Kershaw lovely and amazing again in 1-0 Dodger victory

Luis Tiant (1966) and Harry Breechen (1948) each threw three shutouts to start the season. Since 1916, 32 other pitchers, including lone Dodger member Karl Spooner in 1954, had a pair of shutouts to open the year, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Clayton Kershaw looked like he might join the party tonight against Pittsburgh, before settling for the consolation prize of merely maintaining his 0.00 ERA.

Kershaw threw seven shutout innings tonight before handing a 1-0 lead to the Dodger bullpen, which held the line for the team’s second consecutive whitewash victory over the Pirates.

Friday, Zack Greinke retired 14 batters in a row between the two hits he allowed. Tonight, Kershaw gave up a leadoff single to Starling Marte, then set down 17 in a row before Marte’s two-out infield single in the sixth.

With two out in the seventh, Kershaw issued his first walk of the season on a 3-2 pitch to Russell Martin. Three pitches later, he picked Martin off first base to bring on the seventh-inning stretch, but after 97 pitches, Don Mattingly decided not to start a new inning with his ace and told him – in a not-so-brief dugout conversation – his night was over.

Paco Rodriguez struck out left-handed hitting Pedro Alvarez to start the eighth, then Kenley Jansen retired the next two batters on 10 pitches. The fact that Jansen had also thrown 18 pitches 24 hours earlier helped mitigate any debate over the inevitable decision to turn to Brandon League to close the game in the ninth.

League issued a two-out walk with Pirates All-Star Andrew McCutchen on deck, but McCutchen grounded out to Mark Ellis on League’s next and last pitch. As the Dodger postgame press notes stated, the Dodger bullpen has pitched 10 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings in 2013, walking two and striking out nine.

In his seven innings, Kershaw struck out nine, giving him 16 in 16 innings. Opponents are 6 for 53 against him this year with a .132 on-base percentage.

Fernando Valenzuela, in case you’re wondering, allowed a run in his second career start in 1981, in between throwing shutouts in four of his first five starts. Valenzuela also allowed no earned runs but four unearned runs in his first four starts of 1985.

The Dodgers got their run on an infield single by Carl Crawford, his first stolen base and an RBI single by Mark Ellis. Crawford went 2 for 3 with a walk and is now 7 for 16 with two walks as a Dodger; Ellis (2 for 4) is 6 for 16 with a walk in 2013.

Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 3 with a walk to raise his on-base percentage to .450 and his OPS to .888.

That trio is 18 for 48 this year. The rest of the Dodgers are 13 for 103, and tonight, the team went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.

The left side of the Dodger infield is 0 for 33 this year with two walks, one intentional, leaving it within striking distance Sunday of making Eugenio Velez’s 0 for 37 in 2011 look quaint. Matt Kemp, meanwhile, went 0 for 4 and is now hitting .056.

Five games into the season, the Dodgers have allowed four earned runs in 45 innings for an 0.80 ERA. Total runs: 11 for the Dodgers, 8 for the visitors.

 

  • Anonymous

    0.80 team ERA. Nice.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Well nice that we won. I sure can’t wait until our offense is clicking…hopefully tomorrow is the start of it. Night all

  • Anonymous

    No second guessing Mattingly’s refusal to hit for either Cruz or Sellers? Oh well at least we won!

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    I’m taking a Dodger blogging hiatus now that Jon has returned. I’m glad he’s done so.

    http://linkmeister.com/dodgers/2013/04/blogging-news/

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Thanks for keeping the gang together, Link. Still not sure how the season will go, but I’ve made it through a week.

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

        If you look at comment volume I’m not sure I did keep the majority of the group together. But I offered up an alternative spot.

        • foul tip

          Thanks for making the effort. You helped keep the spirit going, at least.

    • Anonymous

      Applause for you Mr. Linkmeister

  • Anonymous

    Linkmeister–Thanks for keeping the news and the spirit of DodgerThoughts.
    Jon–Thanks for returning to DodgerThoughts (or returning to more activity).
    Not to put too much on you guys, but maybe you could team up and make the effort and experience easier and better for you both, and great for us readers.
    A note on Clayton Kershaw. In 16 innings, he has allowed 7 baserunners. Two have been picked off/caught stealing. Only two have advanced to second base, and none have even made it to third base. That’s just ridiculous.

  • Greg Hao

    Even if just a servicable game recap, it’s nice to see you back writing about the Dodgers again Jon.

  • Anonymous

    The Harang trade still has me a bit perturbed. Not only that FedEx won’t be getting his chance, but also that for the first time under new ownership, money became a consideration.

  • DXMachina

    Yeah, given that the Rockies immediately DFA’d Harang, you have to wonder what Ned could have gotten in return if he had talked to other teams.

    On the other hand, letting FedEx play every day in AAA will probably be good for his development, and Hernandez is (if healthy) a perfectly cromulent backup catcher at this point in his career. Over his career, he’s been a much better hitter than either Treanor (not really all that hard to do) or Barajas ever were.

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

      But you gotta believe that Ned did talk to other teams about Harang, Capuano and Lilly. It was no secret that the Dodgers had three extra starting pitchers, so if there’d been a lot of demand for one of them I’d think a deal could have been made. The fact that it took till the first week of the season and that all he could get was a 37-year-old catcher with declining hitting numbers for one of them seems to say no team was desperate for any of them. This despite there apparently being a few teams who do need starters (that may say more about the salaries Harang and Capuano are due than about their skill levels, however).

    • Anonymous

      “Cromulent.” Love it.

  • foul tip

    To me the Harang move is at least as much about roster considerations as it is the player gotten back. Tho it might not be a ‘turrible” idea (channeling Charles Barkley) to have a PVL catcher with some pop.

    Obviously stashing excess starters in the bullpen wasn’t a long-term solution, nor even medium term.

    Other teams know the Dodgers had to move at least 2 (looking at you, Ted, while waving bye to Aaron) and have the Dodgers at a disadvantage as far as giving up much in return. There are some teams with dicey to non-existent 5th starters, yes. But this early their smartest move is to wait out LA.

    Even if those teams miss out, they’re missing out only on generously paid mid-30s pitchers in decline, even if a couple manage a couple more respectable years somewhere.

    The team seems to value Cap more. First, he’s a lefty who’s pitched out of a pen before and could step into a starting role if injury zapped one of the top 5. But he’s probably more in demand than Lilly. If Lilly doesn’t do better after a few more minor league starts, he’ll probably pretty much have to be given away (especially with the repaired shoulder.) Trading him will have to be done regardless, since as Mattingly has said, Lilly isn’t geared to pitching out of a pen.

    I hope Guerrier goes along with whichever starter is moved next . If he and Lilly are outta here in combo or separately, the pen probably is about where it needs to be for now.

    Separately or together, some Dodger cash would have to accompany each, most likely. But that aspect just does not seem to be a problem.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    New post up top.