LOS ANGELES – No reason to worry about Clayton Kershaw.
The collective gasp that took place at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night turned out to be a false alarm. Kershaw was hit above his left ankle by a line drive and went down for a moment, but he’s OK.
The Dodgers’ offense is not. On a night when Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff, the Dodgers were beaten by the Chicago Cubs 3-2. Since their 10-game win streak ended on Aug. 18, they’ve gone 5-5 and have been held to two runs or fewer six times.
In Kershaw’s eight losses this season, the Dodgers have scored just 12 runs.
“I feel like it’s nothing more than a little bit of a lull,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Some of the guys are tired. We’ll be fine.”
Mattingly cited the unusual start times his team has had to endure the past week. Their recent road trip ended with a 9:40 a.m. West Coast start in Miami, and last weekend they started games at 7 p.m., 1 and 5 against the Boston Red Sox. Tuesday night’s game against the Cubs will be followed by a 12:10 game on Wednesday.
Kershaw pitched into the sixth inning against the Cubs, but after giving up a run-scoring single to Starlin Castro that gave Chicago a 2-0 lead, he came out after throwing 107 pitches.
He lasted 5 2/3 innings, his shortest start since working five innings against the New York Mets on April 23.
“It was just a battle,” Kershaw (13-8) said. “I didn’t have great stuff tonight. You’re going to have days like that. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t go deeper into the game for our guys, but I tried to limit the damage.”
The inning began when Cody Ransom lined a ball off Kershaw’s ankle for a base hit. Kershaw went down on all fours and Mattingly came out to the mound to check on him. He stayed in, but there was clearly some concern for the team’s top starter.
“He was fine,” Mattingly said. “He was just mad — probably mad about getting hit and mad that everybody was out there making a fuss over him.”
Kershaw appeared to be fine after the game. The reason he fell to the ground?
“I think I was just trying to catch the ball,” he said. “It wasn’t painful or anything.”
Even with a less-than-stellar outing, Kershaw’s ERA remained at 1.72, in part because of an unearned run in the third inning that resulted from a catcher’s interference call on A.J. Ellis.
The Dodgers still had the go-ahead run on base in the eighth and the winning run at the plate in the ninth, but the game ended when Yasiel Puig popped up with Carl Crawford at first.
As it was, the Dodgers’ best moment came when the attendance was announced: 52,326, making them the first team in the majors to reach 3 million tickets sold this season.
Players tipped their caps and clapped from the dugout in acknowledgement.
There was no victory for fans to celebrate, but knowing Kershaw was unhurt turned out to be the best news of the day.