Despite Gonzo’s Best Efforts, Kershaw And Dodgers Drop Rubber Game To Cardinals
By Scott Andes
Today’s rubber game between the Dodgers and Cardinals featured a marquee pitching matchup between two aces. One Clayton Kershaw had an ERA of 1.35 entering today’s game, and the other starter, Cardinal’s ace Shelby Miller had a 1.74 ERA. This was supposed to be an epic pitching duel. But that’s not how the game turned out.
Clayton Kershaw was uncharacteristically off today allowing four earned runs in seven frames and earned his third loss of 2013. Similarly, Shelby Miller lasted only 5.1 innings, and gave up three runs on seven hits. The early walks in the second inning cost Kershaw dearly, as two of his three were in that fateful frame. Kershaw’s ERA ballooned to 1.68. Pete Kozma was the thorn in the Dodger’s side all day. He was 3 for 5 with two doubles, and three runs driven in. His three-run double in the second was especially damaging.
Kersh cant be perfect every game-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
When all was said and done Kershaw can’t be perfect every game, and the offense was unable to pick him up. The Dodgers lost the game 5-3, and lost the series two games to one.
Before the game we learned that both teams were resting their center fielders. Don Mattingly surprisingly benched Kemp, and the Cardinals rested Carlos Beltran. For Kemp, perhaps this is a good thing that may hopefully lead to the end of his early season struggles. This is Kemp’s first day off this year.
Kershaw allowed three runs in the second, and one run in the seventh. The run in the seventh broke a 3-3 tie, and the Cardinals added one more in the ninth to give them a two run lead, and eventual 5-3 win.
The Dodgers grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Carl Crawford walked, and scored on an Adrian Gonzalez two-run home run over the right center field wall. Gonzo took the team lead with his sixth home run of the season. Dodgers lead 2-0.
The Cardinals would come back to score three in the top of the third on one swing of the bat from Pete Kozma. First Yadier Molina walked. David Freese’s broken-bat bloop double into left distracted Crawford and he was nowhere near the play. Where the hell was Crawford on that play? Daniel Descalso walks to load the bases. Then Kozma doubles past a diving Uribe down the third base line to clear the bases. All three runs score, and the Cardinals take a 3-2 lead on the three-run double from Kozma. Kershaw does escape the inning without further damage by whiffing Jon Jay, and getting Matt Holliday on a slicing fly to right, and Allen Craig on a line out to left.
Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller (40) during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth, when the Dodgers would tie it up. Kershaw himself would spark the rally with an infield single. Crawford’s single moved Kershaw to second. After M.Ellis fouled out, Gonzo delivers again, with an RBI single to score Kersh. Dodgers tie it at 3-3.
But that was all we would hear from the Dodger offense the rest of the game. The Dodgers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
The Cardinals broke the tie with a run plated in the top of the seventh. Kozma again, doubles, this time it’s off of a diving Dee Gordon’s glove. With Kershaw still on the mound, Ty Wigginton whiffs. Then Carpenter singles off of Gonzo’s glove, which scores Kozma. That gave the Cardinals the lead 4-3.
The Dodgers of course had their chances in this game, but poor timely hitting and Don Mattingly’s ineffective game strategies cost the Dodgers another game. Crawford led off the bottom of the seventh with a double into the gap. Don Buntingly struck again, forcing Mark Ellis to sacrifice a runner from scoring position, into scoring position. Bunting a runner from second to third is about as stupid as it gets. Logic flies out the window with this team. So M.Ellis does get the bunt down and Crawford is moved to third, but now there is one out, and a base open. So obviously the Cardinals intentionally walk Adrian Gonzalez to pitch to Ethier. The Cardinals bring in flame thrower Trevor Rosenthal, and he immediately hits Ethier with a pitch in the knee. With the bases loaded, Rosenthal blows away AJ on some high heat. With two outs, Mattingly allows Skip Schumaker to bat, and he predictably whiffs and the Dodgers don’t score.
Gonzo is the Dodger’s only bread and butter man this season.-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
With one out in the bottom of the eight, Dee Gordon singled, but was erased when Matt Kemp hit into a pinch-hit inning ending double play. Not cool.
The Cards added one more in the top of the ninth off of Matt Guerrier, and Paco Rodriguez. Kozma collected his second double of the game off of Gonzo’s glove again. Matt Adam’s RBI single plated Kozma to give the Cards a 5-3 lead. That is where the game would end. Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless top of the ninth. He retires Crawford and M.Ellis on ground outs, and Gonzo is retired on a line drive. That’s it. The Dodgers lose another series.
Kershaw took his third loss of the season today. Reliever Seth Maness picked up the win, and Mujica recorded his 14th save of the season. The Dodgers drop to 20-28 on the season, and remain in last place in the National League West.
One more thing I forgot to mention. A.J. Ellis was hit by a pitch on the left wrist, and was visibly in pain, but stayed in the game. According to Bill Shankin, his wrist is swollen and he is off to see the doctor. Losing AJ would be a devastating blow to an already lost season. We best pray that AJ is ok.
The Dodgers continue their season of suck. The red-hot Angels come into town tomorrow to begin the in-season interleague Freeway series. C.J. Wilson will battle Zack Greinke in another duel between aces. Will we get the pitching match-up that we had hoped for today? The Memorial Day match will start at 5:10 PM, and will be televised on Prime Ticket. Maybe we can win a game against the Angels for once? Is it too much to ask to have something enjoyable to look forward to this season? it’s the little things in life. We’ll have more later, so don’t forget to check in over here and join us tomorrow for more Dodger coverage.