Dodgers push Clayton Kershaw back; Zack Greinke pulls them through vs. Angels
Several hours before he was scheduled to start Friday night against the Angels, Clayton Kershaw was throwing in the outfield at Dodger Stadium.
There was a reason for that: He was about to be scratched.
Kershaw, who was also scratched from the Dodgers’ previous game because of a sore right hip, is now scheduled to pitch Saturday.
With Zack Greinke starting in place of Kershaw in the series opener against the Angels, the Dodgers cruised to a 5-3 victory that extended their lead to 11/2 games over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
Even though Mike Trout belted his major league-leading 32nd home run and drove in three runs, the Angels lost their fourth in a row and for the seventh time in eight games. They remained two games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the American League West.
The Dodgers continued to downplay the severity of Kershaw’s condition, with Manager Don Mattingly describing the decision to delay the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s start as a precaution.
Kershaw, who has a 29-inning scoreless streak, also threw Thursday before his charity ping-pong event at Dodger Stadium. Mattingly said the Dodgers wanted to give him an extra day to recover.
Kershaw declined to speak with reporters, other than to say, “I’m pitching tomorrow. I’m good.”
Kershaw had problems with the same hip late in the 2012 season, when he missed a start and looked into whether the injury would require an operation.
Mattingly was evasive when asked about Kershaw’s long-term prognosis. “It feels good,” Mattingly said. “He’s not feeling anything. He’s going tomorrow.”
On this night, the Dodgers had a more than capable replacement for Kershaw. Greinke won his fifth consecutive decision, limiting the Angels to two runs and five hits over eight innings.
Trout and Kole Calhoun were the only sources of trouble for Greinke, who is building his own potential Cy Young resume with a 10-2 record and a 1.41 earned-run average that leads the major leagues. Trout and Calhoun were a combined five for seven against him. The other Angels were 0 for 21.
Trout drove in Calhoun twice, on a fourth-inning triple to right-center and a sixth-inning single to center. Calhoun was three for four.
“I usually try to get ahead of him, but I got behind every time, which isn’t a good game plan,” Greinke said of Trout, who led off the All-Star game last month with a homer against the Dodgers right-hander. “I thought I had a good idea to face him today, but I didn’t execute my pitches to him at all. I couldn’t even figure out if my game plan was good or not.”
Trout also caused problems for Kenley Jansen, as he launched a leadoff home run off the Dodgers closer in the ninth inning.
The Dodgers jumped ahead in the first inning, when second baseman Howie Kendrick homered to left-center field in his first official at-bat against his former team.
Kendrick, who played his previous nine seasons with the Angels, was acquired by the Dodgers in exchange for Andrew Heaney over the winter. Heaney will start Saturday for the Angels.
The Angels tied it in the fourth on Trout’s triple, but the Dodgers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning on a two-run home run by Alex Guerrero, who replaced the sidelined Justin Turner and homered for the first time since June 2. Run-scoring singles by Yasiel Puig and Yasmani Grandal made it 5-1 in the fifth.
Kershaw (8-6, 2.51 ERA) is scheduled to face the Angels’ Heaney (5-0, 1.79) on Saturday at 1 p.m. TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020.
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