Dodgers Inching Closer to Playoff Berth as Kershaw Counters Bumgarner


Clayton Kershaw (14-8, 1.92), Madison Bumgarner (11-9, 2.82 )


Puig RF

Punto SS

Young 1B

Uribe 3B

Van Slyke LF

Ethier CF

A.J. Ellis C

M. Ellis 2B

Kershaw P

The Dodgers have had two walk-off extra inning wins in the last three games. It’s sure feeling like it’s already October. The Dodgers picked up another game on their playoff countdown (*Magic Number is 5*) and a half game in the standings while Arizona idled on Thursday. Adrian Gonzalez, my pick as NL M.V.P., singled in the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Carl Crawford, who has been slumping at the plate recently, managed to pull a Jeremy Affeldt pitch out of the dirt  for a single. Gonzo handled the rest, and the Dodgers defeated the enemy. Dodger Stadium was boisterous, and the Los Angeles atmosphere is Blue and happy. Fans across the southland are sporting their Dodger gear, whether they bought it at Target or at Chavez Ravine, they are out in force. Bandwagoners and lifelong fans alike, the Dodgers are the talk of the town. You can only feel the Blue energy if you are living in the Los Angeles area.

So close and yet so far. The Dodgers are so close to clinching the NL West and moving

Kershaw & A.J.=the new Orel and Scioscia? Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

on to October’s slugfest. With Hanley Ramirez‘s “mild” hamstring strain last night, the Dodgers will need to get him some rest down the stretch. Throw Dee out there. Dee has that game changing speed, and sure he bumbles a ton of errors, the swift-footed shortstop can get some big league games under his belt while Hanley prepares to take the Dodgers to the potential pennant. Hanley, who would have been considered for M.V.P. if he had played healthy for more games this season, has been one of the reasons this team is just so talented. Like Ricky Nolasco, Hanley Ramirez feels free to play baseball in a more positive atmosphere than what was going on in Miami. Nolasco also has the home field advantage after growing up in Southern California. Hanley has also taken to the L.A. culture, and he often Instagrams pictures of himself having fun at places in the L.A. area like Universal Studios. The Dodgers will and should resign both Hanley and Nolasco this winter.

The Giants. Last place. What a fall from grace. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Even though the Giants season was done weeks ago, they are still annoying and are trying to spoil the Dodgers path to the postseason. The Giants lineup is chalk full of less than likeable fellows. Angel Pagan disgusts me. Marco Scutaro is another nauseating name. Brandon Belt bitches about team chemistry yet his very own is making bumbling errors and plays each night during their doomed 2013 run. Buster Posey, the dorky catcher, now draws boos from the Dodger fans. Then there’s Pablo Sandoval, who is entertainingly overweight. Tim Lincecum pitched a no-hitter this season. So there’s that. Matt Cain‘s season has really showed us his vulnerable side. Sergio Romo is on the same level as Pagan. Finally, Madison Bumgarner, the newly anointed ace, will once again try to stifle the Dodgers for game two.

Madison Bumgarner is hungry for a win.

Bumgarner has always pitched the Dodgers tough. The 24-year old lefty is 7-3 with a 2.54 ERA against the Dodgers in his career. In 7 games (6 starts) at Dodger Stadium, MadBum is 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA. The Dodgers faced Bumgarner back on April 2nd when he pitched a two-hit shutout in 8 innings. He struck out six and walked none as he dominated the Dodgers back in the April game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers saw Madison again on June 24th at Dodger Stadium, but this time the Dodgers were able to win over the Giants. Bumgarner allowed 3 runs on 5 hits over 7 innings. July 6th the Dodgers went up against Bumgarner again at AT&T Park. Bumgarner won that game after going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs on 3 hits with 9 strikeouts and no walks. Last time out against the D-backs, Bumgarner pitched 6 innings and allowed only 4 hits with 9 strikeouts in the no-decision. Even though Bumgarner has been the most consistent pitcher in the San Francisco rotation, he hasn’t won since August 2nd versus the Rays. Like Kershaw, his W-L record really doesn’t reflect his success this season.

Clayton Kershaw should be locked in one of those ticket blasters at Chuck E. Cheese and have blank checks flying like a whirlwind around the ace pitcher. Kershaw shall get millions and hundreds of millions this winter when Ned Colletti signs Kersh to that 8-year $200 million deal. Kershaw exemplifies the Dodger franchise like no other player on the team right now. His dominant pitching coupled with his hard work which he uses to fine tune his talents and his philanthropic personal endeavors which inspire really make him the perfect all-around baseball player. Kershaw is the ball player for kids to look up to.

Clayton is on his way to second Cy Young Award, and he actually should have earned

Clayton Kershaw pitching at Dodger Stadium is a beautiful thing. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

three Cy Youngs in a row in my opinion. Kersh leads the league in many pitching categories once again this year. ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched, WHIP, ERA+, shutouts, games started, etc. Although Kershaw’s last three starts have been looking less than Kersh-like, he is a warrior who pitches from within in order to give his team a great chance to win each time out. Unfortunately, his team hasn’t risen to the occasion multiple times this season with low run support. Kershaw has historically dominated the Giants. He is 11-4 with a 1.32 ERA in 21 games against San Francisco. Buster Posey hit a homerun against Kersh back in June at Dodger Stadium. Whether Kershaw has 15 wins or more, he will still win the Cy Young.

Last time out against Cincinnati, Kershaw pitched 7 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits with 7 strikeouts and 3 walks in the no-decision. Kershaw has faced the Giants four times this season. He won on Opening Day, he got a no-decision on May 3rd, he won June 26th at DS, and he won on July 7th in San Francisco. He is overall 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA against the Giants in 4 starts this season.

Hanley has been asking to play, but hopefully Mattingly sits him at least once in this series. Hamstrings are fickle things, and we need Hanley. Homerin’ Hanley’s Hamstring is Hurt? I hope not.

Tune into Prime Ticket at 7:10 p.m. for the game.

Go Blue!