On a night where the starting infield for the Dodgers consisted of James Loney, Elian Herrera, Justin Sellers, & Adam Kennedy – and think about that for a second, because that’s a foursome which on paper shouldn’t even rank among the more imposing groups in the Pacific Coast League, much less the National League – it helps to know that you’ve still got Clayton Kershaw on your side, right?
Kershaw, pitching in front of a roster that features basically as many Isotopes as Dodgers at this point, took matter into his own hands by allowing just two Cardinals to even reach second in pitching his third career shutout and sixth career complete game. Of the six CG’s, five have come in the last calendar year; it’s the third time he’s gone the distance without allowing a walk. I’d like to go on about his greatness tonight, but Kershaw was so effective, throwing strikes more on more than 70% of his career-high 117 pitches, that it makes any story relatively short – the Cardinals never seriously threatened or even were able to put more than one runner on in any inning. The Dodger ace now has 22 consecutive scoreless innings, pushing his ERA down to a miniscule 1.90.
Kershaw contributed at the plate as well, doubling in the seventh inning – okay, Matt Holliday contributed to that somewhat – and scoring on a Tony Gwynn single, but he wasn’t alone in abusing the Cardinal pitching staff. A.J. Ellis looked very much the part of an All-Star in smashing two of the five Dodger doubles, and Justin Sellers made a bid for more playing time during Dee Gordon‘s hiatus with his first homer of the year, a blast to left off a hanging Jake Westbrook curveball.
The Dodgers, believe it or not, go for the sweep of the first-place Cardinals on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball behind Chad Billingsley tomorrow night. I have absolutely no idea how they’re getting it done with this patchwork lineup, but here they are at a big-league best 27-13. You can laugh at the Padres, Astros, & Pirates, but the Cardinals are supposed to be the real deal. Maybe it’s time to stop saying that it’s all because of inferior competition, no?