The Box Score May Say Three Runs, But Kershaw Really Had a Shutout

In his first two games of the season, Clayton Keshaw was magnificent, pitching 16 shutout innings, allowing six hits and one walk, while striking out 16. That all ended when the Dodgers and Kershaw faced Arizona last night, or so it would seem. The box score says the Dodgers were shut out, and that Kershaw gave up three runs, all earned, in only 7-1/3 innings. But what did he really give up? Very close to nothing. He pitched well enough to have escaped unscathed, with his scoreless streak intact. But, alas, it was not meant to be.

The D’Backs scored in two innings in the game. They scored one run in the fourth, that should never had happened. This is what transpired: Gerardo Parra led off the inning with a single to shallow right, bringing up Martin Prado. With the hit and run on, and with a

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right handed batter up, 99.99% of the time the second baseman will break to cover second base. However, fill-in shortstop Justin Sellers saw that catcher A.J. Ellis called for a high, outside pitch, and Sellers figured that Prado would try to go to right with the pitch, so he took it upon himself to signal second baseman Mark Ellis that he, Sellers, would cover the bag. Well, the pitch never made it outside and high, but was over the plate, and Prado pulled it to short, to the exact spot vacated by Sellers, and the ball went through into left field, and Arizona had runners on first and third, with no outs. The next batter,

Paul Goldschmidt, grounded into a double play, with the run scoring, a run that Arizona should never have scored.

Then, in the eighth inning, in a 1-0 game, Kershaw was charged with two more runs, runs that were even harder to accept than that first one. After giving up a one-out single to center and then a bunt that went for a base hit, Kershaw walked Parra, and the empty uniform of a manager, in his infinite wisdom, eschewed the likes of Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, Matt Guerrier, Brandon League, and JP Howell, and brought in Shawn Tolleson to relieve, the same Shawn Tolleson who had arrived in Phoenix that day, taking the injured Zack Greinke’s roster spot. The result was not pretty, as Tolleson walked the two batters he faced, forcing in two runs, both charged to Kershaw. The eschewed JP Howell then came in to retire the next two batters.

So, with a little, teeny, tiny bit of luck, better baseball insight by a neophyte shortstop, and better bullpen management on the part of the empty uniform, and Kershaw’s scoreless streak could be intact, and who knows, the Dodgers and D’Backs might still be playing in a scoreless tie.

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