Dodgers Report: Davey Johnson

Clayton Kershaw can carry the load

May, 14, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier wasn't even sure he'd get to hit.

[+] EnlargeKershaw
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesClayton Kershaw said Don Mattingly made the right call in removing him with two outs in the ninth after he had just thrown his 132nd pitch.
After a wild pitch, the Dodgers had runners on second and third and two outs in the third inning, the moment more pivotal than most third-inning moments because of who the Dodgers had on the mound.

Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson presumably had the same numbers in front of him that had been handed out in the press box hours earlier. Ethier came into the game batting .426 off the pitcher in the game, Dan Haren.

The Nationals quite easily could have taken their chances with catcher A.J. Ellis, but -- for whatever reason -- Johnson and Haren decided to go after Ethier. It wasn't a bad pitch, a splitter away, but Haren left it up a bit and Ethier was able to make solid enough contact to knock it up the middle, despite a backhand swipe by Haren.

Such a small thing, really just a trifle. The decision, maybe not a great one. The execution, maybe just a tick off. And, voila, the Dodgers got something rare, a clutch hit, and something else rare, a win over a quality team, 2-0 on Tuesday night.

That's the beauty of having a pitcher as good as Clayton Kershaw. When he is rolling as he was Tuesday night, he slows down the game for everybody around him. Not in the way Josh Beckett slows down the game, in a literal sense, but in the way Kershaw does. It's a simpler day of work, the requisite task more well-defined.

In other words, get him a run -- maybe two -- and you can kind of feel you've done your job.

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Clayton Kershaw
21 1.77 239 198
BAY. Puig .296
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239