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LA 4, SF 0: Meet The Kershaws

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There's Clayton Kershaw the pitcher. Him, we know about. No surprise. Throws all four pitches with subtle or ridiculous movement, depending upon his whim and the flick of his wrist. Makes the non-Brett Pill Giants take half-hearted swings at the first or second pitch of the at-bat, because they fear going deeper into the count. OK, fine. We'll grumble and live with him.

But this other Kershaw guy, who swings with gusto in case he hits something? His home run to dead center off George Kontos to lead off the 8th was a huge shock, although may I point out that I tweeted this about an hour earlier:

kershawtweet.JPGKershaw struck out on that pitch, but as Posey fired the ball around the infield, Cain turned away, wiped his brow and allowed himself a little bemused smile. I don't have the video replay, maybe I'm imagining it, but I don't think so. I'll bet someone mentions that swing in the post-game.

It was clear the Giants would be lucky to score just one today, and who knows, they might have if Buster Posey's liner in the seventh with Pablo on first had sneaked down the third-base line. Instead, their hardest-hit ball of the day found Luis Cruz's glove.

Matt Cain was never hit hard, but he found himself in a corner a few times as the Dodgers sprinkled around a few bleeders, a walk and a hit batsman. While Kershaw flat dominated, Cain painted. He might still be a power pitcher from time to time, but he's far more artist, throwing tight sliders on the corners, moving the 90-91 MPH fastball around the zone, playing cat-and-mouse with the change-up, dropping a medium-sized curve every so often. It was beautiful to watch him work with men on base, but the difference today between his stuff and Kershaw's equaled a few more base runners, more foul balls (especially against Matt Kemp in the first inning), and a lot of work out of the stretch. Cain was up around 90 pitches after six innings, and he was done. 

Would a tiring Cain in the seventh and eighth have fared better than the Giant bullpen? Zap over to your little parallel universe, replay the game in its entirety, and let me know when you're back. I'm not going to second-guess Bruce Bochy on this one. I like the chances of guys like Kontos, Casilla and Affeldt matching zeroes with Kershaw, it just didn't happen today. 


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