Dodgers Win With Kershaw Shutout
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers pitching ace and arguably "the best pitcher in the world" according to teammate Matt Kemp, finished off the Cardinals on Sunday by hurling 13 strikeouts in seven innings en-route to a 6-0 shutout and helped the Dodgers win the four-game series, 3-1. This was his third straight scoreless start, capping off a career month in June -- six wins, a no-hitter, a 0.82 ERA, and a streak of 28 scoreless innings. It's the longest scoreless streak by any pitcher in the Majors this season.
Kershaw is now 9-2 overall with a 2.04 ERA and was delighted to beat the team that roughed him up in last season's NL Championship Series Game 6.
"I've had good games against them and bad games," Kershaw said. "For me, it's a matter of trying to think along with those guys."
"It seems like a long time ago when he had that game in Arizona and everybody was ready to drop him off the mountain," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, referring to the game on May 17 when the Dbacks scored seven runs in 1 2/3 innings off Kershaw.
Mattingly is also excited about this seasons pitching staff. "Our starting five pitchers (Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu/Beckett/Haren) gives us a chance."
The Dodgers outscored the Cardinals, 17-4, during the four-game series which didn't please manager Mike Matheny.
"We're not clicking, producing, whatever verb you want to throw with it to describe us not being able to throw many hits together," Matheny said. "You cannot, again, deny that not many guys are throwing a lot of hits together against these guys. There is no reason to start standing on a chair and start screaming at people. But I know our guys are frustrated, no matter who we face, walking out of here with zeros. We don't think that we're that kind of team that is going to get shut out very often."
Along with the outstanding performance by Kershaw, it was encouraging to see Dodgers veteran center-fielder Andre Ethier crank-out a three-run homer in the fifth inning. That's the Ethier of old the fans know and love.
"At the time I came to bat, we only had a three-run lead, so it was still his game to lose," Ethier said when asked if he was surprised that Cardinals hurler, Shelby Miller, was still in the game when he came up to the plate.
Miller started off retiring eight straight, the first three on strikeouts, but it was the beginning of the end when he walked Kershaw in the third inning.
"It's tough when the other pitcher is going out there, knowing what he's capable of, and doing what he's doing," Miller said. "In your head, you know you got to do the same thing. It's just frustrating when you give up runs, give up those big innings and give up a lot of momentum with a guy like that."
With that win on Sunday, the Dodgers captured a share of first place in the National League West with the Giants. An incredible feat considering that the Dodgers were 9 1/2 games behind the Giants just 21 days ago. They have now won 12 of their last 16 games. This comeback in the standings is a reminder of last season when the Dodgers went 42-8 and climbed from last place to first in a month.