With two highly talented pitchers squaring off on a muggy night in Atlanta, you figured that one of those pitchers would end up breaking out of their funk and delivering a great performance. Unfortunately for us, it ended up being Clayton Kershaw as he ended up delivering one of his best performances of the season as the Braves eventually fell to the Dodgers, 4-1.
In the early stages, it seemed like the Braves were going to get the “human” version of Kershaw. The second inning began with a double from Nick Markakis and while it took some work to bring him home, the Braves finally managed it with a groundout from Ender Inciarte that moved Markakis 90 feet down the line and to home plate to put the Braves ahead early.
Sadly, that was all of the scoring that the Braves would muster tonight as Kershaw proceeded to enter into the zone for the rest of his night on the mound. While that was going on, the Dodgers got to work on Mike Foltynewicz. They wasted no time getting the game tied after Alex Verdugo led off the top of the third with a solo homer and then they added three more runs in the next inning.
The first of those three runs came another leadoff homer — this one came off of the bat of Yasmani Grandal to put the Dodgers in the lead. They then spread their lead following a walk, a double and then a two-out single from, of all people, Clayton Kershaw. The single scored two runs and put the Braves into a 4-1 hole. A three-run lead is never insurmountable, but with the way Kershaw was pitching and the current Braves offense being in a bit of “feast or famine” mode as of late, it sure felt like the Braves had a lot of work to do in order to get back into the game.
As a matter of fact, the Braves had an absolute devil of a time even trying to get Kershaw out at the plate. In addition to that single that gave the Dodgers some breathing room, Kershaw ended up adding three walks to his batting line on the night. The Braves really had nothing for him tonight, either on the mound or with their bats.
Things could’ve gotten worse in the eighth inning when the Dodgers had two men on with nobody out, but Dansby Swanson made a play that reminded everybody that he’s still worth keeping in the lineup everyday, even with his offensive struggles.
His bat may not be pretty right now, but his glove is an absolute beauty right now.
It’s a real shame that that was basically the only big highlight for the Braves in this one, as they really didn’t have an answer for Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen made short work of them in a four-out save. Kershaw’s two-run single was the end of the scoring on the night as the game ended 4-1.
In order to make sure that this recap doesn’t end on a downer, here’s a look at how the dugout greeted Jonny Venters after he made his official return to the Braves. The night may have been a downer on the whole, but this was still very cool to see.