The Nats gave L.A a bit of a scare as they kept it close into the late innings Wednesday threatening to give the Dodgers their first home loss of the year.
The wheels fell off. All of them. The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the sixth to the tune of seven runs, ultimately taking the lead for good and wining 10-3. With the win, the Dodgers set an MLB record for consecutive home victories to start the season.
Wednesday's damage came after Nationals starter Daniel Cabrera had been taken out of the game with the bases loaded. The ball was handed over to reliever Mike Hinckley who would not record an out.
Hinckley allowed a singled to Raphael Furcal, allowing Sweet Lou Loretta to score, and then walked the O-Dog, Orlando Hudson, to allow Casey Blake to score. Things got worse as new Nat Logan Kensing came on to face Many Ramirez with the bases loaded. A double, a walk, a single and a fielders choice later and the Nats were down 9-1 going into the seventh.
Back in my highschool baseball days our coaches always used to tell us to avoid the big inning, if you walk no one, and make no errors, then the big inning will happen less and less often...maybe Coach Grove needs to talk to the Nationals.
Clayton Kershaw emerged last spring as a 19-year-old top pitching prospect for the Dodgers. After striking out Sean Casey in March and the fall-out from this Yahoo Sports article, he became a perceived phenom and was anointed as having the ‘best curveball in baseball.'
However things haven't gone quite as outrageously successful as some may have had you believe in May of last year. Klayton Kershaw has not come into baseball like Dwight Gooden, he is not Sandy Kofax just yet, no Klayton Kershaw is pitching like a 21 year old with great stuff...he's just 21.
2008: 21 GS, 5-5, 107 IP, 100/52 K/BB, 4.26 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
2009: 6 GS, 1-2, 33 IP, 34 K/16BB, 4.91 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
The only reason we bring up Kershaw's success despite his hype is to remind Nationals fans of what to expect when we do in fact select Steven Strasburg with our first overall pick this summer. Yes Strasburg has college experience, and yes he is a bit older. However prospects don't come much bigger than Kershaw, and neither does stuff. The Nats gave Kershaw his first win of 2009, and he plays on a team that has 20 of them. Yes Nats fans, young pitchers, no matter how good, will struggle.
I guess we jinxed it yesterday. The Nats offense bit the big one last night as they mustered only 6 hits in 31 at bats. They stranded 14 and struck out nine times. In total, four Nationals batters when 0-for on the day. With the pitching staff of the Nationals, they simply wont win games with performances like these. You can blame it on the long trip, or on the change in weather, or whatever you want. The bottom line is the Nats didn't face a pitcher last night with an ERA below 4.8, and couldn't get the bat on the ball.
Bright spots: Guzman 3/5 with 2 runs, Flores hit his third homer of the year, Zimmerman extended his hit streak to 24.