LOS ANGELES — While Sunday’s Freeway Series opener may have hastened the Angels’ decision on who will take the last spot in their starting rotation, the Dodgers may have found something special themselves.
Clayton Kershaw turned back the clock in his final vote of the regular season, throwing six innings of shutout in the Dodgers’ 3-0 win over the Angels at Dodger Stadium.
The left-hander threw 74 pitches while limiting the Angels to three hits and no walks. He knocked out seven batters, including Mike Trout in all three of his record appearances.
A week after celebrating his 35th birthday, Kershaw finished the show season with seven runs allowed from four starts, good for an earned running average of 3.44.
“Overall it was definitely better than ever,” Kershaw said. “Slider was definitely better. I also threw some bad ones, but overall the consistency was better with them. Finally got some swings and misses with it. Fastball commando was better. Overall definitely a good step forward for me.”
The only clock Kershaw didn’t turn back on Sunday? The new pitch timers, which resulted in the left-hander being loaded with two automatic balls, led to a lengthy discussion between Kershaw and home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez between innings.
Kershaw said one of the two violations was his fault for not delivering a pitch before the timer ran out. The other was based on a misunderstanding after the 15-second clock accidentally stopped counting down.
“I got out, looked up and there were seven seconds left (on the clock) but the clock went out,” Kershaw said. “The clock should have just kept ticking. And (Marquez) was trying to use his best judgment and thought I wasn’t going to make it in time. … He said it was his judgment on it.”
Back-to-back home runs from Max Muncy and Chris Taylor in the second inning gave Kershaw the only runs he needed. Those were the only runs allowed by Angels starter Tucker Davidson, who made his final bid for a rotation spot.
Davidson allowed one hit along with the two homers, a single from Miguel Vargas on his 75th and final pitch. The left-hander walked a batter and knocked out one in 4 ⅓ innings.
“It was good to be back out there, kind of in the big league environment, away from Arizona and kind of getting some adrenaline back in, so it was good,” Davidson said. “I threw the ball well. The slider was really good and then I thought I’m good at fastball right-handed, left-handed. We need to make some adjustments in the bullpen this week but I think we’re on the right track.”
Davidson has run out of minor league options. Of his six spring starts, only one went badly. He allowed six runs in three innings against the San Francisco Giants on March 19 and four earned runs in 14 ⅓ innings in the other five games.
“We kind of wanted to see him in that atmosphere, unlike at a spring game, and it was just as good as he’s played all spring,” said Angels manager Phil Nevin. “Lots of good sliders. A 3-0 fastball that Muncy hit and then a slider that he just left on the plate but we’ll take that.”
Right-hander Jaime Barria, also fighting for sixth place in the starting XI, allowed one run in 2 ⅔ innings and knocked out four. One run came in an eighth inning home run by Dodgers outfielder James Outman, who will make his first Opening Day squad on Thursday.
Outman and Muncy each hit three home runs this spring.
Yency Almonte, Brusdar Graterol, Phil Bickford and Shelby Miller didn’t concede a run in the last three innings.
Doug Padilla contributed to this article
Source : www.dailynews.com