The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night behind the left arm of Clayton Kershaw to earn the series victory.
Kershaw threw eight shutout innings, only giving up three hits while walking none and striking out eight. The first Nationals baserunner didn’t reach base until there was one out in the sixth inning.
After the game Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talked about Kershaw’s start, and how it differed from his last start in Pittsburgh when he struggled a bit. “He was really good. Just seemed like everything was sharp tonight. A lot better location,” Mattingly said.
“I knew he didn’t feel that he had his good stuff in Pittsburgh. When he tries to force it, he loses command. Tonight it looked like he came out easy. He used all his pitches, he got the ball to the other side of the plate a little bit.”
Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the ninth inning and earned his 22nd save of the season by striking out two and not allowing a baserunner. While Kershaw was only at 101 pitches after the eighth, Mattingly never planned to send him out there for the ninth. “He was coming out,” the Dodgers skipper said. “He didn’t really want to, but that’s typical with Clayton. I felt like it was a situation, fourth time around, so Kenley was the right guy for that moment.”
Kershaw added that he didn’t argue with his manager on the decision. “I didn’t really have an argument,” Kershaw said. “If he’s picking Kenley or me, I can’t really argue with him. I tried, but it didn’t work.”
Despite getting off to a slow start to start the season, Kershaw has been pitching better than ever. Overall on the season, he is 10-6 with a 2.39 ERA, 2.18 FIP, 0.92 WHIP and 205 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the second inning Wednesday to give him 200 strikeouts on the season for the sixth straight time making him the 10th pitcher in Major League history to do so.
In his last eight starts Kershaw has given up just six earned runs in 62 innings while striking out 74. With the upcoming pennant race, Kershaw throwing the way he has been could be the key to the Dodgers’ success.