The Dodgers have announced that Clayton Kershaw’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 14. However it is possible that they could come to agreement before the hearing. We are all hoping that the Dodgers will sign Kershaw to a long term contract. As we wait for Spring Training to begin, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at Kershaw’s magnificent Cy Young Season-long domination. Specifically at his games against rival Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Watching Kershaw’s complete domination over all opponents was a wonderful honor for Dodger fans who were desperate and deprived of wins during the first half of 2011. One of the most enjoyable parts of Clayton Kershaw’s amazing 2011 season was his continuous smack down of Tim Lincecum and the Giants. Here is a quick recap of Kershaw’s four wins against “the Freak”. Remember Kershaw was 4-0 against Lincecum, (winning three of those games by 2-1 scores) and an overall 5-0 against the Giants…..
Game-1-Opening day, March 31, 2011-@ Dodger Stadium
Giants 1 5 3
Dodgers 2 6 1
Defense was the Giants undoing during the opening series of 2011 at Dodger Stadium. As Kershaw and Lincecum exchanged zeros, the Dodgers scored their first run thanks to poor San Francisco defense. Kershaw dominated the Giants all day, and the only time the Giants even attempted to threaten was when Belt walked, and Sandoval reached on a bloop single. Lincecum couldn’t bunt the runners over, and Kershaw got Torres to ground out.
In the bottom of the 6th, Bison leads off with a walk. Loney hits a routine ground ball to short, that is bobbled and thrown into right field by Miguel Tejada. Uribe was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases. With Big Rod at bat, Giants catcher Buster Posey tries to catch Kemp as he strayed too far off the third base bag. As Kemp had his back to the plate, while walking back to third, Posey (who was lackluster during the series) throws the ball away, it rolls down the line, and Kemp jogs home giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Big Rod’s screaming liner is caught by Sandoval which ends the inning.
Kershaw continued to mow down the Giants, pitching 7 shutout innings, allowing only 4 hits, walking just one, and whiffing 9 Giants. Lincecum would leave after 7 innings as well, but would be out-pitched by Kershaw. He was out-pitched by Kershaw all season long. The Dodgers would add another run in the bottom of the eighth. Bison walks, and steals second. Kemp then scores off a run scoring double by Loney, that bounces off the low wall in the right field corner. 2-0 Dodgers!
Big bad Jonathon Broxton was called in to pitch the top of the 9th, but he was more big than bad to be honest. There was a great play by Loney, on a jam shot squibber along the first base line. Pat “the bat” Burrell would homer into left field, with two outs, cutting the lead to one run. Despite the home run, Broxton and the Dodgers hung on to win by a score of 2-1.
Game-2 July 20, 2011 @ San Francisco
Dodgers 1 5 3
Giants 0 3 1
The Dodgers entered this three game set in San Francisco on a four game losing streak, a six game losing streak against the Giants, and trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of their hated rivals. Kershaw prevailed again over Tim Lincecum, in this rematch of dueling aces. Kershaw would pitch 8 shutout innings, only allowing three measly hits, one walk, and whiffed 12 Giants. Lincecum pitched well again, going 7 innings, and whiffing 7 himself, but again he was beaten by Kershaw, this time by a score of 1-0.
Lincecum managed to wiggle out of jams throughout the game, keeping the Dodgers off the scoreboard until the 7th inning. A single and a throwing error put a runner at third for the Dodgers in the first inning, but they do not score. A walk and a single put two runners on for the Dodgers in the third, and again they don’t score. Dodger fans are used to little offense by this point in the season. Lincecum continued to weasel his way out of jams. Rivera doubles in the fourth inning and the Dodgers do not score. In the top of the 6th, Andre Ethier doubles, and…..say it with me again, the Dodgers do not score.
It was still no score into the 7th inning, but Dioner “Pudjito” Navarro tried his best to ruin things for the Dodgers by making two, yes two throwing errors in the beginning of the game. Thanks to Kershaw’s dominance the Giants did not score.
Navarro would atone for his mistakes however, by hitting a solo home run off of Lincecum in the top of the 7th, that went splash into the McCovey cove. 1-0 Dodgers. Navarro becomes the first Dodger since Todd Hundley to hit a home run into the McCovey cove in right field at AT&T Park.
Kershaw strikes out the side in the bottom of the 8th inning, before coming out for Javy Guerra, who pitches a 123 bottom of the ninth inning to secure yet another win for Kershaw against Lincecum and the Giants.
Game 3- September 9, 2011 @ San Francisco
Dodgers 2 7 1
Giants 1 3 0
WP- Kershaw (18-5)
LP- Casilla (2-2)
S- Guerra (17)
The last two meetings between Kershaw and Lincecum wouldn’t take place until September. The third game took place on September 9 in San Francisco. This was an important series, and one of the best games of the season. The Dodgers at the end of a very long road trip that saw them win six in a row, as they entered only one game from reaching the .500 mark. The Giants on the other hand were fighting to stay in the playoff race, and another loss would surly be a huge blow to their already diminishing playoff hopes.
