LOS ANGELES — In a highly anticipated matchup between two teams who are expected to do big things this season, Clayton Kershaw took the mound against Luis Severino. The Dodgers immediately made his night a tough one, jumping on him for 6 runs in the first inning. The runs came courtesy of homers from Mookie Betts and Max Muncy, as well as RBIs from James Outman and Miguel Rojas. Betts was even able to bat for a second time in the first inning and provide the Dodger’s sixth run with an RBI single. On the other side of things for the Dodgers, it was all business for Kershaw. He worked his way through 7 solid innings, allowing only 2 solo home runs to Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton, both of whom were making their anticipated returns from the injured list. Kershaw tallied 9 strikeouts and would pick up his 7th victory of the season. A second home run from Mookie Betts would help to put the Dodgers even further in front as they took game 1 of the series.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Kershaw notches a unique personal achievement
Clayton Kershaw, who will one day end up in the hall of fame, added another special accomplishment to his resume on Friday. With his win over the Yankees, he has now beaten every single team that he has faced in the regular season. This achievement came in a start in which he twirled 9 strikeouts, walked only 1 batter, and caused 13 whiffs. The only 2 teams he has not defeated yet are the Baltimore Orioles or the Boston Red Sox, neither of which he has ever gotten a chance to face off against in the regular season.
Kershaw brought his ERA to 3.25 in the start and threw 96 pitches. He continues to perform at an elite level alongside other older pitchers such as Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, proving that he’s going to remain a competitive pitcher every season for the duration of his career. His next start will come against the Cincinnati Reds next week as he looks to continue his excellent season.
Mookie Betts has historic game
Last night, Mookie Betts went 4-4 and drove in 3 of the Dodgers 8 runs. He became the only player in the history of the modern era to collect 4+ hits, have a leadoff home run, hit multiple home runs, have a multi-hit inning, and steal a base all in the same game. He continues to prove that he is one of the most exciting players in the game of baseball day in and day out.
Betts is now hitting .266 with an OBP of .371. Most impressively, his OPS stands at .922 and he boasts 15 home runs on the season. The Dodgers are going to need Mookie to continue playing at this level going forward as they wait for the health of their pitching staff to improve. The offense is going to need to keep putting up big numbers, and Betts is typically a big part of that. Dodger’s fans will hope to see more of the same in the next 2 games of the highly anticipated series.
Dodgers get production from the bottom of the lineup
If there’s one thing that the Dodgers would love to welcome going forward, it would be more continuous production from the 5-9 spots in the lineup. Last night, these spots in the lineup accounted for 6 of the 13 Dodger hits and 3 of their 8 runs. This portion of the lineup has not been great so far, with players such as Miguel Rojas and Jason Heyward struggling to maintain decent batting averages. It’s no secret that the Dodgers are relying on their offense to keep them afloat, and while the strategy seems to work for the most part, more games like this from the bottom half of the lineup will provide even more support.
The lineup put on a show for the largest crowd all year in Los Angeles, with 52, 534 fans in attendance for the game. Betts had this to say about the energy of the crowd and its effect on the team:
Things won’t get easier for Los Angeles in the second game as they will face off against Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. Cole currently holds a 6-0 record with a 2.93 ERA and will look to pitch a gem as New York hopes to even the series. For the Dodgers, it will be Michael Grove who toes the rubber. It’s been a much different story for Grove, who has an 0-1 record and an ERA of 8.44.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 PST, and the game will be available nationally on FOX.