Dodgers 5 Angels 1: Kershaw, Joc Lead the Way

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May 17, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) singles against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) singles against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dodgers took game two of the Freeway Series with another great pitching performance out of the ace.

Clayton Kershaw was on the hill for the Dodgers, and that’s usually a pretty good recipe for a win. He fell behind in the second, which was led off by an Albert Pujols single. Kershaw balked Pujols over to second, his second consecutive game with a balk. That balk ended up being big, as two more singles ended up scoring Pujols. Pujols isn’t exactly known for his wheels, so he likely goes station-to-station on those singles and ends up at third. Obviously can’t assume everything else happens exactly the same way, but either way the Angels struck first.

Kershaw enacted his revenge in the third by breaking up Jered Weaver‘s no-hit bid with a one-out single. Chase Utley followed that up with a single, but Kershaw was thrown out trying to go to third by Mike Trout (please never do that again). Trout took away a runner there, but gave the Dodgers their first run of the game when he dropped a Justin Turner fly ball to the warning track, allowing Utley to score. Just trying to help out his future teammates.

The Dodgers took the lead two pitches into the fourth inning. Howie Kendrick knocked a single on the first pitch, and Joc Pederson hit the second pitch of the inning into the right field bleachers. That homer gave Joc the team lead for homers with his seventh of the year, but Corey Seager hit his seventh of the season in the seventh inning to put the Dodgers up 4-1. Joc re-took the lead in the eighth with a booming shot to center to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead.

Trayce Thompson fell behind in the home run race, but he had a fine night in his second straight start against a righty. Thompson walked in his first plate appearance, had a clean single in his second, and ripped a pitch 104 MPH off the bat, but it was an out. He also added a second single in his fourth plate appearance. I’m fully onboard the Start Trayce train at this point (at least until he starts struggling again).

The story of the night, of course, was Kershaw. He has thrown at least seven innings in each and every start this season, including an eight inning outing tonight.

That was a tweet from last night, in which the Dodgers had two relievers throw 66 combined pitches (37 from Chris Hatcher, 29 from Pedro Baez). This has to be so easy for a manager, when you can burn pitchers and just know that you’re getting at least seven out of Kershaw. With 11 strikeouts, this was also Kershaw’s sixth straight game with double digit strikeouts, and his fourth of those six where he didn’t issue a walk. I’m seriously running out of words for Kershaw’s excellence. He now has 88 strikeouts this season and four walks. FOUR.

Overall, this was a highly promising game. The youngsters did their thing, Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick looked worlds better at the plate. Yasiel Puig looked bad at the plate again, but got himself an infield single. Every Dodger in the starting lineup got a hit, including Kershaw. Do this more often.

The Dodgers continue the Freeway Series tomorrow night in Anaheim with Mike Bolsinger, who will be officially activated in the near future, taking on Nick Tropeano. The Dodgers haven’t had an off day since May 5, and don’t have another until May 26, so getting their starters a breather is nice, and it’ll be good to see if Bolsinger can reclaim a rotation spot. The Dodgers are going to have some decisions to make in their outfield and in their rotation when guys start getting healthy. It’s a good problem to have.

Dodgers win, Lakers keep their pick. Good Tuesday.

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