LOS ANGELES >> This would be an example of what happens when vibes collide.
The Dodgers were starting Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night. But they were also facing a left-handed pitcher, Colorado’s Tyler Anderson.
Those are equal and opposite forces. Would Dodger Stadium explode?
Not really. Matter defeated anti-matter, 4-2, which is to say Kershaw raised his record to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.34.
Manager Dave Roberts found it important enough to use Kenley Jansen to get the final four outs, even though it’s April 19. The Dodgers had lost three consecutive games, felt they had a chance to win with Kershaw and didn’t want to put too much strut in the Rockies’ step. Colorado came into Wednesday with a 10-5 record.
“We know we can do it (against lefties),” Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke said afterward. “We’ve taken our walks, put together some good at-bats, gotten people into scoring position. It was just nice to break through.
“As a team, well, every team has its struggles. I’m sure if you talk to the guys who won the World Series last year, they’d probably tell you there were some things they could do better. Every team has its thing. We just need to continue to stick with approach and our work ethic. Tonight when we got up 4-1, I got the feeling we were going to do everything we could to win this game.”
Van Slyke hammered Anderson’s 2-and-2 pitch to left field for a home run in the Dodgers’ second, his first since last June 15. That tied it 1-1 after Colorado had produced only one run out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in its first inning.
With two on, Nolan Arenado singled to right. Third base coach Stu Cole, respectful of the Yasiel Puig factor, held up Charlie Blackmon. At that point you almost expected Kershaw to escape without a blemish, but after he struck out Carlos Gonzalez he gave up a one-out sacrifice fly to Mark Reynolds. Then Gerardo Parra struck out looking.
Chris Taylor, called up after Logan Forsythe went on the disabled list, led off the climactic fifth with a double, and Anderson threw poorly on Kershaw’s bunt to keep it going. Kike Hernandez’s double led to the three-run inning, and Jansen got a two-on, two-out fly ball from Reynolds in the eighth.
The Dodgers are hitting .218 against lefties, but four National League teams are worse. They hit .214 last year, and no NL team was worse. The reason you’re hearing rumors about Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, other than the fact there’s a lot of rumormongers out there, is that Braun is a .337 hitter against lefties for his career with a 1.038 OPS.
And, yeah, most of the left-handed pitchers in the league are pretty good. You wouldn’t think this should be such a hole in the Dodgers’ game. But Justin Turner hits 50 points lower (.250 to .300) against lefties for his career, and Puig hits 20 points lower. It helps when the Dodgers throw a left-hander that nobody can hit.
Van Slyke was asked to describe the feeling of a Kershaw day,…