Kershaw would win his 18th game of the season, despite a costly error early on by shortstop Dee Gordon. Dee committed a throwing error on a ground ball, and a stolen base, a walk to Beltran put runners in scoring position. Pablo Sandoval knocked in the first run on a ground ball single, and the Dodgers were down early 1-0. Kershaw had to strike out rookie Pill, then Gordon made up for his error, by making a leaping catch on a Cody Ross shallow pop fly.
Lincecum pitched very well, and came very close to getting a win, but Kershaw was just unhittable, and Lincecum began to tire by the end of the game. The Dodgers had a chance to score in the top of the fourth, when they put two runners on base, but guess what? Yeah you guessed it, the Dodgers don’t score. Are we sensing a prevailing pattern here?
The Giants keep their slim 1-0 lead all the way until the top of the 8th. Lincecum is still in, and looks like he is tiring, and the Dodgers take advantage. Kemp has a swinging bunt, which is basically a little dribbler that stays just fair taking a blue roll up along the third base line. Kemp steals second base, moving into scoring position. As Juan Rivera’s RBI single bounces past the mound and rolling into center field untouched, our hearts are filled with pure unfiltered joy, as we watch Matt Kemp score the game-tying run. The thought of the Giants missing the playoffs, and playing golf in October dances around in our heads, like a backup dancer in a rap video. That was all she wrote for Lincecum, who again was outmatched by Kershaw.
The final lines for both pitchers read 8 innings for both men, Lincecum allowed 1 run on six hits, Kershaw 1 unearned run on only 3 hits. Lincecum had two walks to Kershaw’s one, and Kershaw struck out nine while Lincecum whiffed six.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the ninth. The Dodgers had to score in the 9th in order for Kershaw to get the win, and they do. With Santiago Casilla on the mound for the Giants, Big Rod leads off with a single to right. Velez immediately comes in to pinch run. A sacrifice moves Velez over to second. There’s a wild pitch that sends him to third. Velez would score on a ground ball chopper from Jamey Carroll. The throw to the plate was too late, as Velez scores, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. As Velez slides into home, the San Francisco crowd falls to a hush, like an old man, slipping into a tepid bath. The Giants playoff hopes flicker away, like a candle in the wind, it was truly a priceless moment.
Javy Guerra comes in and closes shop, as the Dodgers get back to .500, and Kershaw improves to 3-0 against Lincecum. Sorry Giants you wont get past us without a fight.
Game 4- September 21, 2011 @ Dodger Stadium
Giants 1 6 0
Dodgers 2 8 2
On my birthday night, the Dodgers would deliver the final blow, to the Giants dwindling playoff hopes, as Kershaw would win his 20th game of the season, fourth game head to head against Lincecum and improve to 5-0 against the Giants.
The script for this game would play out differently than the rest. With the Dodgers nursing a one run lead in the 8th inning, Kershaw would tire, and it was the Dodgers Bullpen that rode to the rescue.
The Dodgers would get two runs early, on a run scoring single from Loney, and a solo home run from Jerry Sands. In the bottom of the first, the Dodgers get a run on consecutive singles from Kemp, Rivera, and Loney. 1-0 Dodgers. Bottom of the second, Jerry hits a sandblast into the left field bleachers, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers are still up 2-0, as Kershaw blows through the Giants lineup. Kersh has 123 6th and 7th innings. Move to the top of the 8th, Dodgers still up by two, Kershaw begins to tire. With 1 out, Chris Stewart homers with the bases empty. 2-1 Dodgers. There’s a walk to Burrell, and then a wild pitch. Then finally another walk to Torres. Mattingly brings a hook for Kershaw and calls in Jansen to put out the fire.
Kenley Jansen the strikeout machine, faces Sandoval, who is forced to pinch hit, and can only bat left handed because of an injury. (Sandoval is a switch hitter). It’s hilarious. Jansen whiffs him like a rented mule. Is that how the expression goes? Let’s just say Jansen makes Panda look foolish. Then he whiffs Beltran to get out of the inning, with Kershaw’s lead still intact. Kershaw hugs Jansen in the dugout. Again Javy Guerra comes in to pitch the 9th. There is an error by loney, then a fly out. Aubrey Huff hits into a game ending 3-6-3 double play. The Dodgers win again 2-1. The win officially knocks the Giants out of the playoffs. Ha! Goodbye San Francisco.
Here are the final lines for both pitchers.
Kershaw-7.1 innings, 1 run 6 hits 2 walks, 6 whiffs.
Lincecum-7 innings, 2 runs, 2 walks, 5 whiffs.
Kershaw becomes the first Dodger pitcher since Ramon Martinez in 1990 to win 20 games, and only the second Dodger pitcher ever to go 5-0 against the Giants in a season (Vic Lombardi), as he solidifies his Cy Young season.
There was nothing more enjoyable then watching Clayton Kershaw ‘s constant smack-down of Tim Lincecum and the Giants. The Dodgers and Giants split their season series at nine wins per team. From these results, it’s obvious that Clayton Kershaw is the superior pitcher in every conceivable way. With a whole new season approaching well get to see another year of Kershaw beating Tim Lincecum and the Giants. Could there be anything more splendid than watching Kershaw and the Dodgers beat the Giants? I don’t think so.