Dodgers 2 Giants 1: Look At Me Now
The Dodgers got a huge walkoff win in game one against the Giants.
The Dodgers offense was awful, but the Giants bullpen is somehow even worse.
I probably need to adjust my expectations for Clayton Kershaw. I felt like he was pitching horribly and I was very concerned about his health. Then I looked at his final line: Six innings pitched, three hits, one run, one walk, seven strikeouts.
Kershaw’s fastball was working well tonight, but his slider and curveball weren’t very sharp. His velocity was normal, but he seemed to be missing spots more than usual. Yet, he turned in a performance that most teams would take in a heartbeat.
The one run allowed was also the most Giantsy run ever. Eduardo Nunez came up with two outs in the third, and hit a little nubber that just got past Kershaw for an infield single. Nunez stole second, and Yasmani Grandal‘s throw sailed into center to move him to third. Kershaw got Angel Pagan to ground out, but not before throwing a wild pitch to allow Nunez to score.
Kershaw finished off his outing strong, retiring the final seven batters he faced. Five of those seven outs came via the strikeout, so he found his groove and started looking more like Kershaw. He was pinch hit for in the sixth after 88 pitches.
The main issue today was the offense. They’ve struggled against lefties, but have had Madison Bumgarner‘s number all season. MadBum got his revenge today, absolutely dominating the Dodger bats.
The Dodgers did threaten in the second, when Yasiel Puig broke up MadBum’s perfect game with a double to center. Bumgarner hit Grandal to put two on with two outs, but Chase Utley struck out on a very questionable full count call. The walk would have loaded the bases for Kershaw, so it’s not like that call robbed them of a run. It did save him a few pitches and set a really ugly tone.
The Dodgers’ next baserunner came on another HBP. Rob Segedin pinch hit for Kershaw and was hit in the leg in the sixth. However, Bumgarner got a lineout and a pair of strikeouts to leave Segedin at first.
The seventh inning ended with some fireworks, as Bumgarner got Puig to ground out. MadBum fielded and fired to first, and then did that whole thing where he can let his emotions out but the other team can’t.
Vin Scully Lip Reading: Giants Vs. Dodgers pic.twitter.com/IUt6hHJSpb
— Vin Scully (@VinScullyTweet) September 20, 2016
Bumgarner is one of the most talented pitchers in the game, but he just makes himself so easy to hate.
The best part of that kerfuffle was that Bumgarner was taken out of the game. He was dominating, so getting him out gave the Dodgers a glimmer of hope.
Law stayed in to start the ninth, and Andrew Toles led off with a single. Javier Lopez replaced Law, and gave up a single to Corey Seager. For some reason, the Giants brought in a righty to face Justin Turner. Normally, smart move. This season, Turner has a .296/.347/.565 line against righties, .197/.298/.333 against lefties. Turner singled in Toles, and Adrian Gonzalez followed it up with a two-run double to walk it off.
Pedro Baez was the first reliever out of the pen and he got two quick outs. He’s seemingly been working faster of late and hasn’t allowed a run since returning from the minors, so if he’s fixed the bullpen gets that much stronger.
Grant Dayton finished off Baez’s inning by getting Brandon Crawford to ground out. He remained in for the seventh and retired the side, needing 13 pitches to get four outs. Dayton seems like a huge piece of the bullpen moving forward and has been incredible in his short career.
Joe Blanton took the eighth and needed eight pitches to retire the Giants in order. Enrique Hernandez made a nice sliding catch in center to keep the Giants off the bases. Blanton looked overworked last week, but if the Dodgers are going to do anything in October, he’s going to be a big part of it.
For all the complaining about the Dodger bullpen heading into the season, the Giants just blew their 30th save opportunity. 30!
This win put the Dodgers six up in the division and shrinks the magic number down to seven.