The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres faced a tall order in following up an exciting series opener at Petco Park that went into extra innings, but Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish more than proved to be up to the task.
For Darvish it was a second start against the Dodgers since he was with the team for the second half of the 2017 season. He held them to one run and two hits and collected 10 strikeouts over seven innings as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2019.
“We know him pretty well but he’s kind of evolved since we’ve seen him last,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Darivsh before the game. “We’ve got our hands full.”
The right-hander then went out and had plenty of success against his former team but ultimately was tabbed with a tough-luck loss. Following the game, Darvish credited the Dodgers for their patience and referred to them as the best team, per Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
Yu Darvish called the Dodgers "the No. 1 team in the world." Also said he thinks they have the best lineup. "They're aggressive, but not forcefully aggressive. They wait for right pitches."
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 18, 2021
Darvish carried a perfect game into the fifth inning, which he lost with two outs when hitting Zach McKinstry. On top of being a deflating way to squander a chance at history, there was some frustration in that McKinstry stuck out his foot to better ensure he would be hit by the pitch.
Darvish then allowed a single to Luke Raley and walked Austin Barnes to load the bases. It brought up Clayton Kershaw, who battled for eight pitches and drew an RBI walk to break up the scoreless tie.
“Just trying to be annoying, really,” Kershaw said of his strategy. “I wasn’t going to get a hit off of him. He’s got too good of stuff, so it’s just kind of like trying to be a nuisance as best you can, fouling off pitches and making him work a little bit.”
That wound up being the only run Darvish allowed and he finished with season-best nine strikeouts in seven innings.
Darvish will get second chance at Dodgers
This weekend’s series between the Dodgers and Padres marked the first of two over a span of one week. Darvish is slated to start Thursday in the opener of a four-game set at Dodger Stadium.
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