The Angels and Dodgers renewed their Southern California rivalry in the two-game freeway series opener in Anaheim on Friday night.
Two ships were passing through the night, they were not.
The Dodgers are on their way to their ninth National League West title in 10 years, a frigate with bats and an arsenal of weapons that appear to be deep and powerful enough to run another World Series.
The Angels are like a leaky life raft that’s been mutilated for weeks, with their playoffs mostly expected to be torpedoed by a group of hitters who lead the major leagues in strikeouts – and often see, as That Tommy LaSorda once said about Kurt Bevacqua with an added omen, like they “fell off the boat” so they couldn’t hit the water.
Their offense was further weakened by the loss of an upper-back spasm from injured center fielder Mike Trout, Friday night as the All Angels battled Clayton Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young champ, arguably the greatest among the Dodgers. Pitcher. Voting History.
He didn’t have a chance. Kershaw not only rolled through the Anemic Angels, but he also came within six outs of a perfect game, settling for eight shutout innings in which he dropped a hit and scored in a 9–1 victory before a sold out crowd of 44,648. Scored six runs. Angel Stadium.
Kershaw retired the first 21 batsmen and needed just 71 pitches – 54 of them strikes – to complete seven innings, his efficiency eliminating any chances of manager Dave Roberts pulling off the left-hander. delivered, as did Kershaw after throwing seven perfect innings at the start of his season. Minnesota April 13.
Kershaw finished seventh after beating American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani with a looping, 74-mph curveball and Taylor Ward with an 86-mph slider, behind the first-base dugout for Dodgers fans. A large contingent was rising to his feet. Salute to the 34 year old pitcher.
But Luis Rengifo smashed a 2-and-1 slider into the left-field corner for a leadoff double in the eighth, ending Kershaw’s bid for baseball history—just 23 right games in the majors.
“You try not to think about it too much, but yeah, after the sixth inning, you feel the crowd get into it a little bit, and then once the seventh inning is over and you’re on their feet again. When you get to the top of the order, you feel like you might have got your chance,” Kershaw said. “It’s just a bummer. … I really wanted to do it. I think it would have been really fun for everyone involved.”
Kershaw wasn’t impressive, but he had excellent command of his three-pitch mix—a four-seam fastball that averaged 91.2 mph, an 87.2-mph and 73.4-mph curve—and he hit first- Throw pitch strikes to 18 out of 25. batsman
He improved to 7-2 with a 2.13 earned run average in 12 starts, boosting his chances of starting Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, leading the Dodgers to their 13th win in 15 games and the Angels. on his 11th defeat. In 13 games.
“I know he doesn’t like the word vintage, but it was vintage Clayton,” Roberts said. “It was fun to watch, it was fun to be a part of it. … He wasn’t fighting anything tonight with his delivery, his whole pitch mix. There was no tension. He was repeating his delivery. He was efficient. We pretended. are.
“So you knew he was about to give himself a chance; It was just a matter of, can we get a little lucky? But Rengifo swings it well and breaks the perfect game.”
Kershaw, who is 9-2 with a 2.13 ERA in his 16 debut against the Angels, got three brilliant defensive plays to keep his pursuit of perfection intact. Angels leadoff man Michael Stefanik opened the fourth with a helicopter that appeared to be turning to the left before Justin Turner intervened. The third baseman made a lunged, back-hand grab and, with one knee, threw a one-hopper, which was scooped out by Freddie Freeman.
With two outs in fifth, Jared Walsh ripped a 103.2-mph line drive into shallow right field, where fully positioned Dodgers second baseman Hanser Alberto made a lunging, back-hand grab. Stephanic led to seventh with a tough one-hopper in the middle that Tree Turner made a sliding catch. The Dodgers shortstop got up and fired with precision for out.
“To be honest, I probably should have dropped four or five hits before they hit the eighth,” Kershaw said. “The defense played unbelievable tonight.”
Kershaw’s lineup gave him plenty of room to breathe. Dodgers scored twice before Angels starter Patrick Sandoval, Freeman hit an RBI single – his 14th hit in 17 at-bats dating back to Sunday – and Justin Turner’s RBI groundout.
Sandoval escaped two-on jams in the second and third, but his defense reduced him to the fifth of two runs. A mistake from third baseman Jonathan Willer turned two, and right fielder who spun on Adele Alberto’s catchable drive into the wall, the ball slipped through his glove for a two-run triple and a 4–0 Dodgers lead.
The Dodgers opened the game with a sixth of four runs, Freeman hit a sacrificial fly, Smith roped the RBI double to left – the third of his four hits – and Justin Turner made it 8-0. A two-run single in the center. ,
“There were a lot of great batsmen,” said Roberts. “One to nine, we were relentless.”
Just like the man on the mound.
“That’s like a train, man,” Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said of Kershaw. “He’s just going after the hitters.”
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.