LOS ANGELES—With Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.20 ERA) on the mound against Stephen Strasburg (7-2, 2.80 ERA) no one should be surprised that a pitchers duel ensued. Kershaw proceeded to outdue Strasburg and the Dodgers have a 2-1 series sweep avoiding victory to show for it. Even though he only surrendered three hits and one run, while striking out nine batters in seven innings, Kershaw didn’t seemed too pleased with his performance.
“I didn’t have much today in the tank,” he said. “I felt fine, it just wasn’t coming out quite the way I wanted to today. I felt like I threw a lot of off-speed pitches. That’s good lineup, too. They have a really good team over there. I’m fortunate to get a win.”
Although Strasburg recorded the loss he had a decent game as well. He fanned eight batters and took a one hitter into the sixth inning, where he surrendered his only earned run in the form of a game tying Corey Seager solo homer. That was the fateful innings when things began to unravel for the Nationals.
Adrian Gonzalez stepped to the plate following Seager’s home run and was struck out by Strasburg. Unfortunately for the Nats, Strasburg’s pitch got past catcher Jose Lobaton and Gonzalez was able to reach first base as a result. A second consecutive wild pitch by Strasburg allowed Gonzalez to reach second, where he was scored by Yasmani Grandals go ahead double.
“Well, when you lose by one, especially 2-1, you point to a couple errors,” said Nationals manager Dusty Baker. “We made a couple errors that caused Stras to throw more pitches…When you play in close games like that, there’s usually a mistake here and a mistake there that is a difference.”
The Nationals threatened to tie the game in the eighth inning, but the Dodgers were able to get out of a jam thanks to a stellar defensive play by Kershaw’s replacement, Pedro Baez. He snagged a hot shot by Bryce Harper, and was able to catch Trae Turner in a rundown at home plate.
“Just a great play by Baez, not only to catch it, but to turn and make a good throw on a really fast runner,” said Zimmerman.
After Baez’s short stint, Kenley Jansen came on to deliver four outs and record his fifth four plus out save of the season, and his tenth overall.
“He’s had three days off, this was a big game and we have a day off tomorrow,” said Roberts. “It made sense.”
After beating the Nationals in five games in last years NLDS, the Dodgers narrowly avoided getting swept in this three game series. They now trail Colorado by two games in the NL West after losing back to back series against the Brewers and now the Nationals. After a day off to rest, Rich Hill (2-2, 4.15 ERA) the Dodgers will have a chance to inch closer to the division lead when they open up a three game home series on Friday, June 9, versus the Reds.