Dodgers 1 Marlins 4: Jose Fernandez is Good
The Dodgers dropped game one against the Marlins.
The Dodgers got their ace back, but dropped game one in Miami. It was closer to a rehab start than a competitive game, but they squandered a chance late and fell 4-1 to the Marlins.
In a lovely sight, Clayton Kershaw returned to a major league mound for the first time in two and a half months.
The Marlins would not take it easy on Kershaw, as the second batter he faced took him deep. Somehow, J.T. Realmuto has quietly been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball this year. His 10th homer of the season came on a hanging slider by Kershaw, which was one of his main problems in his last start in Pittsburgh.
Kershaw struck out the side in the second inning, but mixed in three hits before getting the three strikeouts. Jeff Francoeur doubled, and Chris Johnson promptly singled him in just over Chase Utley‘s glove. Another breaking ball left up in the zone, and Johnson knocked it sharply to center.
Kershaw threw his first scoreless inning in the third, headlined by two strikeouts. This gave him 150 strikeouts on the season, and he became the first pitcher ever (literally, in baseball history) to strike out 150 batters before walking 10.
Kershaw was pulled after the third inning. He was at 66 pitches, so while he wasn’t happy with it, it was the right choice. He finished with five hits and two runs allowed, while striking out five without walking a batter.
It was nice to see him back on the hill and if his back is intact tomorrow, it’s a win. He wasn’t the dominant Kershaw we’re used to seeing, but this is his second start since June (first in the majors). Just, please, let him be healthy.
While Kershaw dominated the headlines approaching the game, the bigger issue was how the Dodgers were going to score off Jose Fernandez.
It wasn’t for lack of opportunities, as the Dodgers had two runners on in the first two innings and runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings.
Fernandez allowed six baserunners in the first five innings. He walked three and gave up three hits, but he did a great job limiting the damage. 10 strikeouts in five innings will help the cause, as he had most Dodger batters chasing their tails all game. The exception was Josh Reddick, who singled and doubled in his first two plate appearances.
Fernandez is one of the best pitchers in the game, and he showed why today. He struck out the side in the seventh, giving him 14 in the game. Reddick was the only starter that didn’t strike out against him, and four Dodgers struck out two or more times (Yasmani Grandal and Andrew Toles 3x). At least this time, it’s one of the best pitchers in baseball doing this and not some no-name guy.
The offense didn’t fare much better when Fernandez was out of the game. Kyle Barraclaugh got the eighth and allowed a single to Corey Seager, but escaped with the shutout.
Fernando Rodney did not preserve the shutout in the ninth, as Grandal led off with a homer to cut the lead to 4-1. Reddick and Joc Pederson each hit singles, prompting Mattingly to go to A.J. Ramos. A sac fly put runners on the corners, but Ramos struck out Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley to end the game.
A long day of work for the bullpen with Kershaw essentially making a rehab start. Louis Coleman was the first man up in the fourth, and he tossed a perfect frame.
The wheels started falling off in the fifth, when Bud Norris allowed an infield single to Dee Gordon with one out. Norris walked Realmuto, and got a fly out before being pulled for J.P. Howell. Howell got smallballed to death. He threw over to first, which Gordon saw as an opportunity to take third. With runners on the corners, Yelich laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line, and everyone was safe.
Josh Fields came on after the bunt and walked Marcell Ozuna to load the bases. With the bases loaded, he hit Ichiro Suzuki on a two-strike pitch to bring in a fourth run. The ball deflected off Ichiro and hit the home plate umpire, knocking him out of the game. After a lengthy delay, Roberts pulled Fields for Luis Avilan. Mattingly countered with Giancarlo Stanton, who struck out to leave the bases loaded and end the inning.
The loss opens the door for the Giants to get back within four games in the West. They’re currently winning 1-0 in Arizona in the second inning.
Andre Ethier is expected to be activated for tomorrow’s game. With a series in the Bronx coming up, he could get a chance to DH in a nice lefty-hitting ballpark.