Kershaw deals with adversity, lack of run support

Kershaw deals with adversity, lack of run support
May 3, 2013, 11:45 pm
It doesn't affect, it can't affect you as a starting pitcher. It's out of your control.
—Clayton Kershaw on lack of run support

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clayton Kershaw had to laugh and shake his head. Otherwise, he'd cry. And no one would have blamed him either.

The real world had intruded upon the Dodgers' left-handed ace this week, while the Dodgers' so-sad-it's-funny injury travails and lack of run support collided in one big blue mess on the shores of McCovey Cove Friday night. Kershaw was making his first start since his 63-year-old father Chris' death on Sunday and funeral on Wednesday. And despite holding the Giants hitless until Marco Scutaro's one-out triple in the sixth inning, it was not enough for the Dodgers.

Buster Posey's walk-off shot off Ronald Belisario to lead off the ninth gave the Giants a 2-1 victory and left Kershaw shaking his head. Again.

A tough week all around, no?

"A tough game," Kershaw answered, quickly. "We wanted to win that one. He's their best hitter for a reason. Buster's really good."

Almost as good as Kershaw was early, when he was keeping the Giants off balance.

Kershaw ended up allowing one run in seven innings, the lefty surrendering just three hits -- all in the sixth -- with five strikeouts and three walks. His ERA fell to 1.66 on the season in the no-decision.

And if that wasn't enough, Kershaw also scored the Dodgers' lone run in the fifth. He led off by going opposite field with a double down the left-field line, moved to third on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s sacrifice bunt and came home on Nick Punto's dribbler through the left side of the infield.

"It's always that kind of game here," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "Kersh was good, as always."

The lack of run support is what doomed him on this night. The Dodgers had their leadoff hitter reach base in each of their first six innings, and seven of nine, but they also bounced into three double-plays in the first four innings and ended up stranding 13 runners.

It's been a season-long ordeal for Kershaw. The Dodgers have not scored more than two runs in five of his seven starts.

"It doesn't affect, it can't affect you as a starting pitcher," he said of the lack of run support. "It's out of your control."

As are the injuries.

Four days after returning from the disabled list with the surgically-repaired right thumb, shortstop Hanley Ramirez appears headed back with a left hamstring strain he suffered trying to go from first to third on A.J. Ellis' single to right in the sixth.

This after clean-up hitting first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was a late scratch with neck stiffness from a collision with an umpire earlier in the week. And second baseman Mark Ellis tweaking a quadriceps. At least left fielder Carl Crawford, nursing a sore hamstring, got into the game as a late pinch-hitter, singling up the middle (the Dodgers thought Crawford's bat hit Posey's glove on the swing).

"It's definitely amazing how many guys, top guys have gone down," Kershaw said.

Consider: Gonzalez, Crawford, Ramirez and Ellis are making a combined $61.75 million. Meanwhile, five pitchers who have started at least one game for the Dodgers this season are currently on the disabled list in Chad Billingsley (Tommy John Surgery), Chris Capuano (left calf), Stephen Fife (right shoulder), Zack Greinke (left clavicle) and Ted Lilly (left shoulder). Combined they are making more than $46.49 million.

For reference, the A's opening day payroll was just over $61.9 million; the Miami Marlins' was $50.5 million.

Kershaw, who dealt with a hip injury at the end of last season, is seemingly the last man standing. And not even the death of his father, a "well-known musician who worked in advertising, winning a CLIO award," per a report, was going to keep him from making this start.

"I was going to be back," he said. "It was good to get back and commemorate his life."

Kershaw said he maintained his off-day routines in Dallas, throwing his bullpen session to a catcher on his old Highland Park High School team while running and lifting weights.

"What else am I going to do?" he mused. "It was definitely a tough week, but I had to do it."

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