Jordan Zimmermann was knocked around for five runs over three innings back in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals on Monday, but he was called on for the first relief appearance of his major league career in Game 4 this afternoon. And he was at the top of his game.
Zimmermann struck out the side to keep the score tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. He got Pete Kozma and Kyle Lohse swinging and Jon Jay looking to complete his perfect frame. The Kozma strikeout was on a 97 mph heater.
Facing elimination, Ross Detwiler came up huge for the Nationals today, allowing one run on three hits and three walks over six innings while striking out two. Loshe has allowed just two hits and hasn’t walked a batter for the Cardinals. His only mistake was a solo homer by Adam LaRoche in the second inning. Looks like we’re headed for some more late-inning postseason drama.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.