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NLDS: Kershaw, Dodgers Destroyed by Dbacks in Game 1

Picard wearing Dodger hat

I feel sorry for the Dodgers fans who drank the swill this year. If you did, I’m sorry to tell you this, but pitching wins championships and the Dodgers entered the postseason with one of the weakest staffs in 50 years. If you think a staff with old and injured Clayton Kershaw who is at the end of his career, Lance Lynn who is also at the end of his career and a bunch of rookies are going to win the World Series, I’m sorry to inform you that it’s very unlikely.

Let me preference this by saying that I love Kershaw. He’s one of my favorite Dodgers. I respect everything he’s done for the franchise and the city of Los Angeles. I refuse to bury him, instead I want to honor him. We have to be honest about reality. The reality is that Kershaw has reached the twilight of his career, and is no longer the same pitcher he was 5 or 6 years ago.

The opening game of the Dodgers/Dbacks National League division series was a total disaster. It was sad and pathetic. Kershaw their game 1 starter who hasn’t been healthy since the All-star break recorded just one out while giving up six earned runs to the DBacks in an 11-2 bludgeoning. The rest of the staff gave up five runs. If you’re wondering how the Dodgers won 100 games without a pitching staff, one has only to look at their powerful lineup that scored 900 runs this season. You can have the greatest lineup in baseball history, but runs are hard to come by in the playoffs.

That didn’t matter as Merrill Kelly, the Arizona starting pitcher, who was I think 0-11 in his career against the Dodgers in the regular season shut them out over 6.1 scoreless innings. The Dodger lineup collected just 4 hits, scoring two runs, coming in the eighth inning on a Will Smith triple.

To be fair to Kershaw, James Outman misplayed an easy out in center field on a Ketel Marte liner to open the game. It should have been ruled an error. Otherwise, we’re probably seeing the end of Kershaw’s career and it’s extremely sad. He’s been pitching for 16 years, and has about a thousand innings on his body.

He’s never told management that he can’t pitch in important games. Not once. He’s never pulled a Max Scherzer, and for that I want to thank him. It takes guts to do that, especially when you’re older and coming off of injuries. It does take pitching to win in the postseason and the Dodgers just don’t have that in 2023. The NLDS resumes on Monday night with rookie Bobby Miller taking the mound for the Dodgers against Zac Gallen for Arizona. This series is going to be as painful as last year. I think Andrew Friedman’s regime has run its course in Los Angeles. I’m hoping whoever is running the Dodgers next year builds the roster around strong pitching, especially starting pitching.

You can’t reinvent baseball. I hate to inform the analytics fans.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic
https://ladodgerreport.com

13 thoughts on “NLDS: Kershaw, Dodgers Destroyed by Dbacks in Game 1

  1. Now let’s see…. Check the boxes:

    Red Hot Snakes carry momentum of Wild Card sweep into Dodger Stadium….. “CHECK”

    Dodgers “flatfooted” after 1-week layoff….. “CHECK”

    Tired and worn ol’ veteran pitcher gets shellacked and cannot get out of the first inning before giving up 6 runs….. “CHECK”

    Sporadic Bullpen could not stop the bleeding….. “CHECK”

    Sloppy defense….. “CHECK”

    Offense sputters….. “CHECK”

    RISP, 1-6……”CHECK”

    LOB, 6…… “CHECK”

    KO’s 8……”CHECK”

    Hapless Dodgers get a day to lick their wounds before Game 2. Just one miserable game. They still have an opportunity to recover, but they have to “want it!” Do they really “want it?”, or are they just going through the motions, already surrendering their fate?

    The Dodgers always have a big target on their backs…. But last night, that target said “KICK ME”, and the the D-Backs definitely complied.

    Let’s hope they do not repeat the embarrassing early exit of last season.

    Wake up, Dodgers!

      1. That’s it!

        Couldn’t be a better example.

        In a five game series if Kershaw throws an incredibly rare stinker the team is really behind the 8-ball!

        But over a season? This kind of outlier is almost insignificant.

