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LAst Night's Action: Clayton Kershaw Wins 21st and Triple Crown Lead, Kemp Still Chasing Triple Crown
Before we get into exciting preseason meaningless hockey, here's this:
LA Dodgers defeat San Diego Padres 6-2. Clayton Kershaw completed his Cy Young season with a 21-5 record, 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts with his 7 1/3 inning effort in San Diego having at least a share of the lead in each of the triple crown categories.
Meanwhile Matt Kemp went 1-for-5 with an RBI double which lowered his batting average to .324, third in the National League. He is still tied with Albert Pujols with 37 homers and leads the league with 120 RBI.
Oakland Athletics defeat LA Angels 6-5. No fan of the Angels is allowed to laugh at Boston for their choke job this month. The bullpen choked the game away for the Halos, representative of what fans in Anaheim have been enduring all season long.
Joel Pineiro pitched one of his best games of the season going 6 1/3 innings without giving up a run striking out four on three hits. Once it got to the bullpen, Bobby Cassevah and Scott Downs allowed a run each in the eighth inning.
Then there’s closer Jordan Walden with the 5-2 lead. While on the box score it reads that of the four runs he gave up in his tenth blown save of the season only two were earned, the unearned runs were caused by his throwing error on Adam Rosales grounder.
The Angels still have a mathematical shot at getting the wild card, but even the most optimistic of fans acknowledge that it probably won’t happen.
Anaheim Ducks defeat LA Kings 3-1. The Kings had their top two lines playing in this game while the Ducks had theirs playing in Vancouver Saturday night. So in essence it was the Kings “A” team versus the Ducks “B” team. If it hadn’t been for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees extra-innings affair, I would have fallen asleep on the press box floor at STAPLES Center.
“Tonight was definitely not our best effort,” defenseman Matt Greene said.
That’s an understatement. In fact head coach Terry Murray went so far as to say, “We lucked out in the first half of the game.”
In that first period the Kings had only six shots-on-goal including two shots on two power-play opportunities. Fortunately they only allowed four to the Ducks in that scoreless period. Murray was lukewarm about the way the Kings moved without the puck during power-play situations but had one key complaint.
“We’ve got to hit the net. My goodness!”
One would have thought the Kings would have woken up after Kyle Palmieri scored a goal for the Ducks 2:45 in the second period. Perhaps with the Ducks suiting up much of their non-NHLers, the Kings’ motivation was a bit lacking.
“No, we should be motivated,” Greene countered.
Simon Gagné was a bit more philosophical on the issue.
“Sometimes it could be hard. It may be the nature of guys. You look at the lineup and you think they got a ‘B’ team right now, and they don’t have their best player. Maybe that’s why we started the game out like we did.
“But it’s not an excuse. Even if it’s preseason, you want to find a way to get better as soon as you can. The season is coming pretty soon.”
Murray conceded they need more time to become cohesive.
“It showed that all the new players are in the lineup, and we’re trying to get some of that team chemistry put together.”
Not helping was Kevin Westgarth getting a shiner on his left eye from Brian McGrattan early in the second period.
“One loss a year,” Westgarth said as the media entered the Kings’ dressing room after the game. “Got it out of the way tonight.”
“He was evaluated, and they decided to keep him out,” Murray said. “We’ll get another look at him tomorrow and see where he’s at.”
Last year when the Kings played the Ducks at STAPLES Center in the preseason, the Ducks blue line looked so horrendous I thought they would struggle to compete in any game. They made it to the playoffs. It’s only the preseason, and like Murray said the players need more time playing together. While the 14,103 fans who came to the arena would have liked to have seen a better effort, it doesn’t count for squat.
LA Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks. 6:40 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.
Texas Rangers at LA Angels. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.