Kershaw Grits It Out. Bullpen Hangs On For Game One Win.

Today’s Dodgers-Nationals NLDS Game 1 was what all the sweat, grit, blood, and  peanut shells during the long, hot summer were all about.

It was playoffs baseball: Clayton Kershaw, a steady bullpen, and the Dodgers lineup with a Rookie of the Year. Let’s get to the game…

1st inning
On the 6th pitch of the game, and the first pitch he saw, Corey Seager blasted a home run to center field that just kept gaining altitude, picked up some wind, and sailed over the wall. 1-0


The Dodgers caught a scare when Justin Turner was HBP on his lower right hand. He showed a lot of pain at the plate, but took his base and seemed all right.
Nats
Kershaw strikes out the side.

2nd inning. 1-0
Kershaw in a bit of trouble. Two outs and bases-loaded, but  Max Scherzer at the plate. In an uncomfortably crowded short left field, Corey Seager caught Scherzer’s high pop up to end the inning.

3rd inning  1-0
Andrew Toles led off the inning with a base hit.
Chase Utley came through with a base hit between first and second base to bring Tolesy home. 2-0


Justin Turner came up and cashed in some payback for his HBP with a two run blast over a leaping Jayson Werth. 4-0


Nats
With two on and two out, Kershaw gave up a base hit to left field that scored both runners. 4-2
Kershaw stayed in trouble and soon returned to 2 on and two out. He finally got a strike out on a high fastball that I would have appreciated seeing him throw to the previous three batters.
66 pitches for Kershaw at the end of three.

4th inning  4-2
Kershaw continued to throw the ball where Grandal’s mitt was not. He gave up a long double to left field. A FC and sac fly cashed in the Nats’ run. 4-3

5th inning  4-3
Dodgers go down 1,2,3. (Again)
Nats
Same Kershaw story that we’ve seen all day. Struggling pitcher trying to hold a lead with two on and two out.  Job done!

6th inning 4-3
Justin Turner looped a one-out single for his second hit of the game. He took second on a passed ball. Josh Reddick came up with two out, and of course left Turner standing on third.
Nats
Joe Blanton in. After two out and one on, he was done.
Grant Dayton in. He induced a long fly ball to right-CF that Joc Peterson was calling for. The Wild Horse, Yasiel Puig helicoptered it, stealing the catch and almost running over Pederson in the same motion.

7th inning  4-3
Finally it was the Dodgers’ turn to have two on and two out. Chase Utley putted out on a weak ground ball.
Nats
Pedro Baez in. Job done.

8th inning  4-3

There was this…


Kenley Jansen in for the 5-out save.
Jansen gave up a two out double. With no one coming behind him, Jansen had to get the last out. He got it with a borderline low, strike three call.

9th inning  4-3
Yasmani Grandal and Howie Kendrick each singled, to give the Dodgers two on and two out once again.
The Nationals walked Yasiel Puig. Up came Kenley Jansen! He struck out, but he wasn’t cheated, as he swung mightily at every pitch.

Kenley Jansen vs Nationals
Turner: 3-pitch srike out!
Harper: 4u
Werth: K swinging!

Dodgers Win! 4-3

Well done, Kersh: Kershaw burned through far too many pitches today, as he evidently did not have any of his pitches consistently working. There were too many meetings between Kershaw and Grandal, and too many pitches that missed too much of the plate. He was not attacking hitters, and was constantly delivering pitches 12 inches away from Grandal’s waiting mitt.

The Nationals smelled blood, and tried their best to punish Kershaw. He gritted it out, and being Kershaw, he was able to hang on and hand the bullpen a lead.

ROY Corey Seager became the youngest player to hit a postseason home run.

Roberts was half right: It was a great move to start Andrew Toles, but a ridiculous one to bat him 8th, while batting anemic Josh Reddick 6th, behind Adrian Gonzalez. The Traded Flop repeatedly came up empty when we needed hits in the middle of the line up. That said, the Dodgers held on for a big win tonight.

Not a bad opening act.

