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Leading Off: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers earn bye into NLDS

LA clinches at least a top-2 seed in the NL

Dodgers defeat Diamondbacks 5-2 Photo by David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Today on the Leading Off with True Blue LA podcast, the Dodgers won their 102nd game of the season and Clayton Kershaw earned his 102nd career win at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. In doing so, Los Angeles clinched a bye past the wild card round and into the NLDS.

Kershaw looked great on Monday, striking out 10 in his six innings, and has allowed only four runs in four starts since returning from his second stint on the injured list this season.

The Dodgers got home runs from a pair of struggling players, with Chris Taylor hitting a three-run shot and Joey Gallo hitting a titanic blast well up the right field pavilion that awestruck Joe Davis on the call.

Craig Kimbrel lost command again with two hit batters to load the bases with nobody out, and two rockets hit off him. But the second of those rockets was gloved by Gavin Lux starting the rare 4-6-5-6 double play to diffuse the situation and save Kimbrel’s bacon.

Before the Dodgers’ game on Monday, another MLB performance caught my eye. Old friend Max Scherzer pitched six perfect innings for the Mets in Milwaukee, but was pulled after those six frames because it was his first game back from his second injured list stint of the season.

That was eerily reminiscent of April 13 in Minnesota when Kershaw, like Scherzer a first-round draft pick in 2006, and a three-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer, was pulled after seven perfect innings in his first start of the season, having not been fully built up after a relatively dormant offseason. But upon further review, given that Scherzer’s game was in September, with the postseason looming, this felt more like Rich Hill’s seven perfect innings in Miami in 2016 after dealing with blisters for two months.

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