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Game 2 Loss Seemed Inevitable for the Dodgers
All signs pointed to the Dodgers losing Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.
After playing into the 13th inning last night, it was expected Andre Ethier wouldn't play in Game 2 with such a small turnaround. But the hopes of returning to Los Angeles took a hit when Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch from the lineup.
Ramirez was hit in the ribs by a pitch in the first inning in Game 1. Although he was able to play the complete game, reports were that he was unable to even swing the bat this afternoon. He was taken to a local hospital to get "precautionary" x-rays, whatever that means.
So that meant that Skip Schumaker started in centerfield and Nick Punto started in shortstop with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
The sense of inevitability was there. The Dodgers were 4-13 in the regular season when Schumaker started in centerfield, 15-18 with Punto at short and 19-14 with Kershaw on the mound.
Kershaw was ridiculous as he always is. Matt Carpenter took Kershaw's first pitch to right field for a triple, and groans could be heard all across the city. Those Doubting Thomases turned to giddy schoolgirls after Kershaw retired Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina to strand Carpenter on third.
The only run the Cardinals scored against Kershaw wasn't even his fault. David Freese led off the fifth inning with a double. During Matt Adams' at-bat, catcher A.J. Ellis couldn't handle a Kershaw fastball, a passed ball that went to the backstop sending Freese to third. It looked like Kershaw would get out of trouble yet again after he stuck out Adams. But Jon Jay hit a fly ball to left field score Freese.
The only real scoring threat the Dodgers had came in the sixth inning. Kershaw got things jumpstarted when he led off with a single off of Red Bird starter Michael Wacha. Carl Crawford hit a single to second baseman Carpenter who tried to get the force at second. Carpenter instead sent the ball to the left field wall, and there was Kershaw at third and Crawford at second.
Wacha got Mark Ellis to pop up to the infield, intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez and struck out Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe to keep the Dodgers scoreless.
Kershaw was lifted in the seventh inning for a pinch hitter. Kershaw's pitching line: 6 innings, 2 hits, no earned runs and five strikeouts on 72 pitches. That's right. 72 pitches.
So it was no surprise that the Dodgers lost 1-0, was it?