2019 NLDS: Nationals’ Trea Turner, Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw Address Potential Pitch Tipping During Game 2

As hot as the Los Angeles Dodgers came out in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, shutting out the Washington Nationals, it all came crashing down in Game 2. The Dodgers’ bats went cold against Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw gave up a few early runs, resulting in a 4-2 loss to tie the series at a game apiece.

Kershaw’s command was off from the beginning as after a groundball by Trea Turner went under of the glove of Justin Turner, resulting in a leadoff double to begin the game, the left-hander walked Anthony Rendon and hit Juan Soto to load the bases.

The first inning has been Kershaw’s worst all season, and that continued on Friday night as Howie Kendrick hit an RBI single to give the Nationals a lead.

Kershaw didn’t settle in for the second, hitting another batter to begin the inning. Adam Eaton eventually drove in a run with a single and Rendon followed with a run-scoring double to extend the Nationals’ lead to 3-0.

Those were the only runs Kershaw gave up as his command improved from there and he got through six innings, allowing six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Strasburg was just a bit better though, giving up just one run in his six innings of work.

The TBC cameras caught something interesting in Kershaw’s sixth inning of work, as they showed Trea Turner in the Nationals dugout seemingly motioning and explaining to Eaton how Kershaw was tipping his pitches.

Caught this during the last inning. Nats discussing Kersh tipping his pitches? pic.twitter.com/9cBAXAOaEx

— Dodger Blue (@DodgerBlue1958) October 5, 2019

Turner denied that he picked up anything on Kershaw after the game. The possibility was brought to Kershaw’s attention, but his comments were also brief.

“Not sure,” said Kershaw when asked if he tipped pitches. “I’ll check it out.”

The Dodgers have of course been down this road before, and it arguably cost them a World Series as the Houston Astros appeared to have a read on Yu Darvish.

As for matters in Game 2 against the Nationals, the Dodgers had a chance to come back after loading the bases in the ninth inning against Daniel Hudson, but Corey Seager eventually struck out to end the game.

While the Dodgers would have preferred heading to Washington with a 2-0 series lead, there is no need to panic as they have the NL ERA champion, Hyun-Jin Ryu, on the mound in Game 3.

Max Scherzer pitched the eighth inning for the Nationals in Game 2, striking out the side in dominant fashion. His availability to start Game 3 may be in jeopardy because of it, and Anibal Sanchez would likely get the ball if Scherzer is pushed back to Game 4.

If Kershaw were to pitch again in this series, it would likely be out of the bullpen in Game 5 back at Dodger Stadium if the series goes that long.