After an 8-3 loss in the series opener to the Washington Nationals, the Dodgers pitching came up big and did not allow Washington to score another run in the series and the Dodgers were able to take two out of three against a possible playoff opponent.
The shutout in the series finale was thanks in large part to Clayton Kershaw, who threw eight innings, giving up three hit, walking none and striking out eight. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen then came in and threw a perfect ninth, striking out two.
After the game Jansen talked about how it feels to be able to watch Kershaw pitch, and then come in and save games for him. “It’s fun watching him, Jansen said. “The feeling that you get watching him, especially when it gets close and you see his pitch count kind of get up there and you just watch him, it just pumps you up I feel like.”
“Whenever I go in there I just go out there and attack. He’s a big influence I feel like, sometimes too. I see how he goes about his business and you come in there with a one-run lead, three-run lead, and try to save them for him. It just pumps you up and you just go out there and try to get it done.”
He also added that if Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sent Kershaw back out for the ninth to go for the complete game that he wouldn’t have minded. “Kershaw is just the best pitcher in the game and I feel like sometimes for me, just let it go,” the Dodger closer said. “Whenever he wants it, he wants it so that’s not an argument from me. It comes to Donny’s decision and whenever I have the opportunity to save a game for him, it’s pretty awesome.”
Both Kershaw (11.4) and Jansen (16.3) currently have career-highs in strikeouts-per-nine-innings and are among the league leaders in that category.
The Dodgers will be in good shape in the postseason if Kershaw can throw the way he did Wednesday night and can hand the ball to Jansen in the ninth.