Clayton Kershaw pitched and labored through five innings with an injured left hip, but he managed to limit the Reds to a lone run. Adrian Gonzalez homered twice to emphatically break out of his slump, and he helped power the offense to a win. But perhaps the biggest surprise goes to Juan Uribe, who managed to … uh … get a hit.
Still, despite the team’s best efforts, their playoff chances actually dropped because both the Cardinals and the Brewers were victorious, thus keeping the Dodgers three games back of the final Wild Card spot with nine games to play. Their chances now sit in the 5-7 percent range, depending on what methodology you choose to employ.
Given Kershaw’s performance, I suppose one could look at as if pitching him was the right decision since the team ended up winning, but ten baserunners, including five walks over five innings against the B-lineup of the Reds, didn’t exactly strike me as normal, nor did it really change the fact that the Dodgers playoff hopes are still slim. Honestly, it was just fortunate that the sequencing of his struggles weren’t different, and that the results somehow managed to remain positive.
Simply put, the risk wasn’t worth the reward no matter what happened, because as even Orel Hershiser noted on the ESPN broadcast (Via Eric Stephen), Kershaw indeed struggled with his mechanics:
“We’re watching Clayton Kershaw throw a lot of balls to the right-handed batters box, or away to Votto, or inside to righties. That right hip, as it gets a little fatigued, his upper body is going to take over and it’s going to over-rotate over that hip and he’s going to start pulling pitches like he is. It’s just that little less bracing that makes the upper body go too far and…instead of that arm speed being braced against that front leg and having some direction, there is less bracing on that front side. The arm and the upper body take over, and you happen to pull the ball to your glove side. So if he’s not putting as much weight on it or using as much strength in that front leg for direction, his mechanics will make him start pulling the ball to his glove side.”
As I’ve said on this issue before, I just didn’t see the upside in starting him. This wasn’t a playoff game, it wasn’t a tiebreaker game, and, heck, it wasn’t even a particularly important regular season game.
In news that I enjoyed the most, A.J. Ellis snapped an 0-for-30 skid with a double in the ninth. The Dodgers dugout made light of his streak by asking for the ball.