Dodgers 5 8 0
Giants 1 3 1
WP- Kershaw (14-9)
LP- Hensley (4-5)
HR- Castellanos (1), Rivera (9)
Game 162. Here we are. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season, and we are so glad that you have come along for the journey. Through the ups and downs, we are always here to root for our Boys in Blue. We strive to make Lasorda’s Lair the ultimate one-stop destination for everything Dodgers. Our goal is to provide Dodger coverage from a fan’s perspective- lifelong fans which live and breathe Dodger baseball. We will be here for the entire offseason providing daily Dodger news, analysis, biographies, contests, and much more. Feel free to go back and peruse the archives when you need a Dodger fix. We have tried our best to document the entirety of the 2012 season, and every game has been recapped by hand. That being said, we have one final game to recap. Sure, the Dodgers were eliminated from postseason contention last night at the hands of our arch rivals, but they still wanted to end on a winning note this Wednesday evening.
Thanks to Clayton Kershaw, our generation’s version of Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers capped off their 2012 season with a victory against their pumpkin colored enemies. The Dodgers finish with a 86-76 record and in second place eight games behind the Giants.
Here’s the final divisional standings:
National League West
Clayton Kershaw was his typical dominate self in this final game. Kershaw pitched eight beautiful innings, and he only allowed
one run on three hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts on 111 pitches. Kershaw whiffed Brandon Crawford looking on his curveball which is often referred to as “public enemy number one” by Vin Scully with his final pitch of 2012. The 24-year old southpaw is vying for his second consecutive Cy Young Award. Kersh finishes the season with a record of 14-9, a Major League leading 2.53 ERA and 1.023 WHIP, and 229 strikeouts which is second only to R.A. Dickey who has just one more (230).
Clayton Kershaw and Ryan Vogelsong both pitch perfectly through three innings. Neither team reaches base until the fourth inning when San Francisco gets on the board first. Marco Scutaro singles to right field with one out, and Pablo Sandoval doubles off the left field wall giving the Giants runners at second and third. Scutaro brings in a run on a Buster Posey groundball, and the Giants take a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers have their first base runner of the evening after Andre Ethier draws a one-out walk in the bottom half of the fourth. But alas, both Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez strike out swinging to end the frame.
By the fifth inning, Don Mattingly will bring in the defensive substitutes. It will mark the end of the season for Matt Kemp who is replaced by Elian Herrera, and Mark Ellis who is replaced by Nick Punto at second base. Matt Kemp finished up the season with a .303 batting average, 23 homeruns, and 69 RBI in 106 games. Kemp will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder this Friday. We wish him a speedy recovery. Kersh allows a walk to Brandon Belt but nothing else.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Dodgers would tie the game up at 1-1. Luis Cruz reaches safely on a fielding error by Marco Scutaro after he dropped a pop fly. Then Tim Federowicz, who finally had the chance to start tonight, singles to center field. Cruz takes third on the play. Then the hero of the night and of our hearts, Clayton Kershaw, takes matters into his own hands and singles to right field picking up the RBI as Cruz crosses home plate! FedEx is thrown out at third by Francisco Peguero to end the inning.
In the sixth, Kershaw allows a lead-off walk to Gregor Blanco, but Blanco is picked off by Kershaw with Scutaro at the plate! Tonight really showcased the multi-faceted talent of Clayton Kershaw. He can pitch, hit, and defend! Kersh is simply amazing. He whiffs Panda to end the inning.
The Dodgers score another run to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Vogelsong is done for the night, and he goes five innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts on 71 pitches. Clay Hensley comes in to relieve Vogelsong. Andre Ethier doubles with one out, and that gives Dre 36 doubles for the season. Elian Herrera grounds out. Adrian Gonzalez singles, and Andre Ethier brings in the run, 2-1 Dodgers. That extends Gonzo’s hitting streak to 14 games.
In the seventh, Andre Ethier is lifted and Alex Castellanos takes his place in right field. Andre Ethier finishes the season with a .284 batting average, 20 homeruns, and 89 RBI in 149 games. Hector Sanchez doubles to start things off for the Giants, but Peguero Xavier Nady, and Brandon Belt all are retired consecutively by Kersh.
George Kontos will pitch the bottom of the seventh for the Giants. He only allows a single to Luis Cruz.
Mattingly makes some more defensive changes in the eighth. Juan Rivera will take over for Gonzalez at first, and Dee Gordon will play shortstop for Hanley Ramirez. Kersh’s final inning starts off with a fly ball out from Joaquin Arias, then he strikes out former Dodger Ryan Theriot. Gregor Blanco draws a walk, but Kershaw calls it a season with a called strike out on Brandon Crawford. Bravo Clayton!
In the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers put on a little show for their fans. Jean Machi comes in from the San Francisco bullpen, and he gets Nick Punto to pop out for the first out. Then Alex Castellanos gives us a preview of what is to come next year by smashing a solo homerun to left field! That’s Alex’s first career Dodger homerun. Then Elian Herrera single, and Juan Rivera continues the fireworks by hitting a two-run shot to center! The Dodgers now lead 5-1.
Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ young islander reliever, will pitch the final inning of the season. Kenley has been fantastic this season. He allows a lead-off walk to Aubrey Huff, but then he retires Hector Sanchez on a fly ball and strikes out both Peguero and Nady to end the game and give the Dodgers the series win.
The Dodgers go out with a bang, and their strong finish leaves hope and excitement for 2013. Just imagine a season with a 100% healthy Matt Kemp, a maturing Cy Young ace in Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in their prime, A.J. Ellis continuing to solidify himself as the inspirational core of the team, a relief squad which includes the dominating force of Ronald Belisario, Kenley Jansen, and Brandon League, the game-changing speed of Dee Gordon, the impeccable glove of Mark Ellis, the clutch hitting and Gold Glove defense o f Andre Ethier, and the relatable and lovable Luis Cruz who has earned his spot in the lineup. The new ownership is dedicated to creating a Dodgers dynasty in Los Angeles. During the offseason they will fill in the holes via free agency in order to bolster the team to new heights. Don’t be surprised if we sign a few pitchers this winter. With the uncertainty of Chad Billingsley‘s health and Ted Lilly‘s future, the Dodgers will go out and insure our pitching is top notch.
This season may not have been our year, but this transitional phase was necessary. The Dodgers had to emerge from the dark cloud of the McCourt era, and the new ownership finally started to invest in the team instead of stealing from its future. The fans are returning to Dodger Stadium, and we now embark on the beautiful Dodger Stadium’s next 50 years under a positive regime. As Dodger fans we have a lot to celebrate. Our rich history, our Angelino culture and Brooklyn roots, the emerald green grass of Dodger Stadium which we have enjoyed for 50 years, the beloved voice of Vin Scully, and most importantly the connection we have together as fans. We may not win a World Series within the coming years, but instead we just might win a few.