        1. Kershaw says he is fine and DR says Clayton is fine…. It is not a health/injury issue (seriously?). Basically a pitch location and sequence issue (Will Smith?). Sheehan seemed to have issues too (hummm?). DR says Kershaw will be the Game 4 starter, if they get that far… do they really have any other option? Not with this pitching staff.

          So much for 100-win seasons, HFA, and playoff seeding. October is a whole new season, and what they did in the regular season means diddly squat. I agree, a total crap shoot. If they cannot pitch or hit in the playoffs, they might as well throw in the towel, and kiss their World Series aspirations goodbye.

          It was just the first game of the series, and anything can happen. The Dodgers always seem to rebound after getting their ass kicked. More than anything, winning in October depends on how much a team wants it. No time for excuses, no time for sympathy. No time for pointing fingers. The Dodgers have to go “All In”, and turn the table in this NLDS, or relive the embarrassment and agony of last season’s early exit.

  2. Sorry, just have to comment on Will Smith’s post game statement.

    I cannot get over this ridiculous statement. “I don’t think we came out flat as hitters,” Dodgers catcher Will Smith said. “It’s always tough when you’re standing in the field a lot. But, other than that, I thought we put together good at-bats.”

    “Standing on the field a lot” – Is he pointing fingers at Kershaw, and not his pitch calling?

    “I don’t think we came out flat as hitters….. I thought we put together good at-bats” – easy for him to say. He got 2 hits, while the rest of the team managed to scrap up just 2 more. I don’t know what game he was watching. Is he only looking at himself?

    Seriously, Smith?

    1. If you look across the league for this year and the previous, you can make the point that the bye is a disadvantage.

      It’s a VERY small sample size, but intriguing.

      1. I agree, Bluto. The bye is definitely a disadvantage. It sends the favorites into the LDS cold, flatfooted, and overconfident, while the Wild Card winners come in steamrolling, motivated, and ready for battle. Momentum is a huge advantage. Too many wild cards (not to mention too long of a season), but MLB likes it because it means more revenue. One wildcard team is enough. Eliminate the wildcard round. LDS should be best of 7, top seed plays wildcard, 2nd seed plays 3rd seed. Eliminate the unfair advantage.

        That does not excuse the top seeds for taking a mini vacation either. They say they work out and play inter squad games during the break. We all know they are probably goofing around, and not taking these practice games serious. So hard to stay game ready when nothing is on the line in a scrimmage.

        All we can do is hope they can get lucky, and turn this mess around.

  3. Shall we check the boxes again?

    Red Hot Snakes carry momentum of Wild Card sweep into Dodger Stadium….. “DOUBLE CHECK” Snakes are just cruising, having fun, and playing baseball.

    Dodgers “flatfooted” after 1-week layoff….. “DOUBLE CHECK” They still think they are playing a friendly scrimmage.

    Tired and worn ol’ veteran pitcher gets shellacked and cannot get out of the first inning before giving up 6 runs…..”Not Applicable”

    Starting pitcher gets early hook…… “CHECK” This time, the Dodgers only hope, rookie Miller, did not have the answer tonight. No command. He gave up three quick runs, but got no run support.

    Sporadic Bullpen could not stop the bleeding….. “PASS” I’ll give them a pass tonight. Relievers stopped the bleeding kept Dodgers in the game.

    Sloppy defense….. “CHECK”. No answer to D-Backs small ball tactics, and aggressive baserunning.

    Offense sputters….. “DOUBLE CHECK”

    RISP, 1-6……”DOUBLE CHECK”

    LOB, 7…… “DOUBLE CHECK”

    KO’s 8……”DOUBLE CHECK”

    Hapless Dodgers get a day to lick their wounds before Game 2 but to no avail. Wasted opportunities. Weak starting pitching for two starts. Freeman and Betts not swinging the bat (3-13 this series)….Betts something like 4-35 over last 9 playoff games. Freeman looks at a juicy meatball for strike 3 with two on. After Outman’s misplay in game one, he seems unable to recover from his embarrassment (0-3 with 3 K’s).

    Dodgers on the brink of another embarrassing early elimination. What they accomplished in regular season means absolutely nothing in October.

    Time to take a knee, and pray for a miracle, Dodger Fans. Not totally impossible, but they way they are playing, things look pretty grim.

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