As fun as these last four games have been, maybe the Dodgers should try doing the whole clinching thing soon before all of Los Angeles spontaneously combusts.
Last night’s game was hard fought and it came down to the Dodgers leaving a few runners on base. The bullpen, for the most part, did a fine job but Yimi Garcia gave up a pair of hits on an 0-2 count, and the Giants sac flied a walk off run in the 12th. Zack Greinke pitched fine but got burned by Random Giants Player Version #37 Trevor Brown. The Dodgers fought back and tied it in the ninth, but couldn’t come up with the one key hit before the Giants came up with the one key sac fly.
Still, many teams would feel great about being five games up with six games remaining, which is the position the Dodgers are currently in. They would also feel great about Clayton Kershaw getting the ball in a possible clinching game, which is also what the Dodgers have going for them tonight.
Sep 14, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) is brushed back in the fifth inning of their MLB baseball game with the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight would be a great time for Kershaw to remind folks that he also deserves to be in the Cy Young conversation. While it’s nearly impossible for him to finish with an ERA under two, he’s currently 19 strikeouts away from becoming the first pitcher to reach the 300 strikeout mark since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson each struck out over 300 batters in 2002.
You might remember the last time Kershaw started against the Giants. He threw a 132-pitch, 15 strikeout complete game on September 2nd in the final chapter of a three-game sweep for the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Just do that again and everything will be fine.
Kershaw has thrown a nice round 100 career innings at AT&T Park. He has only 93 strikeouts (slacker) and has walked 21 batters and allowed 14 runs. The only stadiums that Kershaw has a lower career ERA at in more than one career start are Citi Field (1.01 ERA) and O.Co (1.20 ERA).
It won’t be easy tonight, as the Giants counter with their own ace, Madison Bumgarner. The thought of clinching the West, in San Francisco, against probably the most hated player by most Dodger fans gives me a funny feeling in my tummy. Bumgarner has seen his ERA shrink .40 points over his last 10 starts, during which he has three complete games. The Dodgers beat him back on September 1st thanks to an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez and a homer by Joc Pederson in support of a great Greinke outing. Bumgarner on the hill doesn’t fill me with confidence, but I can’t fathom the possibility of him hurting the Dodgers with the bat in a game that will be as tense as tonights will be.
The all-righty outfield looks so much nicer now that Enrique Hernandez is back. He came in as a defensive replacement in ninth last night and hit two singles and made a nice running catch on a ball in center. I’m still very much pro-Pederson, but against a tough lefty the dropoff between Joc and Kiké is a lot easier to stomach than Chris Heisey.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.