Clayton Kershaw isn’t exactly sharp in Dodgers’ 4-2 loss to Cubs
The stadium lights flickered. The fans at Wrigley Field gasped.
What followed was unlike anything Clayton Kershaw had experienced in the major leagues.
Kershaw waited as the umpires huddled in the infield. He waited some more as Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon argued to umpire crew chief Jerry Meals that the game shouldn’t resume until the lighting was fully restored.
Maddon talked and talked. Kershaw waited and waited.
Kershaw paced around the mound. He croutched in foul territory. He paced some more.
The sixth-inning delay lasted for 10 minutes.
“Obviously, it didn’t affect them,” Kershaw said about the Cubs.
Kershaw gave up his second home run of the game an inning later, a solo drive by Matt Szczur that sent the offensively downtrodden Dodgers crashing to a 4-2 defeat Monday night.
Kershaw has given up 11 home runs this season in 15 starts, including a two-run blast to rookie Kris Bryant in the third inning that moved the Cubs in front, 2-1.
“Couple pitches here or there,” Kershaw said. “I wished they were doubles instead of homers.”
Kershaw has given up the most home runs on the Dodgers pitching staff. He also has given up two more than he did over the 27 starts he made last season.
Bryant’s home run was hit on a 1-and-2 count with two outs. Kershaw’s 0-and-2 pitch to Bryant was a borderline pitch along the outside edge of the strike zone.
Asked whether he thought that was a strike, Kershaw replied by complimenting plate umpire Jordan Baker.
“I wanted it, but he was pretty consistent the whole night,” he said. “I didn’t look at it, but everybody says he was off by a little bit. Give him credit.”
Bryant hit a home run in the eighth inning, this one against left-hander Adam Liberatore.
Of the home runs he has given up this season, Kershaw said, “I don’t really care if I give up homers or not. It’s just a bad pitch, a mistake. As long as they’re solo shots, it doesn’t really matter.”
While he described this defeat was less frustrating than the one he had against the Texas Rangers five days earlier, he was still upset.
“It’s always frustrating to lose,” he said.
Kershaw didn’t blame the 10-minute delay in the sixth inning for the outcome — “It didn’t really affect me,” he said — but said it was a source of irritation.
Maddon was responsible for the majority of the delay, as he continued to argue with Meals after the umpires decided the game would resume.
“We felt that we would be able to continue playing, that it was sufficient lighting,” Meals said. “Out of the six banks, none were out. There were scattered lights out and the information I got from [Cubs groundskeeper Roger Baird] was that the lights are going to come on slowly, sporadically, one at a time here or there. Once they warm up, they’ll continue coming on and probably within 15 minutes, they’d all be on.”
That wasn’t enough for Maddon.
“I didn’t like the idea we had to play against a guy who is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really good,” Maddon said. “You have to see spin, you have to be able to read everything. I did not like the fact we had to play without all the lights on. Just be a little more patient and wait for the lights. That was my argument.”
Kershaw grew impatient.
“I just wanted them to say, ‘Hey, get off the field,’ or, ‘Hey, the game’s going to start,’ he said. “Standing around for 10 minutes, my legs are getting heavy. I wanted an answer. Obviously, I wanted to keep going. But if they were going to wait for however long, just tell me and I’ll go sit down. I don’t know if Joe was trying to do that on purpose or what.”
The Cubs played the remainder of the game under protest.
“It’s just one more thing to waste time,” Kershaw said. “I’ve never seen a protest actually work.”
Kershaw added sarcastically: “I hope they win their protest.”
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