The result of tonight's contest between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox is not shocking. Now winners of 10 straight games, and 30 of their last 34, it would see this was another ho-hum win for the National League's best team. In a remarkable defensive performance, the South Siders kept it close to the end. However, Matt Davidson's deep fly ball in the ninth inning fell just short of tying the game, and the Dodgers continued their dominance with a 1-0 victory.
Pitching in the majors for the first time in a month, White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez had challenging assignments. One, he had to eat as many innings as possible to help a tired bullpen. Second, he had to do that against a red-hot Dodgers offense featuring Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. All this against the game's best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.
While rumors of a blockbuster trade with the New York Yankees hung over the game like a stormy cloud, the combination of Gonzalez, Dan Jennings, Anthony Swarzak, and perhaps new closer, Gregory Infante kept the Dodgers to just one run. That was in large thanks to four crucial double plays turned by the White Sox.
1st Inning: After Cody Bellinger had driven in Chris Taylor for the only run of tonight's game, Joc Pederson with the bases loaded grounded into the 3-6-1 double play.
3rd Inning: Chris Taylor's lead-off single was erased by a Corey Seager 3-6 double play. That came in handy as Justin Turner hit a double in the next at-bat and the Dodgers again would load the bases. And again, Joc Pederson failed to capitalize by striking out.
5th Inning: Starting with a lead-off double by Seager, the Dodgers again couldn't score as Logan Forsythe grounded into the 6-4-3 double play.
8th Inning: Dan Jennings found himself in a sticky situation loading the bases with no outs. Yet, he struck out Yasmani Grandal and a terrific play by Tyler Saladino to turn a 4-3 double play to end the threat.
While the defense had a good night, offensively the Sox had opportunities against Kershaw. In the first, Tim Anderson stole his 6th base after hitting a single, and Avisail Garcia walked to give Davidson a chance to tie the game. His sawed off grounder was hit into the shift, and Davidson quietly grounded out to end the threat.
In the sixth inning, Avisail Garcia slow grounder found itself in the 6-5 hole, and Seager's throw wasn't going to make it in time. What compounded the problem was a rookie mistake by Bellinger who tried to make the scoop on Seager's toss. It bounced away from Bellinger allowing Garcia to reach second. Matt Davidson would follow that up with a laser of a line drive to center, but Garcia's first step was back to second base and couldn't score off the hit.
With runners on the corners and one out, Tyler Saladino added yet another frustrating, poor bunting attempt to the lowlight reel of this season. Not able to put the ball on the ground, Saladino popped the ball up, and it was an easy play for Grandal in foul territory. Yolmer Sanchez hit a weak grounder to Justin Turner at third, and the threat was over.
What makes the Dodgers a bit unfair these days is when Kershaw is done for the day, teams still have to find a way to deal with the closer, Kenley Jansen. Dominating with a 0.90 ERA heading into tonight's game, for a brief moment, it felt that Davidson did the unthinkable. On a 1-1 pitch, Davidson took Jansen's cutter to the limits of left field, but the deep fly landed in Chris Taylor's glove at the wall, two feet short of tying the game.
Sanchez made it enjoyable reaching on a two-out single, but Jansen got Omar Narvaez to strike out swinging ending the game. Thus also ending the tenure of Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle with the White Sox as they were traded to the New York Yankees after tonight's contest.