It’s pretty crowded and loaded in the starting rotation of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but one name stands out: Clayton Kershaw, who made quite the return to action, pitching for seven scoreless innings before paving the way for relief as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 8-3.
Having Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryun, Dan Haren, and Josh Beckett is impressive enough but Kershaw, who hasn’t played since the Dodgers’ early opening day in Australia, seems to be a cut above the rest at the moment, and it’s not just because next season his mega-contract will kick in to make him the highest paid player in baseball, a spot currently occupied by his teammate Greinke.
Kershaw wasn’t perfect or unhittable. In the seven innings he played, he struck out nine batters, but he also gave up nine hits. Anthony Rendon and Jayson Wreth were a problem for Kershaw all game long with seven hits between them, but each time they got on base it seemed to make Kershaw more focused, more dangerous. He actually picked off Rendon at first base, showing once again that while he an impressive hurler, he cares about the little things as well.
It took only three innings for the Dodgers to show their support of Kershaw after no one scored through the first five innings of the game. A Hanley Ramirez actually got Kershaw on the scoreboard with a run, and Andre Ethier grounded out to make it 2-0. Uribe and Crawford added RBIs as the Dodgers created separation. By the time Hanley Ramirez hit a home run followed by a three-run homer from Drew Buetra, there wasn’t much left for the Nationals to do.
Blake Treinen was having a good day until everything blew up in his face during that sixth inning, eventually walking out with the loss and giving up three runs. Those that followed didn’t do much better, as most of the statistical punishment fell on the shoulders of Ross Detwiler, who gave up the two home runs in the 8th which resulted in four players reaching home plate for the Dodgers.
We did get to see some fireworks from Nationals bats at the end as Werth and Jose Lobaton finally managed to make their hits count for something, but as the Dodgers rebounded well from getting shut out in the first game of the series, only one name seemed to be on everyone’s lips and minds, as the return of Clayton Kershaw to the mound after such a long time gives the Dodgers an extra boost in their potential run at a World Series.