How long has it been since we last saw Clayton Kershaw atop the mound? After five long weeks, the greatest pitcher of a generation returned to lead his team, and as he has done countless times throughout his storied career, he stopped a Dodgers losing streak.
The man was brilliant tonight. He had to be, because the anemic Dodgers’ offense only gave him one run to work with. On top of that, they took their sweet time and didn’t even score that lonely run until Kershaw’s sixth and final inning.
Despite the injection of new blood into the Dodgers dugout, there really wasn’t any type of spark generated by the newcomers. September call ups, Alex Verdugo and O’Koyea Dickson, were joined by Andre Ethier, but the limited offensive fireworks were delivered by the usual suspects.
Justin Turner (who ended the night an impressive 3-4) led off the sixth with a base hit. Cody Bellinger followed with a single. After two outs, Chase Utley reached down and poked a single over and out to the grass, and Turner came home with the only run of the night.
JT had a good night at the plate, and thankfully Yasiel Puig continued to avoid chasing junk, but that’s what every other Dodgers batter did tonight – chase junk.
Is that pitch up around my eyes? Swing and a miss. Is that pitch bouncing in the dirt? Swing and a miss. Give some credit to the Padres pitcher, but c’mon, boys. If your body feels awkward when you’re swinging, that was probably not a good pitch to chase.
Back to the good news about Clayton. His pitch count was very good, he was in control all night (only one 3-ball count), and one single fly ball. of course, he tallied his share of strike outs, nailing seven Padres.
The rest of the bullpen was tasked with holding on to a one-run lead, and they were magnificent. Brandon Morrow struck out the side in the seventh, Tony Watson pitched a scoreless eighth, and of course, Kenley Jansen came on to nail down his 36th save of the season.
With some luck, the Dodgers can build on this win and make it a three-game winning streak in one day. They will play a double-header tomorrow with the Padres, starting at 11 am PST tomorrow morning. Morning Dodgers baseball after a Kershaw win. I love it.