By Jon Weisman
Eight years, six months and 23 days ago, Vin Scully called a Clayton Kershaw inning for the first time. It was Spring Training — a meaningless day — that linked the artist of this generation to the artist of all generations.
Scully and Kershaw teamed up for the last time this afternoon in San Francisco. For Dodger fans, the result was not storybook like Vin’s last game in Los Angeles, but there’s no such thing as a bad story when Vin is behind the mic.
“It really is, when you think about it, a David and Goliath game: Clayton Kershaw against a young pitcher starting out,” Vin said, and on some level, I’m guessing the broadcaster didn’t mind terribly that David won.
In his second Major League start, Blach silenced the Dodgers over eight shutout innings in a 3-0 Giants victory.
By losing, the Dodgers finalized their plans for next week. They will start the best-of-five National League Division Series on the road at Washington. Here’s the schedule:
- October 7: Dodgers at Nationals
- October 8: Dodgers at Nationals
- October 9: travel
- October 10: Nationals at Dodgers
- October 11: Nationals at Dodgers (if necessary)
- October 12: travel (if necessary)
- October 13: Dodgers at Nationals (if necessary)
The biggest upside of that schedule is that if the Dodgers can win at least one game in Washington, it would allow them the opportunity to capture the series at home in Game 3 or Game 4. And of course, it was only last season when the Mets won Game 5 of the NLDS on the road at Dodger Stadium.
In his final tuneup before the postseason, Kershaw retired the first 11 batters and whipped through his first four innings on only 35 pitches. But he allowed a fifth-inning homer to Angel Pagan, who would score again in the seventh on a fluky play. Brandon Crawford singled off Kershaw’s leg, and after picking up the carom, Justin Turner threw the ball away for a two-base error.
Crawford then scored on a Gordon Beckham sacrifice fly.
Kershaw completed the seventh inning with his 82nd pitch, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out four.
“He was not the overpowering Clayton at all,” Scully said. “It was kind of a tip-off: There were only five swings and misses. So he wound up with four strikeouts and one walk.”
Blach matched Kershaw inning for inning at the start and once given the lead, never relented. He retired 23 of the 27 Dodgers he faced, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out six and getting a double play behind him. Working quickly, Blach threw 99 pitches that seemed to come almost on top of each other.
“I don’t really like to quote myself,” Scully said midgame, “but with Bob Gibson I once said, ‘He pitches like he’s double-parked.’ Ty Blach is pitching like that right now.”
The Giants retained their one-game lead over the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card. The Mets clinched the first NL Wild Card earlier in the day.
“For Ty Blach, David has still beaten Goliath,” Vin said. “He is 1-1, his first victory in the big leagues beating Clayton Kershaw.”