Friday, May 3, 2013
Welcome back, Clayton ... good luck
By Mark Saxon
Not much changed while Clayton Kershaw was away. The Los Angeles Dodgers still can't come up with a clutch hit, and injuries keep coming at them in bunches.
The Dodgers left 13 runners on base before San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey ended a tight pitcher's duel with a home run off Ronald Belisario in the ninth inning to send the Dodgers off with a 2-1 loss at AT&T Park on Friday night.
Kershaw pitched seven strong innings, giving up only three hits, but he couldn't pick up his fourth win despite a miniscule 1.66 ERA. The Dodgers simply don't score when he's pitching, but, then again, they don't score much when anyone's pitching. Kershaw had to pitch an eight-inning shutout in his previous start on Sunday to get a win. He was on the bereavement list from Monday until Friday following the death of his father.
There was more bad news for the Dodgers on Friday. Hanley Ramirez left the game in the sixth inning with what appeared to be a serious injury to his left hamstring. Ramirez was trying to run from first base to third on A.J. Ellis' single. He was thrown out sliding and then got up limping and clutching his left hamstring before he was helped off the field.
Ramirez had spent the first month of the season on the disabled list and had come off it just four days earlier. The last time he played in San Francisco, he tore a thumb ligament diving for a ball in the final game of the World Baseball Classic.
The Dodgers later confirmed it was a hamstring injury for Ramirez, but his status remains day-to-day.
Before the game even started, the Dodgers had to scratch Adrian Gonzalez, the team's leading hitter, because of a sore neck. They also put veteran left-hander Ted Lilly on the DL for the second time this season. The Dodgers have used the DL 10 times in the first five weeks.
"Troubles, troubles and more troubles for the Dodgers," Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said on the television broadcast.
The Dodgers came up with 11 hits and seven walks and somehow managed to squeeze only one run out of that.
The tenuousness of such low-scoring games, from a pitcher's perspective, came up in the fifth inning. Brandon Belt belted a 92 mph Kershaw fastball to right field. It looked like a surefire extra-base hit and, with a runner on first, perhaps a two-run home run to give the Giants a lead. But Andre Ethier tracked it down about 10 feet short of the 421-foot sign in right center.
That tenuousness came up again when Posey tied the score in the sixth by pounding a pitch to the same area for a double to drive in Marco Scutaro for the tying run. The Giants looked as if they would go ahead, but Matt Kemp made a nearly perfect, one-hop throw from center field to throw out Posey at home.