Behind eight dominant innings from starter Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers easily defeated the downtrodden Phillies 5-0 to win their tenth consecutive game. It is also their 42nd win in their last 50 games, an absurd .840 winning percentage. Kershaw held the Phillies scoreless on three hits and a walk while striking out eight. Kershaw even provided some offense, lacing an RBI double down the left field line in the fourth inning to put his team up 2-0. Juan Uribe stuck the dagger in the Phillies with a three-run home run in the top of the ninth.
It’s the second game in a row in which the Dodgers have shut out the Phillies. Zack Greinke and the bullpen did the deed last night in a 4-0 victory. The Phillies last scored in the ninth inning on Wednesday against the Braves, and have yet to score in the Ryne Sandberg era.
Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.80, nearly a half-run better than the next-best ERA in baseball owned by Matt Harvey at 2.23.
Ricky Nolasco will attempt to keep the shutout trend going as he opposes Cole Hamels tomorrow.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.
I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:
Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.
Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.
I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.
Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.