The Los Angeles Dodgers did something Sunday night on national television rarely seen—they absolutely dominated their competition.
Of course I mean that mostly tongue in cheek, but it does seem that the Dodgers rarely do well on the national stage. But over the weekend, they won both nationally televised games. Saturday they beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2, but on Sunday it was all Dodgers, led by a magnificent performance by Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw has been wobbly this season, including not making it out of the first inning the first time he faced the Cubs. But not on Sunday, Kershaw went eight full innings, allowing only one earned run on a Javier Báez home run, while striking out a season-high 13 batters.
Perhaps that first loss to the Cubs and getting no-hit by them on Thursday added some motivation for Kershaw and the Dodgers. They won three of four in the series, gaining a game in the division in the process.
One of the other shining stars of the weekend was Phil Bickford. He pitched 3.2 innings against the Cubs, allowing no hits, no walks, and striking out five. Most amazing of all, he had a three pitch inning on Saturday.
Joining Bickford in the dominant reliever category was Joe “Joseph” Kelly. Finally healthy and firing on all cylinders, pun intended, Kelly now refers to himself as Joseph on the mound. A triple-digit throwing menace that lives on the edges of the strike zone and has again become a dominant end of the bullpen guy. Joseph Kelly is who the Dodgers envisioned when they signed him, and it seems that he has finally showed up.
There still is no timeline for when Corey Seager will return to the Dodgers lineup. Seager has been with the team in Los Angeles, under the watchful eyes of trainers and coaches. The shortstop is known for trying to push himself too far when it comes to rehabbing injuries, and the Dodgers do not want to take that chance with their World Series MVP. Seager has been running the bases and doing fielding drills, but his batting is not yet at 100 percent.
“We’re just being very mindful of not having any setbacks because until it is completely healed, we’ve learned that you could have a setback,” manager Dave Roberts said this week. “So I think for us, where we’re at in the season, we have time to make sure that he is 100 percent ready.”
The Dodgers now see if their momentum will carry into their two-game series against the NL West leading San Francisco Giants starting Monday evening. Los Angeles will have a chance to gain two games on their rivals if they can get a sweep.
The Dodgers will send Trevor Bauer to the mound on Monday. The Giants will counter with righty Anthony Desclafani, The last time the Dodgers faced the right hander, they tagged him for 10 runs. Overall, DeSclafani is 8-2 with a 2.77 ERA.
Tuesday’s probables will be Walker Buehler and right-hander Kevin Gausman. Gausman is 8-1 on the year with a 1.77 ERA. Both games start at 7:10 PST.