Things aren’t over for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, but their series against the Washington Nationals, now tied at 1-1 thanks to a 4-1 win with another MVP-like performance from Clayton Kershaw, can also determine who finishes with the best record in the National League.
Right now the Nats have a small edge, but the Dodgers got another incredible performance from Kershaw, playing eight innings and striking out eight batters while allowing just three hits, walking two and allowing one run, a 7th inning home run to Bryce Harper. Kershaw won his 17th game of the season (17-3) and his ERA improved to 1.70, which is why he’s not being talked about as a Cy Young winner but an MVP winner, which rarely happens for pitchers.
Kershaw also reached 200 strikeouts for the fifth time in his seven-year career. Only two pitchers, Bert Blyleven and Tom Seaver, have six season of 200+ k’s through their first seven years of their baseball careers. The Nationals had 14 home runs in their previous four games, including four as they beat the Dodgers 6-4 to open the series, but playing against Kershaw is unlike anything else in the majors right now.
He spoils us, that’s for sure. He’s just so valuable for us. It’s unbelievable how he just hits his spots. It’s like a video game, to be honest. It’s a joke. He was impressive all the way around tonight. Getting our offense going, going hard first to third on the basepaths, it just shows what a competitor he is.
Doug Fister didn’t allow the Dodgers to run all over him, but he did give up 10 hits in five innings, including an infield single by Adrian Gonzalez that turned into a double-RBI hit and a two-run homer by Juan Uribe. The Dodgers finished with 11-for-33 at the plate including multiple hit games for Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis. Yasiel Puig got a night off, replaced by rookie Joc Pederson, getting in a hit on three plate appearances.
The Dodgers won’t have the pitcher advantage as they close out the three game series. It’ll be a first start for Carlos Frias, a 24-year old who hasn’t done so well with the little pitching time he has been given so far, putting in a 5.65 ERA. He had a 5.01 ERA in AAA baseball. The Dodgers hold a two game lead over the Giants in the division, but have two more losses than the Nationals in the race for the top of the league.