Clayton Kershaw (W 1-0) went 5 innings with 8 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk and 7 Ks.   ERA 5.40

Home runs: Seager, Turner

Team with RISP: 1 for 5  Needs improvement. 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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59 thoughts on “Kershaw Grits It Out. Bullpen Hangs On For Game One Win.

  1. Ok… None of you know me but I feel like I know all of you. I’ve been reading this board since spring training every day. I can honestly say I have read every single post and every comment since the beginning. I even read the old DodgerTalk when it was around. It’s a daily Dodger experience for me and my favorite site for Dodger opinions. And boy do we have some on here. It’s great and I like reading them all. The board does have a nicer tone to it now after getting really weird there for awhile…. I have never posted before….. Anywhere. Not sure why I am today… I am not a real confrontational type and maybe that’s why I have never posted before but I want to jump into the mix with everyone… So here I go with my opening rant….

    The Dodgers went for it all the last few years… Highest payroll on baseball. The GOAT and Grenk… We were supposed to win it all in 15… So this year rolls around and it’s time to pay the piper…Cut the payroll and take stock for another run in 18… So I feel like the FO had this year slated as a bridge year at best….. Not like a throw in the towel year but more like a just be good enough and find out how good our prospects are kind of year….Really, look at what our roster has looked like throughout the year… WC at best for ¾ of the season… I didn’t like it very much. I was pissed at the FO passing up big names and felt like they were turning us into the LA Rays / A’s with 8 GM’s and a team ran by charts not humans…. A saber driven, cheap but decent team…. But this team is different… They are scrappers… In fact this entire year has been different . Different because the gnats had the worst second half collapse in team history and we won just enough… Different because SP used to be a Dodger strength and now we are winning with a 5 inning outing and strong bullpen…. Did anyone think in the spring our starting LF in the NLDS would be Toles? That kind of different…. Maybe just different enough for a WS win as improbable as 88… We can argue about values all we want but the moves made this year were the type of moves you make when you are trying to keep the team relevant while keeping young talent in an OFF year…. But these players had their own plans and decided to put the organization and the fans on their shoulders all the way to the post season… And I like that…. So maybe our over performing Dodgers and the underperforming gnats let the FO off the hook this year. It certainly bought them time to see their master plan through and I am glad for that…. The end result is pretty good, they managed to keep one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and win the NL West again…. Win or lose this year our future is BRIGHT… Imagine how good we are going to be over the next few years. I for one am super excited and watching the GOAT get a win tonight without his best stuff is just awesome!!!! It’s a good time to be a Dodger fan folks!
    Cheers!

    1. Hey Jake, you seem A-Okay to me! And that’s not a requirement by any means. This really is a great community of which I consider all here as my friends. You don’t even have to be polite, though it seems that’s just how it is with you. At least to me you come across that way. Welcome!

      It’s starting the way I said with the games starting in D.C. It’ll be especially so if Dodgers get the W tomorrow then there likely won’t a game 5. So Cubs got only one run vs Giants and Giants got none. That’s why I’m hoping Giants eliminate Cubs because home field advantage for the Pennant Giants @ Dodgers I’d be more comfortable with rather than Dodgers @ Cubs.

      Friends, here’s to Dodgers winning, CHEERS!!!

    2. I dislike the FO immensely, because I feel they stocked and kept getting a lot of mediocre players. Pretty much no one they added during the season helped much. They got nothing from Reddick for a month, and he still has not really been the offensive player they thought he would be. Hill has pitched a couple of impressive games and a couple of stinkers. ..Naming all the dregs that came and went would be worthless. But like you said, they have stuck to their plan. The players have as you said, put it on their own shoulders and did the job. But I put winning the west more on the Gnat collapse than a Dodger resurgence. Yes they should be an exciting young team by 2018, and they will have a lot of good young talent. Providing of course that most of those kids live up to their potential. They still look like the LA Rays to me, but they have played hard nosed baseball and you have to admire that. I would still prefer pitchers that could get through 7 innings and not depend on the bull pen so much.

