Diamonbacks 2 10 0 Dodgers 0 5 0
WP-Kennedy-12-11 LP-Kershaw-12-8 SV-Putz-27 HR-Young 14
On a night when Vin Scully was honored with his very own bobble head, I’m sure we were all excited to see our boys tackle Ian Kennedy‘s high fastball and cruise to a comfortable win. What was shocking was to see Kennedy get 6 ground outs, 3 of which went for easy outs to finish a quick 6th. The muggy night didn’t seem to bother Ian Kennedy, while Clayton Kershaw was not his normal self despite only giving up 2 runs through 6 innings pitched.
The box score wont tell you that the Dodgers struggled on the high fastball tonight. But on 6 different occasions the boys offered at the high fastball and popped them up! Against Kennedy, a fly ball pitcher who leads the league in home runs allowed, we should have hoped a few of those balls could have landed over the fence. It seemed even at times they were ready for the offering and simply couldn’t do anything with it. Between the pop-ups and poached egg Kershaw left at home plate and the 15 swings the Dodgers made at balls outside the zone, this game looked far too familiar for us Dodger fans.
The Dodgers have been beset with the second most trips to the DL at 24 trailing the Boston Red Sox by a healthy margine (34). With Matt Kemp is sitting out tonight, the Dodgers needed the offense to scrape together just a few runs knowing that Kershaw is typically dominant at home. Even after giving up 9 hits and 3 walks after 6 innings the Dodgers were still only down by two runs.
In the first inning, Kershaw worked through a small jam only to see the top of the order melt before Ian Kennedy. The second inning for Kershaw was much more vintage as he struck out the side in order, but the Dodger bats again failed to deliver.
The third inning may have taken a toll on Kershaw as he had to throw 27 pitches to escape unscathed. But again the bats had nothing to deliver as Juan Rivera grounded out, AJ Ellis walked, Kershaw (as Mr Scully says) delivered a poached egg only to see his sacrifice almost turn into a double play. With Kershaw on first, Nick Punto struck out again on a high fastball.
In the fourth Miguel Montero doubled on what I thought was a catchable ball to right. Chris Young would then turn around a Kershaw slider and wrap it around the left field fair pole. After a Gerardo Parra single, Kershaw had easily picked him off at first. But Tim Timmons had other plans. Apparently Kershaw balked, though there was no video evidence to prove it. Don Mattingly then showed the umps his hands in his typical manner while arguing. Kershaw then allowed an infield single before Nick Punto showed us the Punto flip to end the inning on a double play. The fourth gave us our first Dodger hit from Shane Victorino. Then Adrian Gonzales popped out, Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fieders choice and Victorino was safe at second on a bonehead play by third baseman John McDonald, before Andre Ethier popped out to end the inning.
Kershaw finished the fifth with two strike outs and a ground out. The Dodger bats managed a single from Cruz, a Rivera K, an AJ Ellis fly out and a Kershaw strike out.
The 6th inning may have been one to remember. Chris Young singled to lead off the inning and it looked like Kershaw may have been done. But they AJ threw Young out trying to steal. Parra then singled and AJ easily mowed him down at second for the second out. When McDonald walked I secretly hoped they would send him so we could see some history. But Kennedy struck out and Kershaw’s night was done. And then this is where it got kinda goofy. Kennedy managed 3 ground outs on 11 pitches to Punto, Victorino, and Gonzo.
Wright came in for the 7th to get Hill Elmore and Upton in order. After Hanley struck out and Ethier walked, in came Brad Ziegler to get James Loney…. I mean, Juan Rivera to ground out into an inning ending double play.
Wright finished off the 8th on 3 ground ball outs. Adam Kennedy then came in to hit for Wright and singled. Making him 8 for his last 25 when pinch hitting. Then, remarkably, Punto popped up and Victorino k’ed.
And while it still looked like anyone’s game, Brandon League would come in to finish the top half of the ninth. What is encouraging to see was his 95 MPH sinker/change. His ball was dancing all over the place and with Jansen likely headed to the DL, were gonna need all we can get out of our pen.
It was an exciting bottom half of the ninth and secretly in my head I was looking for headlines on a walk off by Ethier. Gonzo and Hanley would single and Ethier would hit a fielders choice after swinging at pitches that no one should be swinging at. Cruz would fly out to left and in typical fashion, Rivera would Pop out to end the game.
Vin would kindly remind us all of the Dodgers biggest opposition right now, time. With only 30 games left in the season, we now a sit 4.5 behind San Francisco and 1.5 behind St. Louis for a wild card berth. The season isn’t over by a long shot, but the boys in blue need to start hitting NOW!
Tonight’s home plate umpire was Marty Foster. I counted 12 different called balls that should have been strikes, or called strikes that should have been balls. Kershaw was definitely pinched in the 6th. After issuing a walk to McDonald on what should have been a called strike 3 on the outside corner, Kershaw then struck out Ian Kennedy on a pitch that was further out than the ball 4 offering delivered to McDonald. Kershaw walked off the mound before the call was made and then Foster called a late strike 3 to Kennedy.