Every once in a while, just as you get your head in the clouds, the game of baseball yanks you back down to the ground with the speed of a Clayton Kershaw fastball. As great as Kershaw has been this season, tonight was a reminder that he is still just 21 years old, as he walked a career-high six batters in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers mounted a furious comeback in the ninth inning, turning a 6-2 deficit into a one-run deficit, even loading the bases with two outs for Manny Ramirez. However, Manny flew out to right field to end the game, extending his streak of plate appearances without an RBI to 48.
Kershaw looked fine through the first three innings, allowing only two walks while striking out four, but he completely lost his control in the fourth inning. After giving up his first hit, a popfly single into no man's land -- or no Manny's land -- in shallow left, Kershaw walked four straight batters. Kershaw did manage to get out of the inning by striking out pitcher Manny Parra and leadoff man Felipe Lopez, amazingly limiting the damage to only two runs.
Amazingly, Kershaw -- with six walks in four innings -- was allowed to start the fifth, a testament to the faith he has earned from Joe Torre, but still a risky move nonetheless. The first three batters singled off Kershaw to load the bases, and Kershaw was mercifully lifted from the game in favor of Jeff Weaver. Weaver induced a double play and a groundout, limiting the further damage to only one run, and at this point the score was only 3-1 Brewers.
Unable to mount much of an offensive attack against Manny Parra, the Dodgers looked to have no chance after Ryan Braun's three-run home run off Weaver in the sixth inning gave the Brewers a 6-1 lead. However, entering the ninth inning down 6-2, the Dodgers strung together five hits and a hit-by-pitch to pull within 6-5 before they finally succumbed to Brewers' closer Trevor Hoffman.
Brad Ausmus started tonight at catcher and, according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times, Ausmus and Russell Martin will alternate starts behind the plate this week to give Martin more rest.
James McDonald pitched the final two innings tonight, allowing only one base hit. Since switching to number 31 on Friday, giving up his number 52 to new teammate George Sherrill, McDonald has retired 12 of 13 batters.
Hiroki Kuroda will face Yovanni Gallardo Tuesday night.
WP - Manny Parra (6-8): 8 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (8-6): 4 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Trevor Hoffman (24): 1 IP, 3 hits, 1 run