      1. Michael… You are right…That’s really my point. The picks this year are not indicative of a big spending contender….. But it worked. That’s what’s crazy. I hated most of their picks as well. But because Roberts and the players won the NLW they pushed their judgement day back by a few years. Maybe it’s genius…. maybe it’s luck…. We have a couple more years of this FO before we can really measure their entire scope of work now. Believe me back around the all star break if I posted on here it would have been how much I disliked the FO but now I have to wait and see. Results pays the bills.

        1. Most expected the team to be good, and competing in the West proved to be easy. Is this team good enough to win it all? It’s the playoffs. Anything can happen.

        2. “Believe me back around the all star break if I posted on here it would have been how much I disliked the FO but now I have to wait and see.”

          And this statement is an indicator of an open minded sensibility and a higher order intellect. Good for you! And thanks for posting and joining in the commentary.

          I think you also, in your previous comment, you did describe some results by this front office that can be evaluated: they have been able to field a playoff team this year AND keep their farm system intact. These are usually mutually exclusive. For that, and the ability of the FO and Roberts to somehow keep this team patched together with baling wire and duct tape in spite of the injuries, is an accomplishment.

          A little luck helps, too. Let’s hope it continues.

  2. Well the cardiac kids did it again. If I was not already bald, this bunch would have me pulling my hair out, but at least they held on when CK was not at his best. Nice hitting by Turner, and Seager. Bullpen was nails……how long can they keep this up?????

    1. A good way to start the playoffs. Dodger bats propping up a not so great Kershaw outing. The HR ball has been the key to many a Dodger win.

      Next game, they will throw another RH pitcher at us. From my view, the Nats are not taking advantage of the Dodger weakness facing lefties.

      In spite of Kershaw’s performance, he still ko’ed 7. Good win for him and Dodgers did the smart thing by whittling down their bullpen to the most effective arms. Nice job.

      1. Yes! That was fun too.

        Also Seaver avoiding the GIDP before the Turner home run. Dare I say that had a bit of Utley in it.

      2. Artieboy
        And that tag from Culberson, could have been the play of the game!

        And he did that, after coming off the bench cold.

        Baker said Murphy tried to steal that base, on his own.

        I guess Murphy still thinks he has the magic on the bases, like when he took third last year.

  3. Kershaw not sharp, only goes 5 – and we win.

    It’s how we’ve been doing it all year. Can we do this for 3 series’? Yeah, sure. Why not? Like Jake said, this is different. It doesn’t look like it should work this well, but it has.

  4. Jake,

    You get it. This is great stuff:

    We can argue about values all we want but the moves made this year were the type of moves you make when you are trying to keep the team relevant while keeping young talent in an OFF year…. But these players had their own plans and decided to put the organization and the fans on their shoulders all the way to the post season… And I like that…. So maybe our over performing Dodgers and the underperforming gnats let the FO off the hook this year. It certainly bought them time to see their master plan through and I am glad for that…. The end result is pretty good, they managed to keep one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and win the NL West again…. Win or lose this year our future is BRIGHT… Imagine how good we are going to be over the next few years.

    That’s what I have been preaching forever! Thank you!

  5. Thanks!! It was about time for me to join in. Like I said, I feel like I’ve known all of you for a long time.

    Kershaw pitched better in Game 1 NLDS last year and LOST. 3 R on 5 H and we didn’t give him any runs. This year we put up 1 R more then they did and fought to hold on for the win. Jansen looked as sharp as he has EVER tonight.

    This team has spread the emotions around pretty evenly all year from high to low. This group is not scared of anything…. Except the occasional Lefty…

    Keep fighting Blue!

    1. And that is one point I think the FO totally swung and missed on. They needed a solid RH bat in the middle of the lineup so they would not be so vulnerable to LH pitching….they never got one. It took Turner almost 6 weeks to finally become Justin Turner again, and he is lousy vs LH. Puig never really got going.

