Diamondbacks waste Kershaw and Dodgers, 3-0

The rule about who covers second base on a stolen-base attempt isn’t hard and fast. Generally, you choose the opposite-field defender (second baseman for a right-handed batter, shortstop for a left-handed batter), but scouting and sixth senses might convince you to do the opposite, as the Dodgers did in the fourth inning tonight when Arizona’s Gerardo Parra took off from first base with right-handed hitting Martin Prado at the plate.

Justin Sellers vacated his shortstop position, and Prado pulled a 94-mph Clayton Kershaw fastball right where Sellers’ shadow sat, into left field for a hit-and-run single. Instead of a double play, the Diamondbacks had runners on first and third with none out against Kershaw, who to that point was still unscored upon in 19 innings this season.

The 6-4-3 double play came from the next batter, courtesy of Paul Goldschmidt, but it delivered the first run of the season against Kershaw … and ennervatingly for the Dodgers, the critical piece of a 3-0 Arizona victory.

The Dodgers, who left 10 runners on base tonight for a total of 85 in their first 10 games, had two key opportunities to score on behalf of Kershaw. In the top of the fourth, they loaded the bases against Arizona starter Patrick Corbin on two walks and an infield single by Sellers, before Kershaw himself had a potential RBI single taken away by second baseman Josh Wilson.

Then in the eighth, Matt Kemp singled and went to third on two wild pitches by Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez, the second of them ball four to Adrian Gonzalez. The red-hot Carl Crawford, lurking on the bench, came up as a pinch-hitter, but he struck out on a pitch in the dirt, and then Andre Ethier grounded out.

Kershaw came to the mound for the bottom of the eighth needing one strikeout for 1,000 in his career, but was forced out of the game after a single, a bunt single and a 3-2 walk to Parra. Kershaw threw 111 pitches, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out nine.

Shawn Tolleson, the high-school contemporary of Kershaw who was called up from Albuquerque to temporarily replace Zack Greinke on the Dodger roster and help a suddenly depleted Dodger bullpen, was chosen ahead of lefty J.P. Howell to pitch to Prado and Goldschmidt, but walked them both to force in the game’s second and third runs. Each was charged to Kershaw, whose ERA rose from 0.39 to 1.16 while he watched from the bench. Howell then came in to strike out left-handed Miguel Montero and retire right-handed Alfredo Marte on a liner to third.

Had the bullpen bailed Kershaw out of that last jam, Kershaw would have tied four other pitchers for the second-longest streak in major-league history of allowing no more than one run, as Jim McLennan of AZ Snakepit noted. Kershaw settled for seven starts in a row.

In their last-gasp ninth inning, Nick Punto hit a one-out single up the middle off J.J. Putz, who then walked Skip Schumaker. But Jerry Hairston Jr. hit into a game-ending double play, the double play that didn’t come soon enough for Kershaw in the fourth.

Even in defeat, Kershaw continues to astonish.  His 19-inning scoreless streak to start 2013 is the second longest by a starter in Dodger history and the longest by anyone on the team since Jim Gott’s 19 1/3 innings in 1993. Ridiculously, Kershaw has lost his last four starts against Arizona and is 7-6 lifetime despite an ERA against them of 2.37.

Los Angeles (6-4, a game behind Arizona in the National League West) finished its first 10 games of 2013 with 27 runs.

  • Anonymous

    An overall uninspired performance from the Dodgers hitters tonight. Typical for a Kershaw start, unfortunately.

    • Anonymous

      That does seem to be the case way too often.

  • Anonymous

    “Even in defeat, Kershaw continues to astonish. His 19-inning scoreless streak to start 2013 is the second longest by a starter in Dodger history and the longest by anyone on the team since Jim Gott’s 19 1/3 innings in 1993. Ridiculously, Kershaw has lost his last four starts against Arizona and is 7-6 lifetime despite an ERA against them of 2.37.” Bears repeating. What a pitcher.

  • Anonymous

    A little historical perspective. It’s pretty amazing really how
    incredibly hard it’s been for this franchise to field good offensive
    teams since they moved to LA. Even the championship teams that they’ve
    had here, except for the 81 team, have had below average offenses. In
    their 55 year history here in LA, they haven’t produced a single hall of
    fame hitter who actually went in as a Los Angeles Dodger. And certainly none are
    coming from this team. It’s actually pretty amazing when you think about
    it, i mean 55 years is a long time. You would think just by law of
    averages there would be one, but nope.

    Oh and Kemp’s decline into irrelevance is just
    sad. Whenever the Dodgers finally appear to have a great hitter he
    either gets traded (Piazza, Konerko), gets an injury that completely
    robs him of his power (Kemp, Green), leaves as a free agent
    (Beltre) or asks to be traded ( Sheffield)

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

      I think it’s a little early to write off Kemp’s power.

    • Anonymous

      Beltre may have signed a contract to play for the Mariners in 2005, but Frank and Jamie did their part to push him out of here, making their family-style low-ball offer to him only after he rejected the Tigers.

      Just another unnecessary reminder of how destructive that family was to our team.

    • Anonymous

      Wow, ready to write off Kemp after just 10 games. Pujols and Hamilton need fans too.

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

    Switched over to the Laker game, where Kobe is doing a Willis Reed impression.

  • Anonymous

    The only downside to watching games with Kershaw pitching is having to watch the Dodgers offense fail over and over and over.

    • Anonymous

      Kershaw has particularly been affected, but the offense is sharing their futility across the board . . . to all the pitchers!

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

    Golden State missed a wide-open jumper with 9 seconds left that would have given them the lead. Then, down by 2, Curry hit the back of the rim on a 75-footer at the buzzer.

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

    TWCSN reports Kobe has probable torn achilles tendon. MRI tomorrow.

  • Anonymous

    Clayton is truly amazing. (sign him up!)

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

    NPUT