If the Dodgers are going to win these days, this how they’re going to do it – directly on the backs of their stars. Clayton Kershaw was effective, though not dominating, in allowing the Mets just one run through 6.2, striking out eight while allowing nine baserunners. He also took it directly upon himself to get that run back in the third inning, reaching base on a hit-by-pitch to lead off and aggressively taking second on a Ronny Paulino passed ball. He took third and then home on grounders by Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles, and Kershaw had evened his ledger for the day.
The other big hit, of course, was Andre Ethier‘s seventh-inning blast to right off of R.A. Dickey, scoring Carroll and putting the Dodgers ahead 4-1. Kershaw & Ethier combined to contribute directly to three of the runs, with a Rod Barajas fielder’s choice accounting for the fourth. It was one of two Ethier hits on the day, which when combined with Carroll’s three accounted for half of the ten Dodger hits. Carroll, by the way, is now hitting .311/.374/.378, and in this lineup, that qualifies him as a “star”.
Otherwise, the Dodgers didn’t see a lot from the middle and bottom of their roster. Jerry Sands reached in each of his first three plate appearances, which is nice, and Miles had two hits, though he’s going to have to at least get that OBP up to .300 before he sees a lot of credit from me. Juan Uribe ran his strikeout streak to five in the midst of another 0-4, a mark which Barajas equaled, and James Loney‘s last extra base hit came over a month ago. Matt Kemp also went 0-3, and is now hitting .236 with a .318 OBP over his last 19 games.
The bullpen wasn’t immune, either. Kenley Jansen allowed a walk to load the bases in relief of Kershaw in the 7th, and after a solid 8th from Matt Guerrier, Vicente Padilla barely averted disaster in the 9th by getting the save despite getting tagged for a hard single and a Jose Reyes triple. (Cue the “only Jonathan Broxton has issues in the 9th inning” remarks here.)
Anyway, the win avoided the sweep and pulled the club back up to three games under .500 as they head off to Pittsburgh, where they’ll see old friend Xavier Paul (but not James McDonald, who was excellent today in striking out eight over six scoreless innings, his third straight solid outing after a rough start to his season).