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Clayton Kershaw battles in Dodgers’ first NLDS win


It wasn’t the worst Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer had looked in the playoffs, but it wasn’t good, either.

Scherzer fell victim to rookie shortstop Corey Seager, who rode a 109 m.p.h. home run to center field in his first at-bat of the game. Chase Utley and Justin Turner piled on in the third inning with an RBI single and a two-run homer, giving the Dodgers just the edge they needed to clinch Game 1 of the NLDS.

Kershaw, meanwhile, got off to a more promising start after striking out the side in the first inning, though he labored through 17 pitches to do so. His command was on point, inducing swings and misses in the dirt with his offspeed stuff and swings and misses in the middle of the zone with his heater, but Bryce Harper‘s eight-pitch at-bat left him winded heading into the second inning.

After a 23-pitch second inning, during which Scherzer popped out with the bases loaded, Kershaw ran into trouble when Harper and Jayson Werth executed a double steal during Anthony Rendon‘s at-bat in the third. Rendon lashed a single into left field and drove in the Nats’ first runs of the game, bolstered by a bonus sac fly in the fourth inning. By then, Kershaw was nearly out of the game — at 101 pitches, he exited in the fifth when Dave Roberts handed the game over to the bullpen.

Scherzer lasted another inning before leaving with four runs, two homers, and five strikeouts on the night. While Sammy Solis and Mark Melancon pitched two scoreless innings for the Nationals, aided by Kenley Jansen‘s bases-loaded flub in the ninth, they were matched with equal dominance by a four-pitcher cadre of Los Angeles relievers. Jansen returned in the bottom of the ninth to log the final three outs of the game, sending the Nats home on a seven-pitch strikeout to Jayson Werth.

Thanks in small part to Kershaw’s efforts and in larger part to Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and an outstanding effort by Los Angeles’ bullpen, the Dodgers sit 1-0 over the Nationals in the NLDS. Their next match-up, a showdown between left-hander and near-perfect gamer Rich Hill and right-hander Tanner Roark, will kick off at 4 PM EDT on Saturday.

Report: David Price to pay each Dodgers minor leaguer $1,000 out of his own pocket

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Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.

That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.

Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.

Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.