mound he’s been elite in 2022 and he showed that tonight.
Kershaw showcased his sharpness early with a strikeout of reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani on a perfectly-located fastball and generally cruised along with a low pitch count.
As great as Kershaw was, he did get help throughout the night from the defense, which was stellar behind him. In particular were JT in the 4th, Hanser snagging a lineout in the 5th, and Trea’s sliding stop in the 7th.
While everybody was thinking it as every perfect inning passed, it was really in the 7th that most started to believe it could happen.
Unfortunately, those hopes were quickly dashed, as Luis Rengifo led-off the 8th by taking a 2-1 slider that caught too much plate and lining it to left for a clean double to end the perfecto.
Still, Kershaw continued his dominance and showed why he should start the All-Star Game since it would be cool as hell, completing eight shutout frames: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 89 Pitches.
That was the end of the road for him due the blowout and all, so Reyes Moronta entered for three outs in the 9th. While it didn’t matter for the game, it was unnerving that he continued to struggle, giving up a homer for the fourth consecutive outing to ruin the shutout for a 9-1 final.
Had Phil Nevin muttering.
The Dodgers improve to 59-30 on the year and are temporarily 10 games up on the Padres in the NL West.