Kershaw Leads the Dodgers Past the Mariners and to the Best Record in Baseball
The Dodgers and Mariners played a surprisingly competitive series based on the fact that the teams have opposite records.
In the first game of the series, the Mariners absolutely tattooed Ross Stripling, who left after giving up 7 runs (6 earned) in three innings. However, the Dodgers also scored plenty of runs of their own, with homers from Mookie Betts and Corey Seager early on. The Dodgers finally got to a Mariners reliever in the bottom of the 7th, rallying by playing a bit of small ball with singles and walks and capping it off with a two-run homer from Kiké Hernandez. Kenley Jansen got the save in the 11-9 win, and while the first two batters reached against him on a bloop single and walk (he got squeezed by the ump), Kenley retired the next three batters in order and continued to look great in 2020.
Game two was the polar opposite of game 1: a pitcher's duel. Tony Gonsolin started for the Dodgers and threw 6 scoreless innings. Gonsolin is yet to give up a run after three starts in 2020. Mariners starter Marco Gonzales held the Dodgers to only one run over 7 innings, aided by a spectacular catch from rookie sensation Kyle Lewis to run Justin Turner of possibly a triple at the wall. Austin Barnes scored both runs, with Turner singling him in early and Seager doing the same in the 8th. Since Jansen had pitched in 3 of the 4 past games, Blake Treinen got the last 5 outs and the save in the Dodgers' 2-1 win.
Wednesday's game was a nightmare to watch and the Dodgers still almost won. Bellinger, Muncy, and Pederson all homered, a very good sign considering how they've started their season. Taijaun Walker pitched well though, and Julio Urias was pulled from the game in the second inning after 55 pitches and just allowing constant traffic. Dennis Santana wasn't much better in replacing him, getting two outs and giving up a three-run homer. However, the core contributors from the bullpen were all very effective and kept the Dodgers in the game, and they almost threatened against the Mariners bullpen, they just couldn't quite put it together. The Dodgers lost, 6-4, to break their 7 game winning streak.
Clayton Kershaw picked up the team, especially the bullpen, in his second phenomenal start in a row, as he struck out 11 batters over 7 tremendous innings. He passed Don Drysdale for sole possession of second place in the Dodgers All-Time Strikeout Leaders, and only trails Don Sutton. Kershaw is also 7 short of 2,500 in his career. While his velocity was not 93-94 like in Anaheim, his fastball was consistently 91-92, but he didn't throw it very much due to his other pitches being so effective. His slider and curveball were both beyond disgusting and the Mariners flailed at them all night. Kershaw's 19 swing and misses were the most he's gotten since 2017. He really appears to be the Kershaw of old, with the stuff looking un-hittable and the velocity one of the biggest one-year improvements after constant decline in MLB history. The Kershaw of old appears to be back, and it's awesome and huge bonus for a stacked Dodgers team. It's nice to be able to just throw Kershaw at teams and say "good luck," again.
The Dodgers play the Rockies, who have been on a huge skid since their hot start and are 13-12. The Dodgers, who are 19-8, the best record in baseball, look to continue their dominance of the league in 2020. Walker Buehler looks to get on track for the season in his start tonight, as the Rockies are an opponent he usually dominates, especially at Dodger Stadium.
Photo Credit: Dodgers Twitter