The Dodgers fall to the Pirates for the third consecutive game and Clayton Kershaw proves he is human as he has his first shaky start of the season.
Clayton Kershaw did not look like Clayton Kershaw tonight. Tonight’s start was the worst start he has made this season, easily. He struggled with his command and only got three swing and misses the first round through the lineup. Usually Kershaw’s stuff is so good he gets ever batter to swing and miss, but that was not the case tonight. Kershaw went six innings, allowed nine hits, gave up four earned runs, walked two and struck out four. You know he struggled when Kershaw only struck out four batters. Kershaw gave up all four runs to the Pirates in the second inning. After getting a quick out, Kershaw gave up back to back singles, followed by a walk. Kershaw then got Chad Kuhl to strike out after a nine pitch at bat. With two outs, Adam Frazier singled in a run and then David Freese cleared the bases on a double to deep right center. Freese as an ex-Cardinal still proves that those St. Louis Cardinals have Kershaw’s number. After that Kershaw settled down a bit, but still allowed a few base runners, except he was able to get out of jams this time instead of allowing more runs.
With one runner on in the bottom of the sixth inning, Dave Roberts asked Kershaw to do something he NEVER does, to intentionally walk Sean Rodriquez. This was the first intentional walk for Kershaw this season and only the second one he has issued in three seasons. Over the 2014 to 2016 seasons, Kershaw has faced a total of 2,080 batters and only intentionally walked two of them. To be honest, I do not understand why Roberts made the call. I mean yes, Kershaw was off tonight, but at this point he had settled down a lot. You have the best pitcher in baseball on the mound, why not let him face Rodriquez? Regardless of the weird call, it all worked out because Kershaw got out of the inning scoreless after allowing a single. Also, Kershaw is chasing history with his strike out to walk ratio. The walk he allowed in the second inning was because he missed his spots, to add another tally to the “walks issued” column selfishly makes me sad since he has only allowed a handful all season.
Just to put some things into perspective:
The Dodgers would finally get on the board in the third inning when Corey Seager doubled and Justin Turner came up big with a home run to left. With one swing of the bat the score was now 4-2, Pirates. The score would not change again until the fifth inning when Seager walked and Turner doubled him in, which made the score 4-3, Pirates. Turner had all three RBI’s this evening. Between Seager and Turner, that was all the Dodger offense could pull together against the Pirates tonight.
You do have to give credit where credit is due however, Chad Kuhl did pretty good in his major league debut with the Pirates. He went five innings and allowed only four hits to the Dodgers while striking out five and walking four. He also put together a great at bat against Kershaw and got the W tonight. While it was a frustrating game for Dodger fans, you have to praise the rookie who went out there with courage against Kershaw.
To add to the drama of the evening, Andrew McCutchen was ejected in the seventh inning after a called strike three from the home plate umpire. he exchanged a few words and slammed his bat down.
While this whole thing went down, Casey Fien quietly made his way off the mound to end the inning.
The Dodgers again fall to the Pirates, but this time just by one run. This whole series has been pretty frustrating. Coming into it the Dodgers had won six consecutive games and now they are in a three game slump. To make matters worse, the Giants won again today so the Dodgers currently sit in second place and are out by eight games.
The series finale between both teams will be tomorrow and first pitch is scheduled for 9:35 AM tomorrow morning.