Sunday marks the one-week anniversary of Clayton Kershaw’s call for some panic and urgency to be exuded by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had just dropped their fifth straight game at the time.
Neither manager Don Mattingly or Jimmy Rollins took issue with Kershaw’s comments, and the club has responded by compiling a five-game winning streak entering play Sunday and are in position to sweep the Chicago Cubs.
Naturally, Kershaw was asked about his comments following his 14 strikeouts over eight innings of work Friday. “I don’t think they care,” he said with a smirk. What impact Kershaw’s comment had on the team is a question Mattingly has repeatedly been asked on the homestand, most recently after Saturday’s win.
“I don’t know who you want to give credit to,” Mattingly said. “It sounds really good, though, that we’ve done that [winning streak]. I just think he has an impact. It is a little bit of a wakeup call for guys to say, ‘Hey, let’s go. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point.’ I think that’s all he was saying – we’ve got to play with some urgency.”
Andre Ethier, who began the night on the bench and entered as part of a double switch in the seventh inning, delivered a two-run base hit in the bottom of the seventh that scored the go-ahead runs. As Rollins previously stated, Ethier also believed Kershaw’s remark was justified.
“I think it was the right feeling to freak out a little bit just because you see the Giants creep up on you,” Ethier said. “So it’s rightfully so that it’s time to push that panic button and have a sense-of-urgency check on everyone.”
Ethier is batting .396 (23-for-58) over 22 games in August, which is the highest batting average in the Majors this month. The hot stretch has improved is overall batting average this season to .299, which is the highest it’s been since he hit .305 in 2008.