Things seem to be trending upwards for Clayton Kershaw. The ace lefty made his third start since returning from the disabled list. It looked as if his velocity is ticking up too. Overall he pitched well, and won just his second start of the season as the Dodgers beat the crap out of the Bucs again 8-2 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw pitched six innings allowing two earned runs on four hits, but only struck out two. He didn’t walk anyone and made 74 pitches.
There’s still reason for concern. He’s not missing as many bats as he usually does. Normally his velocity is around 94-95, but this season his velocity has plummeted. His pitches haven’t had the same bite as they usually do. It’s hard to imagine that Kershaw has won only two games this season and the Dodgers are only 1.5 games back of first place in the NL West. Hopefully Kershaw can keep building back his arm strength and his velocity returns to normal. Otherwise I don’t know if he can make it through another postseason run, honestly.
The Dodger bats continued to destroy Pirate’s pitching. On Monday the Dodgers scored seventeen runs in a 17-1 rout. Tonight the Dodgers hit six more home runs and scored eight runs on eleven hits. Four of the six home runs were solo shots, and two were two-run home runs. The Dodgers got two triples (Taylor, Grandal) and nine of their eleven hits were for extra-bases.
Pirates 3 5 0
Dodgers 8 10 0
The Dodgers did most of their damage in the early innings against mound opponent, mysterious Ivan Nova. The right hander has had an up and down season but came into tonight after having a terrific June. Nova posted a 1.75 ERA in the month of June.
The Dodgers got to him right away when Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit back-to-back jacks in the bottom of the first. Joc’s was on the first pitch of the game. That was Muncy’s first of two home runs on the night Muncy now has 20 home runs which not only leads the Dodgers but is third in the National League. Hello all-star game!
The Pirates would battle back with a run in the top of the second. Young catcher Elias Diaz would double and score on an RBI single from David Freese. That made it 2-1 Dodgers. Of course the Dodgers had an answer. Yes, Pittsburgh pitching is that bad folks.
The Dodgers did waste a Chris Taylor triple in the bottom of the second when they foolishly tried to squeeze him home. But in the bottom of the third, Muncy homered again and the Dodgers went ahead by a 3-1 score.
In the top of the fourth, Diaz doubled again, and once again Freese singled him in to cut the Dodger’s lead to 3-2. That’s the second RBI single on the night for Freese, who went 3 for 3 and drove in all three of the Pittsburgh runs. Diaz has been impressive as well. The young Bucco backstop scored two of the three Pirate runs.
Like I said before, the Pirates are pretty bad. They’re actually much worse than their record indicates. Grandal’s triple bounced off the top of the wall in the bottom of the fourth. Then Taylor homered to extend the lead to 5-2. The Dodgers would score three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Yasmani Grandal (who tripled and homered) would lead-off with a wall scraper. Taylor doubled, and Enrique Hernandez blasted his fifteenth home run of the season to give the Dodgers an 8-2 advantage.
Freese homered in the top of the seventh, but the Pirates got no closer. The Dodgers used three relievers to finish the rest of the game. Yimi Garcia, JT Chargois, and Erik Goeddel each pitched an inning in relief. The trio limited the Bucs to one run on one hit with seven strikeouts.
The Dodgers improve to 46-39 but gain no ground on Arizona after the Snakes knocked off the Cardinals. The Dodgers did however gain a game on the Giants, who got crushed by Colorado. The Dodgers should easily sweep the Pirates as they wrap up the series and home stand on Independence Day. The Dodgers already started the fireworks. Joe Musgrove was scheduled to start for the Pirates, but he has been reportedly scratched because of a finger injury. Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers. Remember it’s an earlier start time of 5:10 PM PST.