If you did not realize the Dodger game had started before you got the notification on your phone that it was over, I don’t blame you. The Dodgers played afternoon baseball in the midwest which means it was morning baseball out west. Clayton Kershaw took the mound just after 9:35 AM PST looking to end the Dodgers’ four-game losing streak. With the help of the Dodger bats, he did just that as the Dodgers avoided the series sweep and headed out of town with a 6-0 victory.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Clayton Kershaw has been the ace of the Dodgers’ rotation for over a decade. Over that span he has made nine all-star appearances, including making his first start last year at Dodger Stadium. As long as he doesn’t land on the injured list, he should make it an even ten career all-star appearances this season. Kershaw was phenomenal once again, striking out nine hitters over seven scoreless innings. His ERA is back below 3.00 (2.95) and he continues to strike out batters at a career-high rate.
After not allowing a runner to pass second base through the first five innings, Kershaw found himself in a 6th inning jam. Reds rookie and UCLA product Matt McLain led off the inning with a single, Jonathan India followed with one of his own. Down 6-0, the Reds had runners on the corners with no outs.
It would take only nine pitches for Kershaw to work out of the jam, one of which was an automatic ball. Kershaw fell behind Elly De La Cruz before responding with three straight strikes for out number one. Spencer Steer popped up the first pitch he saw, and Kershaw struck out Tyler Stephenson on three pitches to escape the inning unscathed. Vintage 22.
The Dodgers’ well documented rotation issues make Kershaw’s performance that much more important. Losers of four straight, the Dodgers came into today’s game desperately needing a win. Their ace delivered. Send him to Seattle!
Bats came alive in Cincy
For the third straight game in Cincinnati, the Dodger offense put up at least six runs. The Dodger offense has carried this team all season, currently leading the National League in runs per game and trailing only the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays in all of baseball.
The top of the order is going to produce night in and night out, that’s no surprise. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are two of baseball’s best hitters, J.D. Martinez hits a home run what seems like daily, and when Max Muncy connects (big emphasis on “when”) the ball flies. I will be the first to say that I have been very critical of the bottom of the order. They’re beginning to shut me up.
David Peralta is on a tear. After a 4-5 day on Thursday, Peralta has raised his batting average to .261. On May 23, he was hitting .207. I’ll do the math for you. In 31 at-bats, Peralta has recorded 14 hits and has raised his average by .054. Miguel Vargas has begun to swing the bat. Chris Taylor, despite hitting .210, launched his 10th home run of the season on Thursday, a 4th inning solo-shot that extended the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0. Austin Barnes recorded an RBI double later in the inning but would be removed from the game after being hit by a pitch on the hand in the 9th.
Needless to say, the Dodgers are starting to get production from 1-9 and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Who is Tayler Scott?
It’s very early, as he has only made two appearances, but the Dodgers may have found something in Tayler Scott.
Scott was drafted in 2011 by the Cubs, did not make his Major League debut until 2019 with Seattle, and since then has made stops in Baltimore, Japan, San Diego, and now Los Angeles.
His first appearance in LA came against the Yankees in which he threw 1.2 innings hitless innings, striking out two. Scott relieved Kershaw on Thursday, throwing the 8th and 9th innings, and once again delivered two near-flawless innings. Scott allowed one hit, struck out two more, and did not walk a hitter. Consistency has been hard to find in the Dodger bullpen and if Scott can continue to get outs, limit free passes and get the Dodgers back in the dugout, there is no reason why he shouldn’t stick around at the big league level.
The Dodgers head to Philadelphia to start a weekend series with the defending NL champions on Friday night. Michael Grove will get the ball for the Dodgers, first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PST.