Dodgers Recap: Clayton Kershaw and Bats Best Young Gun Chris Paddack

The Los Angeles Dodgers got their first look at San Diego Padres’ young ace Chris Paddack on Tuesday night. While the match-up between Clayton Kershaw and Paddack had a lot of press leading up to it, the Dodgers earned a 6-3 victory behind the principals that make them great.

Moreover, the patient and powerful Los Angeles bats handed Paddack his second loss of his young career. Equally important – Clayton Kershaw improved to 3-0 on the season.

Let’s take a look at the details.

The Offense

Kershaw allowed a solo home run to Franmil Reyes in the top of the first inning. From there, Paddack made a silent first trip through the Dodgers’ order. However, things kicked off quickly the second time through.

When Joc Pederson came up with a man aboard, his 100th career home run gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead they would not again relinquish.

Indeed – that’s Pederson’s 13th home run of 2019 – all while playing primarily against right-handed pitching. The guy is having an incredible season so far for the Dodgers.

Los Angeles wasn’t done scoring in the bottom of the third. Max Muncy drew a walk, and then two batters later Cody Bellinger homered for the 15th time.

This gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead and some comfort. Still – Cody Bellinger – what can we really say that hasn’t been said? Every night he’s doing something different to help his team win a ballgame.

As we look up, it’s May 15th and he’s hitting .409; which definitely has to make it into this post somehow.

Surely – Manny Machado would get his against Kershaw – hitting a two-run home run that traveled 441 feet to left field in the fourth inning. The 4-3 score would create some interest, but only for a moment.

The Dodgers added insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth respectively. These runs were scored on a Chris Taylor single and Bellinger groundout.

Notably, Corey Seager added two knocks in this game.

Los Angeles totaled six runs off eight hits. The Padres managed three runs off seven. It seemed like the patience of the Dodgers lineup got to Paddack. While they worked just a single walk off the San Diego starter, several at-bats resulting in big hit were the result of grinding the count. Los Angeles was clearly waiting Paddack out the second time through the lineup onwards in hopes of a mistake. On Tuesday night, he gave them enough to be successful.

Clayton Kershaw and the Pitching

Kershaw went seven innings to earn the quality start in earning his third win. His season ERA now sits at 3.40. Overall, I thought Kershaw was solid. His crux was the home run ball – allowing two big swings to the Padres all night which served as all the damage. As a whole, that’s been the Hallmark of Kershaw in 2019. He allows a big swing or two to the opposition before settling in and competing.

His opposing number Paddack would have done anything to trade stat lines with him on this night. Paddack survived just 4.2 innings on 92 pitches and saw his season ERA climb to 1.99 on the year.

The Dodgers bullpen was a question mark tonight of sorts. It was crucial that Kershaw provide the type of start he answered the curtain with. However, Pedro Baez worked a scoreless eighth inning for his ninth hold of the season.

Then, Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth for 13th save of the year. It’s important to note that in his 18 pitches (a dozen for strikes) he worked his slider usage in. Previously, Jansen has primarily only used a cutter to mixed results. Jansen allowed a hit, but was scoreless in the ninth for a strikeout.

The Dodgers improved to 28-16 on the season, with the Padres falling to 22-20.

Looking Ahead

The Padres will send Matt Strahm to the bump on Wednesday night to oppose Kenta Maeda. Strahm is a good looking left-handed pitcher that could pose a threat to the Dodgers. While another tough test awaits, the Dodgers continue to pass them night-by-night. Now with an 18-6 record in their home park, the Dodgers continue to give their fan base a lot to be excited about as we pass the quarter mark of the regular season.

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