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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was back to his dominant ways Tuesday night as LA hosted the Nationals. After a thirty-pitch first inning, Kershaw put things on “Kruise Kontrol.” His curveball was downright filthy, as he punched out eleven while allowing only five hits and securing his fourth win on the season.
Kershaw would miss a complete-game shutout by just one out, having to leave after 132 pitches and failing to retire Adam LaRoche (who extended his hitting streak to 11 games in his final AB) for the final out. Kenley Jansen would come on for the one-out save, his second on the year. Kershaw reminds us in almost every start why he is the best pitcher in the NL; he's a fantasy beast with 67 K on the season over 64.1 IP. Some will be writing stories about his high pitch count and trying to connect lines to Johan Santana's and Edwin Jackson’s downfall in the aftermath of 130-pitch outings. For me, Kershaw is a different kind of pitcher. He’s a “horse” with the throwback kind of ability and big frame who can handle the extra workload. Pay no mind to naysayers and ride the horse.
NL Hot Shots:
- Heath Bell locked down his fifth save, closing out the Braves in a 2-0 D-Backs win.
- Carlos Gonzalez went 5-for-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R in a winning effort at Wrigley.
- Hunter Pence seems to be producing daily; yesterday's line: 2-for-3 with a 2B, 2 R and 1 SB (now 8 SB on the year).
- Brandon Belt homered and drove in 2 for the Giants.
- Andrew McCutchen’s lone hit in 5 at-bats was an extra-inning walk-off homer. It was his fifth on the year.
- Domonic Brown (7) and Kevin Frandsen (2) took Scott Kazmir deep Tuesday. The Phillies have won three in a row and are quietly creeping up on a .500 record.
- Carlos Villanueva was shelled by the Rockies allowing 7 ER and only striking out one batter over five frames.
- Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap TULO! Troy Tulowitzki had a nice night at the dish serving up a 3-for-5 performance with 2 doubles and an RBI. You like what I did there? You know you do.
- Huston “we don’t have a problem” Street sealed the deal, notching his ninth save with a K and a walk.
- Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-5 with his one being a 3-run Panda-bomb. He now has 7 HR and 29 RBI.
- Patrick Corbin was decent, going 7 innings versus the Braves, striking out five for the Win.
- Carlos Beltran helped rookie pitcher John Gast earn his first major league win with a homer and a 4-RBI effort. At age 36, Beltran now has 10 HR on the season to go with 26 RBI.
- Jeff Francis was good again for the Rockies with 7 K and only 3 hits allowed over 6 IP.
AL Hot Shots:
- Mitch Moreland is en fuego with now 9 HR, 18 RBI and a .296 BA after swatting 2 bombs in Oakland Tuesday. He is owned in under 37% of ESPN leagues which is just plain stupid. He is now rocking a .347 OBP and a .925 OPS. Adrian Beltre homered in front of Moreland’s second blast in the 10th inning.
- Miguel Cabrera is a mainstay here on Hot Shots. Tuesday he was 2-for-3 with a HR and a 2B.
- Mariano Rivera is the best closer ever, duh! He nailed down save number 16 with a K and a hitless inning.
- Doug Fister took advantage of the Houston lineup minus Jose Altuve striking out 7 and allowing 2 ER on 5 hits.
- Addison Reed secured save number 12 with one K as the Pale Hose topped the Twins.
- Jason Vargas was solid for the Angels as he spun 7 innings and gave up only 2 ER with 7 K walking one. Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols all homered in support of Vargas. Hamilton’s was of the 440-foot variety.
- Billy Butler continued to rake after Monday's 5-for-5 day; he went 2-for-4 Tuesday with a 2B, HR and 2 RBI.
- Yoenis Cespedes returned from yesterday’s stomach ailment, but perhaps should have taken the night off going 0-for-5 (0 K) and dropping his average to an ugly .202. The lack of strikeouts was encouraging tonight. Buy low right here!
- R.A. Dickey earned a win tossing 6.1 innings allowing 6 hits with 10 K. Well…that came outta nowhere? But hey, maybe it’s a sign of things to come for last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner? I have my doubts.
- C.C. Sabathia was a mixed bag in a no-decision against Felix Hernandez on Tuesday posting 10 K but allowing 10 hits and walking 2.
- Melky Cabrera went 4-for-5 showing that his legs are fine; he drove in 2 and scored 2.
- Matt Moore looked better this time out with only 2 walks issued over 6 IP, he struck out 8 and (again!) survived a really bad first inning to hold on for the W.
- Adam Dunn homered for the White Sox but is still batting well below the Mendoza line.
- Coco Crisp is set to come off the DL Wednesday; Michael Taylor has been optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento.
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Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter: @CasKnowsRoto