        1. I get that….the cost is always a factor. But I do think they missed on this. They should have been able to find someone to fit that bill. And if it got them 4 or 5 more wins and home field, that would have been nice. After all, why in the blue blazes did they get another LH hitting outfielder at the deadline when they are loaded with them>?? I also think they might not have had that much of a problem with lefty’s if SVS and Thompson had not been injured…….they both created huge holes with their absence…

          1. I wonder about this and if it wasn’t also by design.

            There just aren’t that many great LHPs. Maybe it’s worth the liability to be lefty stacked, just because of #s.

            Of course, Thompson and SVS being rendered useless is a big hit (PUN ALERT!)

    2. Jake

      I think Roberts and his coaches, started having the players buy into the team concept, even before spring training.

      Because Roberts met with most of the main players on the team, even before spring training started.

      And your right, the players, and Roberts took what they had, even after Kershaw was hurt, and bonded togther, and played hard as a team.

      And maybe before, the players were depending to much on Kershaw, in the play offs.

      I don’t think they were doing this consciously, but maybe that is why they looked a little tight before, when they played in the post season.

      And after Kershaw went down, they found out what they could do, when all of the players, played as a team.

      And that has carried them, ever since.

      And really besides Strasburg, the Nationals had all of there regular players, except there starting catcher, in that line up yesterday, so the Nationals, were not as bad off, as we thought they would be.

      And a lot of different players, made contributions in yesterday’s game, so it is hard for any team to contain just one or two players.

      Because many guys in the line up, can hurt you.

      I don’t think Kershaw is in good shape yet, because he hasn’t been able to pitch deep into games.

      Because he was still just trying to build himself up.

      But I do think Kershaw will do better, the next time he pitches.

      And that was actually a good sign when Kershaw was slowing the game down yesterday.

      Because when it has went really bad before with Kershaw, he just kept throwing fastball after fastball, to try to stop the bleeding.

      And he never really wanted AJ to come out there.

      I have to say that the whole bullpen, pitched great yesterday.

      Because we needed the bullpen, and Kenley badly in that game.

      And Kenley made up for all of the games, he couldn’t save in the regular season, with the way he pitched yesterday.

      It was good to win the first game of a series, for a change.

      And when the Dodgers have won the first game in the series in the past, they have always won that series.

      1. MJ… You are always a voice of reason on this board. Great points about Roberts.. He is a perfect fit for the team. He’s made plenty of mistakes as a rookie and that is expected, but he’s proven to be a very capable skipper especially in the NL where mgr’s really matter. According to the mlb channel he made more in game player moves (600 something) then any mgr ever … He’s squeezed every ounce he can out of what he’s got!

        1. Jake
          Thanks for your response!

          Roberts looks like he was always suppose to manage.

          He has great communication skills, along with good baseball knowledge.

          And he had to be a scrappy player, to stay in the majors, once he was called up.

          And that is the team’s personality now, and that is the part of the team, that we all like now.

          And that is what was missing in the past.

    1. Michael
      Maeda pitched those last two games, just to try to stay sharp.

      He didn’t have close to the time off, that he normally has, so that is probably why Maeda, has looked so bad.

      He will be pitching at home, so I think he will be ok.

      But your right, only one game at a time!

      I guess because the Giants hit McCarthy, they thought they were hitting well again.

      Because they really didn’t hit Kershaw, and they hit Maeda, on less then five days of rest, and that extra rest is important for Maeda, to pitch well.

      The Giants really didn’t hit much against the Mets, and it wasn’t one of there regular players, that hit that game winning HR.

      And the Giants didn’t hit Lester much yesterday either.

      It was good to see the Giants lose that game, and have to try to comeback, against Chapman.

      But I don’t know why Chapman threw a slider to Posey, when he has his 100 plus fastball.

      He did Posey a favor, by doing that.

      1. Staying sharp is one thing. I get it. But he pitched lousy in both games and one of them was at home. He gave up a lot of runs before the seats were even warm. Baez is the Cubs starting 2nd baseman, so he is a regular. Posey’s hit was inconsequential. How many times has Jansen served up a hit in the 9th? It happens. It is just magnified in the playoffs. I think and I truly believe that they cannot win a world series with their starters averaging 5 innings a game. The Indians, Jays and all the other teams have reliable starters. Other than Kershaw, the Dodgers do not. Good pitching trumps good hitting no matter which league you play in. Maeda is in the majors now, not Japan. He had better learn soon to win on 4 days rest because he is going to be here a while.

