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Dodgers Bullpen Meltdown Spoils An Excellent Start By Clayton Kershaw, As The NL West Tightens Up Even More

San Francisco Giants  v Los Angeles Dodgers

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On Monday night, baseball fans were treated to a marquee matchup of Clayton Kershaw versus Madison Bumgarner, on National Left-handers Day no less! Kershaw shined the brightest, going eight frames of one-run ball, striking out nine without walking a batter. Bumgarner wasn’t nearly as impressive, but still went six solid innings, allowing two runs, while striking out four. After dominating for eight innings, Kershaw handed a 2-1 lead over to a Kenley Jansen-less Dodger bullpen that proceeded to implode before our very eyes.

With two outs and the bases loaded, pinch hitter Nick Hundley shot a base hit into right-center to bring the tying and go-ahead runs to the plate. You knew it was over at that point, but the Giants continued to pour it on, scoring another pair of runs on a base hit by Gorkys Hernandez, while another run came in when Max Muncy booted a ball at first base. It was an ugly inning, which only stressed the importance of Jansen to this Dodgers team. That’s not something that we didn’t already know, but damn. That was a game that the Dodgers win 99% of the time when Jansen trots out of those bullpen gates.

Since it was announced that Jansen would miss a month to address an irregular heartbeat, the Dodgers have not won a game. They have gone 0-4, as the Dodgers bullpen has allowed nine earned runs on ten hits in eight innings. Last year, the Dodgers could afford to absorb a blow like this in August, but not this year. The NL West is the tightest division race in baseball right now with the Dbacks and Rockies all vying for that top spot.

Before the Jansen news, the Dodgers held a piece of first place with Arizona, and were 3.5 games up on Colorado. Four games and three straight losses to the Rockies later, LA finds themselves a game back of the first place Dbacks, tied with Colorado for second place. It’s gonna be one hell of a race to the finish in the NL West.