Clayton Kershaw survives the 7th, Dodgers beat Cubs 1-0 to even NLCS

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
16 Comments

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw‘s seventh-inning troubles have been well-documented. The best pitcher in baseball somehow brought a career 4.79 postseason ERA into Sunday night’s NLCS Game 2 start against the Cubs, which included a staggering 23.82 ERA in the seventh inning of those games. But Kershaw pitched the seventh and survived, helping the Dodgers tiptoe out of Wrigley Field with a 1-0 victory to even up the NLCS.

Kershaw went seven scoreless frames, giving up only two hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 84 pitches. He was pitching on short rest, technically, as he threw seven pitches to close out Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. He last started on October 11, tossing 110 pitches in Game 4.

The Cubs’ best opportunity against Kershaw came in the fifth inning when Javier Baez and Willson Contreras hit back-to-back two-out singles, but Jason Heyward popped out foul to first baseman Justin Turner. The Cubs also had a runner on first base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Javier Baez smoked a Kershaw fastball that looked like a home run off the bat but died in the glove of Joc Pederson in deep center field.

The only offense came from Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez swatted a solo home run to left-center at Wrigley Field off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the second inning. Hendricks yielded the lone run on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts on 91 pitches before giving way to the bullpen.

Closer Kenley Jansen took over in the eighth inning, requiring only nine pitches to send the game to the ninth. He struck out Contreras on three pitches, got Heyward to fly out on three pitches, and then struck out pinch-hitter (and Game 1 hero) Miguel Montero on three pitches. Jansen returned in the bottom of the ninth for his second inning of work. The right-hander struck out Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant before getting Anthony Rizzo to hit a weak liner to Chase Utley at second base to end the game.

With the series tied at one apiece, the two clubs will take Monday off to travel. Game 3 will start at 8:00 PM at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta to the hill to oppose Dodgers lefty Rich Hill.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
Getty Images
1 Comment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.