Game 116: Clayton Kershaw’s Bat, Arm Open Floodgates as Rays Lose 5th Straight

By Robbie Knopf

The thing about National League baseball is that when the pitcher comes up, everyone assumes that the inning is over. When you fail to execute, though, and allow the pitcher to reach, that is when everything begins to fall apart. It is hard enough to face Clayton Kershaw to begin with. But when you allow him to beat you at the plate, you truly don’t have a chance.

Jeremy Hellickson was one out away. The Dodgers had runners on 2nd and 3rd with just one out after Juan Uribe‘s bunt, but Hellickson had struck out Dee Gordon and could get out of the inning if he could only retire the pitcher Kershaw. Instead, Hellickson left a changeup up and Kersahw lined a single into right field to make it 2-0 Dodgers. Carl Crawford followed with a single and then Mark Ellis drilled an RBI double to make it 3-0 Los Angeles before Hellickson finally escaped the jam. And after A.J. Ellis delivered a sac fly in the 3rd, that was it for Hellickson. Hellickson lasted just 3 innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, striking out 2 while walking none. His ERA now stands at 4.93. All season, we have been waiting for Hellickson to break through. It hasn’t happened.

Alex Torres continued to struggle behind Hellickson, allowing 2 runs in just an inning of work, and Josh Lueke allowed 2 runs in 2 innings, departing with the Dodgers holding an 8-1 lead. Cesar Ramos did work around 2 hits to toss shutout ball in the 8th and 9th, striking out 1, and Sam Fuld and Wil Myers had the two RBIs for the Rays, with Fuld drilling a pinch-hit RBI triple in the 5th. Those three were the only highlights for the Rays in the game. It’s official–the Rays have hit rock bottom. Now the Rays have a day to mull to fate before starting a three-game set with the Mariners on Tuesday that they hope is the start of them getting right back on track.