Chavez Ravine got a pitching display Thursday, as Clayton Kershaw led the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-0 victory over Milwaukee to advance to the NL Division Series.
The game was a low-scoring affair through the first four innings, as both teams gave a valiant effort in their pitching. Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw gave a fantastic performance striking out 13 hitters over eight innings of work. Despite only pitching four frames, Brewers' starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff managed to strike out 9.
Going into Game 2, the headlines swirled around Kershaw as the series-clinching game against the Brewers was his first start in the 2020 postseason. Despite being statistically one of the greatest regular season pitchers in the modern era, Kershaw has been infamous in his playoff struggles only having a 9-11 record.
With only three hits allowed on Thursday night’s pitching duel, Kershaw has silenced his critics for one night.
“This was a fun night for me and we get to move on,” Kershaw said after the game. “With the expanded playoff it just now feels that the postseason is starting but nonetheless, we still had to do our job. We still had to get there. Now we get to get going.”
Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes drove Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor for the first score of the game on an RBI single. Right fielder Mookie Betts followed with a double to drive in two additional runs.
Both ball clubs struggled at the plate, as the Brewers recorded four hits and the Dodgers six. Taylor and Barnes each collected a pair of hits, with Barnes driving in a run.
“Austin [Barnes] did a great job staying relaxed seeing the baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Really took two good at-bats, and you know the game-winning hit.”
Former MVP winners Betts and Cody Bellinger each went 1-for-3 while shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner and first baseman Max Muncy went hitless. L.A. is coming into the 2020 postseason with a lot of pressure as they finished the shortened year with the best record in all of baseball. The Dodgers are being picked as heavy favorites by many to win the World Series.
With the reputation of playoff disappointments in recent years and the addition of Betts in the offseason, the pressure is more insurmountable than ever for Los Angeles to win its first World Series since 1988.
The Dodgers will play either St. Louis or San Diego.