Dodgers 4 Mets 2: An Unfamilia Ending
Dodgers take the series finale in dramatic fashion against the New York Mets.
Clayton Kershaw was fantastic. He went 7 2/3, struck out 10, allowed four hits and two earned runs. That second earned run probably should not have happened, but more on that shortly. Kershaw now has 105 strike outs this season and it is only May 29. That is just insane. Another crazy Kershaw stat: his career ERA is 2.39 which is the lowest since 1920. ESPN also mentioned that 59% of all the innings Kershaw has pitched this season have been 1-2-3. He is off to the best start of his career. Kershaw now has 10 or more strike outs in seven of his past eight starts.
The Dodgers went 1-2-3 in the first inning. In the bottom of the first, Curtis Granderson led off with a double, but Kershaw got out of the inning right after. The Dodgers would score their first run in the top of the third inning. Chase Utley led off with a single, Corey Seager singled right after and Justin Turner would ground into a fielder’s choice. Utley would score and Seager was called out at second. Since the “Utley rule” it is clear that the Mets are a little sensitive about slides. Seager had a perfectly normal slide into second, he did go over the bag but he did not make contact with the fielder, but they asked for a replay. Call stood. He was out at second, but safe at first as it should have been.
In the top of the fifth the Dodgers would score one more. Seager singled to right, Turner singled right after and Adrian Gonzalez singled to right. The Dodgers now led by a score of 2-0. The Mets would score their first run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run on a breaking ball that hung up.
Things got interesting in the eighth inning. Kershaw finished the seventh inning with 105 pitches. He was pacing in the dugout trying to figure out if Dave Roberts would let him go back out to the mound for the eighth, but with his spot coming up in the order it was tough to call. With two outs in the inning, A.J. Ellis came to the plate and Carl Crawford entered the on deck circle in case he had to bat for Kershaw. In true best friend fashion, Ellis flied out and Kershaw got to come in for the eighth. Then things got reallll interesting. Kershaw allowed a single, but then got two quick outs. With two outs and a runner on Roberts made his way out for a double switch. This is about where I lost my mind. Kershaw at this point was at 114 pitches, but it is still Kershaw. Roberts called in Adam Liberatore. I repeat, Adam Liberatore. Let’s be clear. You have the best pitcher in baseball on the mound and yes his pitch count is climbing, but he only needs one more out. So, logically Roberts does not bring in Kenley Jansen, but Liberatore for a match up situation. I immediately had Don Mattingly flashbacks and well, this did not end well for Roberts either. Liberatore gave up a triple to Granderson and all of a sudden it’s a tie game. (This is where the whole “Kershaw’s second earned run should not count” comes in play because Liberatore should not have been in the game at that point). My favorite thing about the bullpen this year is that they have decent ERA’s, but it is usually because they give up inherited runs. Don’t worry though, because right after the triple, Liberatore got a strike out and the game was tied heading into the ninth inning.
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Jeurys Familia entered the game for the top of the ninth and all I have to say is what happened? Last year Familia was lights out against the Dodgers and in this series alone he allowed six runs to them. (Hey, I’m not complaining though). Enrique Hernandez, who entered the game in the double switch, led off the inning with a single to left. Seager and Turner walked. Then came the butter and egg man to save the day! Gonzalez came to the plate and singled up the middle with the bases loaded. Hernandez scored, Seager scored and all of a sudden the Dodgers led by a score of 4-2.
Roberts finally made the right move and put Jansen in the game for the bottom of the ninth. All Jansen did was get the Mets to go 1-2-3 and get another save on the season. Roberts clearly made a mistake not letting Kershaw finish the inning or just having Jansen go for the four out save. Sometimes it is important to understand Roberts is a rookie too when it comes to managing. I would rather have him learn these lessons now and not make the same mistakes in October. Based on Kershaw’s reaction to the whole thing and the outcome, I have a feeling Roberts will not be making this decision again anytime soon.
One of the craziest things about all of this is Liberatore got the win. Baseball is weird sometimes. Either way, Dodgers won the series, Kershaw was fantastic and the Dodgers managed to bounce back to get a W.
Dodgers will face the Chicago Cubs tomorrow and first pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM.