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Dodgers Squander Another Kershaw Gem with No Offense

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We still can't bury the Dodgers yet. This despite the Dodgers going to San Francisco this past weekend trailing the Giants by 4 1/2 games and coming out of it five games back. This despite the Dodgers losing a 1-0 game to the D-backs.

Unless San Francisco collectively has a grand mal seizure and can't lift their bats, with their easy schedule for the rest of the season they should be able to win the division handily despite a final three-game series at Dodger Stadium to end the season. And with their 9-8 win in Colorado, their division lead plumped up to six games.

As much as every writer and fan in town would like to bury the Dodgers, we can't. They still sit one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card spot heading into Tuesday. Granted the wild card game is more of a glorified Game 163, it's still an opportunity to play for it all.

So the Dodgers went to Phoenix with Clayton Kershaw on the mound after being scratched from his Sunday start with a hip problem. He shrugged off all the questions and doubts with his performance in the so-call Great Indoors.

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Through six innings Kershaw matched Ian Kennedy inning-for-inning allowing no runs to cross the plate. Only two hits and three walks marred his night, notably a third inning where he walked the bases loaded before getting Jason Kubel to ground to second.

But Kershaw blinked first. In the seventh inning, an error by Hanley Ramirez allowed Paul Goldschmidt to get to first base safely to lead off the bottom of the inning. After Justin Upton flew out to left field, Miguel Montero hit a double to right-center field that scored Goldschmidt for the game's first score.

Arizona was poised to add to the total after a passed ball by catcher A.J. Ellis sent Montero to third base. Chris Johnson hit a fly ball to center field and Montero tagged up once the ball got in Matt Kemp's glove. No one told Kemp that the D-backs were going to break the game open, his throw getting to the play just in time to double up Montero and end the inning.

So Kershaw left the game with no earned runs and was on the losing end of it.

The best chance the Dodgers had came in the top of the fifth inning when Andre Ethier hit a two-out double to centerfield. Luis Cruz hit a blast towards the left field seats, but at that moment Jason Kubel decided to become Mike Trout: Kubel leapt at the wall to rob Cruz of a sure two-run homer.

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But this is the Dodgers after all. Earlier in that fifth inning Hanley Ramirez had a 13-pitch at-bat end with a whimper of a ground ball to the shortstop.

The Dodgers are frustrating.

Of course this sounds exactly like I wrote about the Kings for months. The Kings lost the final home-and-home series against the San Jose Sharks to fall to the eight-seed in the Western Conference. But once the puck dropped in Vancouver for that first game in the playoffs, they steamrolled through the competition to win the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup.

Despite the 1-0 loss (another reminder of the Kings) the Cardinals fell 6-4 in San Diego with the lead for the final wild card spot still at one game. Inexplicably the Dodgers still have a pulse.