A night after a terrible start from starter Josh Beckett, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw turned in an absolute gem of a performance Tuesday night.
Kershaw twirled 8.2 shutout innings allowing just five hits while striking out 11. While he threw 132 pitches, Kershaw kept hitters off balance and lowered his major league leading ERA to 1.40.
While moving Matt Kemp to the second spot didn’t wake up his power, Kemp extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the quietest hitting streak in recent memory.
Andre Ethier picked up the only two RBI’s on the night as the Dodgers rode Kershaw’s left arm the entire night. With their win, the Dodgers moved to 16-22 as they’ve won three of four and will have Zack Greinke on the hill tomorrow with a chance to take the series from the Nationals.
Tonight was a different night. No groaning about leaving runners in scoring position, just marveling at the performance of Kershaw. The lineup only managed four hits, but gave the classic, “here’s your run Kershaw, that’t it” line.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Dodgers will face Nationals starter Ross Detwiler as they’ve hit well against southpaws. Dodgers hitters are hitting .299 against lefties and it will be interesting to see if Mattingly sticks with Kemp in the second spot.
While Mattingly supported closer Brandon League, it was reliever Kenley Jansen getting the save and not League after Kershaw gave up a ninth inning single to Adam LaRoche.
Whether or not that becomes a trend remains to be seen, but giving League a vote of confidence and then going to Jansen is an interesting move.
Finally, a night where we don’t have to talk about the inability to score runs and just appreciate Kershaw as he continues to become a Dodger great before our eyes.