Last night, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was cruising through five innings with nary a worry in sight. He had just retired 12 batters in a row, was looking downright dominant, and the only hit he allowed was a misplayed ball in left field by Carl Crawford that ended up as a triple for the Miami Marlins. But then the sixth inning happened.
For the first time in his entire career, Kershaw gave up five straight hits. A couple were of the cheap variety, but the biggest hit, a three-run home run off the bat of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, was anything but cheap. The second Kershaw threw the pitch, he knew it was a bad result waiting to happen. Kershaw took responsibility for the loss.
“That’s a tough one to let get away; I had a 3-0 lead and I didn’t keep it,” Kershaw said. “I didn’t do my job there. Nothing really felt different. They got some hits there and strung them together, and I have to do a better job limiting the damage. Obviously I missed my spot on Stanton and that’s what he does, he makes you pay for stuff like that.”
To be fair to Kershaw, it wasn’t as if he even pitched poorly in that sixth inning. The bloop double he gave up had an exit velocity of just 60 MPH. The infield single was 77 MPH, and another single was 70 MPH. Those are not hard hit balls at all. Still, that’s baseball. You live with the good and the bad, and Kershaw took the blame for all of this.
It was an unfortunate series of events, but it’s something that both the Dodgers and Kershaw will have to live with going forward. You can count on Kershaw to deliver awesome performances, but sometimes even gods can turn into mortals for a brief period of time. That was the case with yesterday’s game.