        1. And the Indians lost there number two and three starter, so actually we are better off there.

          Giant fans are complaining about that check swing in the ninth, with the hitter, right before Posey hit that slider

  6. Though some expected Maeda to pitch 200 innings, I’m thrilled he got to 175. Our starters are just not that impressive. But, we’ve shown they don’t need to be. I think it’s a moneyball thing. I admit I prefer starters who can go 7-8 innings, but that just ain’t us. Whatever works.

    1. I think Hill has been impressive given his limited amount of starts with us. He’s had a great year. He looks to me like he should be the #2 pitcher on this club because Kaz and Maeda have their ‘problems’. I felt some of Maeda’s wins were not because he pitched so well, giving up runs. But, the Dodger bats saved his ass. At least Maeda didn’t go on the DL. Kaz is just a general disappointment to me. I wonder if there’ll be any movement during the off season to create a stable starting rotation. I really don’t think the FO knew what they got with both Kaz and Maeda but had their backs to the wall with losing Greinke.

      1. Hill has pitched well, but 20 starts and 110 innings (less than 6 per start) I don’t consider a great year. He’s another high risk starter that this team, for now anyway, prefers to invest in. He’s also going to be 37 next March. I don’t see him as an answer to our future, but he is a perfect fit in the current 5 + 4 pitching plan. If this is who are, and for now it is, we’re better off carrying an extra bullpen arm and letting Roberts work matchups for half a game. He seems to enjoy it. I’d like to see young stud starters all over the field in this organization going forward, but maybe that’s the old Dodgers way. The new Dodgers way is platoons and pitching matchups. If it works, I guess I’ll just have to get on board with it. I prefer the studs and stars, but if we’re going the way of Oakland/Tampa, so be it.

        1. Badger…. If my memory is right you were actually the first one to post that you thought this was a bridge to 18. It was awhile ago… Regardless, I have the same opinion as you. I am hoping that we don’t stay with the platoon 5+4. . I don’t think platoons can last over extended amounts of time. Too many moving parts and you get what you pay for quantity over quality… Picking older, cheaper, high risk arms is not a sustainable strategy for long term success. Maybe if we had a third arm in 15 we would have won it all…. That’s the model that I think wins for years. One ace and 2 studs that can go 7+ and platoon 4 and 5 if needed. CK is running out of years but we have a ton of studs coming up. I am hoping that’s the reason we haven’t traded our best young arms….

          1. You agree with me?

            Excellent take Jake.

            Seriously, I still believe we will better next year and the years following. I would feel more confident now if our starting pitching was better. And platoons? I see the value when used sparingly. I’d prefer seeing the same 8 guys out there more often.

    2. I do expect Kershaw and Hill to go farther.

      But Kershaw just isn’t quite in the shape, he usually is in at this time of the year.

  7. Unconventional win. Or maybe it’s conventional now. 5-1-1-1-1. More or less. The biggest differences between this team and the last bunch of teams is Seager and Roberts. Watching Roberts’ post game interviews, the way he talks to the press gives you some idea of how he talks to the players. Very engaging. Patient. Super smart. Great command of language. Looks you in the eyes and you think he actually means what he says. It must be easy to buy into to what he is selling. A terrific communicator. He has convinced Jansen that he might go 6 outs every game. Jansen says ok. He and the staff are looking at personnel differently than in years past. 7 rookies in the post season. Unheard of from anyone. A profound, microscopic view of match ups. Yesterday there was talk of “spin rate” from the pitchers. Probably BS, but the key is to put out there different looks, with different pitches, different angles, etc. And get the guys out of there after 1-2 guys. Maybe that is why Kershaw said before the game he was more relaxed than ever. He knows that the 5 inning win is ok because it is still a win. Roberts has the guys buying into this approach. I am not a fan of the 5 inning starter, but it is what it is. And for this 2016 team at this moment it is a strength not a weakness. BTW: the Culberson tag was a thing of beauty. He had the bag blocked and took the short hop. Most of the time that throw is dropped. Again, Culberson is on the roster when Kike is not. Kike would have dropped that throw, I think. Go Cubs.

