Clayton Kershaw was who we thought he was. The Royals offense looked like the old, crappy Pedro Grifol offense, not the new, sexy Dale Sveum offense.
This is bound to happen when facing the best pitcher in the game.
Kershaw struck out eight Royals while scattering six seeing-eye singles and one full-count walk to Alex Gordon across his eight innings of work. Surprisingly two of the Royals' hits came from Eric Hosmer, who eked out two singles through gaps in the infield. Lorenzo Cain struck out thrice, Alex Gordon struck out twice, and Justin Maxwell, Billy Butler, and Alcides Escobar each whiffed one time apiece.
It's hard to place too much blame at the feet of the Royals' offense. If this were a just world, Kershaw would have a Cy Young Award on his mantle for each of the past three seasons. He's the best pitcher in the game and happens to be a lefty, which spelled inevitable doom for the Royals' bats before a pitch was even thrown. That the Royals even mustered two separate occasions in which a runner was in scoring position is a minor miracle--like spaghetti squash apparently.
This had all the makings of a movie we've all seen 100 times. In this movie, Clayton Kershaw is the hero and exerts his will on his opponent, dispatching of them in an efficacious but thorough manner on his way to bigger and more important battles. The Royals were never more than an opening foray in someone else's much bigger story tonight. The outcome was preordained. If John Calvin were here, he'd be nodding his head in solemn agreement.
Despite the fact that Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner seemed to be on a singular mission to drive up his pitch count, Danny Duffy pitched fairly well. Duffy made it through the sixth, having taken 105 pitches to get there. Turner led the game off with a triple on the 11th pitch of the first at-bat. The ball barely got past Lorenzo Cain, who went airborne and vertical trying to snatch an extra base hit from the books. He came up short, and Maxwell stood on third base with no outs in the first. He was driven in on an Adrian Gonzalez fielder's choice to that Duffy nearly caught but glanced off his glove to short, eventually getting Puig at second but given the carom was too late to be able to turn two and get Duffy out of the inning.
After the first, Duffy limited the Dodgers to little in the way of runs, though the Dodgers did amass a total of eight baserunners (four by way of the walk) in Duffy's six innings of work. Duffy struck out five Dodgers and allowed just four hits, but the one that mattered was the first of the game.
The Dodgers added one more run in the ninth inning, when Kelvin Herrera came back out for his second inning of work only to walk the first batter he faced, Adrian Gonzalez. As the old adage would suggest, that walk came back to bite the Royals in the form of a run. Of course, given the Royals' complete inability to plate a run tonight, that second run was little more than a symbol.
Clayton Kershaw shut down the Royals. It happens.