Shades of 2012, A Series Shutout

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tfw you tootblan in a close game prompting everybody to question their will to watch bsaeball

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

W- Madison Bumgarner (5-2) L- Clayton Kershaw (2-3) 

Remember when the Dodgers got shutout in that series a couple years ago? Yeah, me too. So coming into today’s game, they scored 0 runs off of Tim Hudson two nights ago, they scored 0 runs against Tim Lincecum‘s sudden 87 MPH hitter, and they had to face noted Dodger killer Madison Bumgarner. There are better situations to be in. The game began with some promise, considering that future Philadelphia Phillie, Enrique Hernandez doubled to left field after a Pederson K, but the offense that Vin compared to the ongoing drought struck again, leaving Enrique at 3rd base, and it was pretty dormant for most.

I was going to rave about Clayton Kershaw looking alright in the early going, and of course he looked great for most of the game. After allowing  Norichika Aoki to single leading off the game, Clayton retired the next 8 batters, facing the minimum. The 9th batter gave him some problem and why wouldn’t it be Madison Bumgarner to hit a long dinger off of Kersh. But really Kershaw did his job, he mostly handled a lineup that included Casey McGehee, Joaquin Arias, and Matt Duffy, the problem was the offense.

There’s a problem with Alex Guerrero having his wRC+ drop from 276 to 162 in a span of 20 days. There is a problem with Joc Pederson having the entirety of his struggles now, there is a problem with Justin Turner being bound by the BABIP demons that he’s eluded for too long, there is a problem with AJ Ellis continuing to be a black hole offensively, there is a problem with Howie Kendrick and Adrian Gonzalez fighting a slump.

Literally a week ago this team was being compared to the 1927 Yankees, and while that talk has died down, this is a good reminder that a bunch of guys playing over their heads are going to regress at some point, when all of them do so at the same time, that’s a very very bad situation. When they all regress at the same time against that Giants, it makes everybody livid.

Kershaw’s “struggles” didn’t relent in the 4th inning, with Pagan doubling to start the inning off, and coming around to score on a Hunter Pence single to RF. If Pagan ran straight though and didn’t pause, he beats the throw easily, but he hesitated coming around 3rd and a better tag by AJ Ellis gets him. It was a poor tag and the Giants expanded their lead. Kershaw proceeded to get Japanese league all star, Casey McGehee to strike out, but a 2-0 lead against Bumgarner feels impossible when everybody is in a collective slump.

The Dodgers versus the Giants was encapsulated in a sequence that happened during the 5th inning. After 2 easy outs, Howie Kendrick lined one down the left field line that culminated in a single, Adrian Gonzalez beat the shift, and after a totally gritty sequence of pitches, Justin Turner struck out to end the inning.

And I don’t want to harp on a single player because backup catchers can only do so much, but in theory, backups catchers should be able to bring a kind of presence to the roster, a good familiarity with whoever they catch, and not be a total negative on base. Welp, thankfully AJ got a hit today, but the point where he just isn’t worth rostering over an Austin Barnes might be coming soon.

Is there anything worse than a pitcher making a TOOTBLAN in a close game where your ability to manufacture runs is zero?

Probably not, but instead of Joc Pederson coming to the plate with 2 outs and a man on first and third in the bottom of the 6th, Alex Guerrero was thrown out trying to go 1st to 3rd by NORI AOKI. YEP. THAT DUDE. Kershaw promptly struck out to end the inning.

Unfortunately nothing eventful happened for the team (or the offense) for the rest of the game, after the 7th inning, the headline was written, and all that was left to pay attention to was whether Clayton Kershaw could make it a Maddux. He couldn’t, because in the bottom of the 8th Kershaw somewhat lost it, giving up two singles to two very annoying hitters, was taken out of the game, and was charged with both runs after the bullpen couldn’t hold the 2-0 deficit, allowing both inhereted runners to score and Clayton went from potential Maddux to no quality start.

The game, it was bad, and quite frankly they put over 30 men on base and didn’t score a single one of them this series. It’s bad execution, it’s horrible sequencing, but most of all, it’s something that can’t be sustained with the hitters in this lineup. There are things that they can do better, but as long as they put men on base, good things will happen. Regardless, their division lead sits at a minuscule 1.5, they look to break the historic incompetency at home against the Padres at 7:10 with Zack Greinke on the mound.

Wheeeee.

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