Quick take: Padres 7, Dodgers 2
April, 17, 2013
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- In a surprise to many, Clayton Kershaw got hit around by the San Diego Padres. In a surprise to few, the Los Angeles Dodgers couldn't come up with clutch hits.
The convergence produced an embarrassing three-game sweep, at home, to a team that entered this series with a 2-10 record. San Diego outscored the Dodgers 22-7 in the three games.
Kershaw, who had been machine-like in his first three starts, gave up solo home runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings in Wednesday's 7-2 loss, the Dodgers' fifth in the past six games.
Matt Kemp continues to strand runners at an alarming rate, even when he's not in the original lineup. Pinch-hitting in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, Kemp struck out against reliever Dale Thayer.
On a 3-and-0 count, Thayer threw Kemp a fastball that appeared to be a tad low and outside. Kemp flipped his bat and began walking toward first base, but plate umpire Jeff Kellogg called a late strike. Thayer hit virtually the same spot two more times, with Kemp waving feebly at strike three.
Kemp, who had a ninth-inning sacrifice fly, is batting .182 through 15 games.
Kershaw picked up his 1,000th career strikeout when Yonder Alonso swung through a 93 mph fastball in the second inning. That made Kershaw, 25, the second-youngest Dodgers pitcher to reach the milestone after Fernando Valenzuela.
Kershaw buzzed through the first three innings, but things started falling apart right around the time Nick Punto dropped a foul popup for an error in the fourth. Kershaw had already allowed a leadoff home run to shortstop Everth Cabrera. He walked Chase Headley and Alonso. After Punto started a double play from his knees with a nice diving play, Kershaw allowed an RBI single to Kyle Blanks, who later hit his first home run of the season.
The more vexing concern for the Dodgers is an offense that seems to sputter in similar ways night after night. If Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez aren't doing it, it doesn't get done. Crawford led off the third inning with a single and stole second, eventually scoring on Gonzalez's sacrifice fly.
That was about the extent of the Dodgers' output. They loaded the bases with two outs against San Diego starter Tyson Ross, but Skip Schumaker tapped one back to reliever Brad Brach to end the inning.
The only team with a worse OPS with runners in scoring position than the Dodgers' is the Angels (and it's close). The Dodgers are averaging 2.67 runs per game. In nine home games, the Dodgers have hit three home runs.