The Dodgers won their third straight game since announcing Clayton Kershaw would be placed on the DL.
In 16 starts this season, Scott Kazmir has been a bit of a disappointment. His biggest struggle has come in the first inning, as he allowed 25 hits and 16 runs in the first inning this season. He’s only tossed a scoreless first inning in seven of his 16 starts. So it was a bit concerning when he hit the first batter of the game today.
Kazmir bounced back though, as he struck out two and got a ground out for a scoreless first. From then on, Kazmir was absolutely stellar. The Dodgers gave him an early lead to work with, and he made sure that held up.
The Dodgers have had a tendency to be quiet offensively early on and break out later in the game, so it was refreshing to see them score first for a change. Corey Seager hit a one-out single to extend his hitting streak to 15, and Justin Turner tempted fate by hitting a ball in Nolan Arenado‘s general direction. Arenado made a great play just to keep the ball in the infield, but couldn’t field it cleanly enough to get Turner or Seager. Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig hit back-to-back singles to score Seager and Turner, but Trayce Thompson flew out to the warning track and Scott Van Slyke flew out to keep the damage at two.
The 8-9-1 hitters for the Dodgers saw five pitches in the second inning, which is pretty much the exact opposite of the first. However, the heart of the order put up two runs again in the third. Turner doubled (with an assist from Ryan Raburn missing a diving catch) and Gonzalez drew a walk. Puig grounded out softly to second and moved both runners over, and Thompson had a phenomenal at-bat and poked a two-run double to center. The Dodgers added two runs in the seventh on a bases-loaded sac fly and a wild pitch.
Meanwhile, Kazmir was absolutely dealing today. He finished six innings in exactly 100 pitches. He allowed a couple hard-hit balls, but his velocity was up, he was throwing strikes and working fast and he just looked really comfortable out there. He allowed three hits and didn’t issue a walk while striking out 10. You could have a gripe with him only tossing six innings, but this was arguably his best outing as a Dodger and it came at a time when they needed it, with Clayton Kershaw out for an unknown amount of time.
The shutout was broken in the ninth, when Arenado hit a Chris Hatcher pitch a very long way. Arenado had struck out six times in seven plate appearances in the series before that one, but it’s better it happen in a six run game than in any sort of close game.
The Diamondbacks beat the Giants on an eighth inning three run homer, so the Dodgers now trail by five games in the West. Considering the injuries and underperforming, the Dodgers could be in a much worse situation right now. The Dodgers were 46-37 through 83 games last season and are now 46-37 through 83 games in 2016. So maybe the season isn’t over?
The Dodgers look to complete the sweep tomorrow afternoon with Brandon McCarthy making his first start since last April.