    1. I’ve stated before that I think, based on observations and reporting, that the 5-1-1-1-1 is much more the intended strategy than the 7-1-1-1.

      Number of reasons here:

      1. Rookies/Young pitchers on pitch count
      2. Strength and variety in the bullpen
      3. The Dodgers investing heavily in arm science and trying to minimize the toll.
      4. Allows flexibility in responding to opponent’s pitching moves.

      1. Arm science? Medical science? As in surgically repaired?

        I don’t believe our manager intended to become a 4 inning mix and match bullpen strategist. I bet he would prefer they all go 8 then he hands the ball to Jansen. I know I would. I would also like to see the Dodgers lead the Majors in complete games. That’s just not going to happen. It’s not who we are. We are Moneyball now, and that apparently means 5 + 4 and more platoons than the United States Marine Corps.

        1. Yes, arm/medical science.

          In Passan’s book there’s a lot about the Dodgers hiring lots of people in that field.

          It’s a great read, not just for the Dodgers stuff.

          1. I’m interested. I considered a major in Kinesiology, went Adaptive PE instead.

            I don’t get the connection between arm science and the Dodgers penchant for weak armed pitchers. Doesn’t the science say avoid injury prone pitchers?

          2. Wow. Good reads bluto.

            I’ve known some of that for a while now, and is why I am a proponent of 6 man rotation. I am also a proponent of teaching young pitchers proper mechanics and conditioning, how to spin the ball, change speeds, learn to hit your spots and – throw strikes dammit. I was still pitching into my 50’s and I could throw strikes pretty much whenever I wanted to. 15 pitches a inning and you’ve got 7 after 105. If you don’t try to throw it through a cement wall every pitch you should be able to throw 105 on 5 days rest and easily pitch into your late 30’s. Ask Mike Marshall about that.

          3. Thanks for the kind words.

            This is why I think the team has been so conservative with young arms and, perhaps, why it takes a shot on older pitchers. That is by hey think re-injury can be managed or lessened in frequency with innings control.

            Just my speculation

    2. Bobbie17

      That catch and tag, was really pretty great, especially with Culberson, just coming into the game, off the bench.

      And I think we need to give Grandal credit, for keeping his pitchers, in control of the game.

      He really had a good game too.

  8. From Houston Mitchell:
    –A couple of notes for TV analyst Harold Reynolds: 1. We get it, you don’t like the Dodgers. 2. Yes, we know how great things were when you played. 3. It’s OK to stop talking occasionally. 4. How did you get a voice that sounds so whiny? You must have gone to the Barney Fife school of elocution.

  9. Many here and in the recent past months were all screaming for a RH power hitter to help off set the LHP we face(#30 in BA vs LHP). Well, we almost had a good one except that FO on both sides couldn’t agree to 2nd prospect when time ran out.
    If you think he wouldn’t have helped us then perhaps you should look at BR and see what he has done this year and throughout his career vs LHP and then tell me, you wouldn’t want him, regardless of his history, wearing Dodger Blue right now.
    Yes he made a mistake and lied about it but who cares NOW. That’s in the past where it should stay, and please don’t talk about his contract. The contracts of Puig and McCarthy would’ve cut our monetary obligation almost in half.
    I need not mention his name, you all know who I’m talking about. Funny thing is we may yet still obtain him in the off season. If we don’t, I wouldn’t be a bit suprised if the Gnats made a big play for him.

  10. Did everyone hear the game today, has been postponed until tomorrow at 10 am.

    But they won’t have a travel day, so the game on Monday, will be played at the same time.

    I think the Dodgers should get the late game on Monday, since they are not getting a travel day, like the Cubs and the Giants are.

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