Clayton Kershaw was one of the few Dodgers able to see second base tonight, so he took the opportunity to study the foreign object.
The 13-inning win in Washington DC on Saturday was such a high point of the early season, as the bullpen seemed to be righting itself, and the Dodgers gutted out a tough win on the road. Unfortunately for them, they have played five games, and 45 innings since that win on Saturday, and the Dodgers haven't had a lead once. Their fifth straight loss came tonight at the hands of the Pirates, who won the opener of the four-game series 2-0.
For Matt Kemp, suddenly in the middle of controversy thanks to comments about his sub-par defense and baserunning by Ned Colletti over the last few days, had just about the worst first inning possible given the circumstances. In the first inning, Kemp misplayed a two-out RBI single into a two-run triple, although the official scorer really should have charged Kemp with an error. Then, in the bottom of the first, Kemp got twisted at the plate on a check swing, and didn't realize he the ball rolled off his bat toward the pitcher, and he was late running to first. It was the type of play that didn't really matter, but one that people with an agenda might harp on. At any rate, it was not Kemp's finest hour.
Clayton Kershaw pitched well, especially after giving up two runs (one of which should have been unearned) in the first inning. Kershaw pitched into the seventh inning, and allowed only two runs, but he was lifted after his 117th pitch, a walk to the relief pitcher Jack Taschner (in his sixth career plate appearance). Kershaw has walked four pitchers this season, two more than anyone else in baseball.
Brian Burres endured 10 three-ball counts to pitch 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and was followed by 2 2/3 scoreless innings by Taschner, tied for the longest scoreless outing of his career. Burres got the win despite throwing more balls (47) than strikes (46), becoming the first starter in baseball this year to get the win with more balls than strikes.
The Dodger offense has scored 13 runs in their last seven games, including three shutouts. Since the beginning of the series with the Nationals, the Dodgers have six singles in 49 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and are hitting .122/.241/.122 in those situations. Taschner and new closer Evan Meek retired the final 11 Dodger batters of the game.
The one highlight tonight was the Prime Ticket trivia question: which pitcher gave up the first home run ever hit out of Dodger Stadium? The answer was Alan Foster, which allowed Vin Scully to explain why Jerry Doggett announced that home run instead of him: "Where was I?" Scully asked, "in the men's room."
WP - Brian Burres (1-1): 5 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 47 balls, 46 strikes
LP - Clayton Kershaw (1-1): 6 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Evan Meek (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout (1st career save)