The Dodgers took the series against the Brewers on Sunday with a 7-4 victory. Clayton Kershaw picked up his seventh win of the season despite some familiar control problems The victory leaves the Dodgers with a 56-32 record at the All-Star Break, much better than I think any of us had hoped for. The Dodgers easily have the best record in the National League, with their closest competitors being the Giants who are seven games back in the standings. Manager Joe Torre said after the game:
"It was a great game for [Kershaw] and, of course, for us," Torre said. "The one thing you concern yourself with is when you're heading toward the All-Star break, [sometimes the players] take it before it gets here. This ballclub didn't do that."
The Dodger offense hammered Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo, who lasted only 5 innings and alowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks. Orlando Hudson was the most notable player of the game, homering from both sides of the plate for only the second time of his career. HIs two bombs helped propel the Dodgers offense, but unlikely hero Brad Ausmus added a home run as well, his first of the season. The Dodgers hit a total of ten homeruns in the three game series after averaging much less than a home run per game for the rest of the season (66 homers in 85 games).
Manny Ramirez didn't hit any home runs but was as valuable as anyone else today. He went 3-3 with a walk, 2 doubles, and 2 runs scored. James Loney also added to the offensive attack, going 2-4 with a walk and 2 RBI's.
Clayton Kershaw was nearly unhittable, allowing only 2 hits all game. However, he only pitched 6 innings because he was once again very innefficient, issuing 5 walks to go along with his 4 strikeouts. Kershaw later said:
"That first inning I felt pretty good, I was just missing some spots by a little bit. The first inning is just always my rough inning. If I'm able to get out of that unscathed, I can kind of settle in after that. I threw too many pitches, obviously, but that's another story."
He still only allowed one run though, and the run wasn't scored until Hiroki Kuroda came into the game.
That's right, Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda came in as a reliever for the first time in his MLB career because the All-Star game will allow him to get extra rest before his next start. Torre wanted to get Kuroda some work and give the tired bullpen some extra rest. Kuroda wasn't very effective though, allowing 3 runs in only 1.1 innings. Perhaps he wasn't so comfortable coming out of the bullpen. James McDonald came into the game when Kuroda struggled and got two quick outs to send the game to the 9th inning. In the 9th Ramon Troncoso came in and got his fifth save of the season, allowing two hits but no runs.
Here's the win probability chart for the game:
Now it's time for the All-Star Break! The Home Run Derby begins tommorow at 5 PM. The competitors will be Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Joe Mauer, Ryan Howard, Brandon Inge, Nelson Cruz, and Carlos Pena.
WP - Clayton Kershaw (7-5): 6 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Yovanni Gallardo (8-7): 5 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
SV - Ramon Roncoso (2): 1 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 strikeout