Clayton Kershaw got beat by a substitute teacher.
Rookie Trevor Richards threw five scoreless innings and the Miami Marlins won their first series of the season, defeating the Dodgers, 8-6, on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Three months ago, Richards was working as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Aviston, IL, where he would wake up at 4:00AM every morning just in case the phone rang that a teacher was out sick.
"In the offseason that was my job teaching at schools," said Richards. "It was a pretty small school. Kindergarten through 8th grade. They were wild, I'm sure they were rooting for the Marlins today."
Richards was a non-roster invitee to spring training in February and impressed the front office enough to make the 40-man roster out of camp.
After a wild first week for the Fish saw them play 45 innings over the span of four games, the Marlins called up Richards to make his Major League debut against the Boston Red Sox on April 2nd.
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Before his move to the big leagues, Richards spent two years pitching in the Frontier League (Independent League), and before that had never pitched higher than Double-A.
Richards ascension hit its apex on Wednesday as he outpitched three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP, Clayton Kershaw, helping the Marlins win their first series of the 2018 season.
"It was cool. I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy it as I can," said Richards of his outing. "Its probably easier said than done, but you get used to it. Its more focusing on your job and what you have to do that day."
Richards allowed just one hit (to Kershaw) in the game, striking out a career-high 10 batters with three walks in 4 and 2/3 innings shutout innings. He was just one out away from earning his first career Major League win.
"A lot of fastball and changeups. I tried to keep the ball down," said Richards. "I wouldn't say it was a 'dream outing' I would have liked to go 7 innings, but it was a good step forward."
Kershaw (1-4) struggled again, allowing three runs on five hits with a career-high six walks and seven strikeouts in just five innings.
"First inning I felt good with everything," said Kershaw. "But I didn't really feel that great after that."
Kershaw flirted with fire all night, loading the bases in the second and fourth innings before escaping without any damage.
"I just wasn't very good," said Kershaw candidly. "A lot of guys on base. I almost skated out of it, but I probably should have given up more than that. It wasn't good for sure."
The seven-time All-Star finally got burnt in the top of the fifth when he allowed a three-run homer to former Dodger Miguel Rojas.
"Getting three runs with one swing of the bat was nice," said Richards of Rojas' home run. "I can for sure go in and attack the zone the next inning."
One inning later, Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto hit his second home run in as many games as he took rookie Daniel Hudson deep to give the Fish a 4-0 lead.
The Dodgers scratched one across in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Joc Pederson, but the rally was stymied when Realmuto homered again in the top of the 8th.
Realmuto has four home runs on the season, three of them coming in the last two days. On the season, the catcher is batting .400 with four home runs and eight RBI.
"He was special tonight," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. "I'm glad he talked me into playing. We let him roll and obviously he's really good."
Matt Kemp cut the lead in half with a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, but it was too little too late for Los Angeles.
The Marlins tacked on two more in the ninth off of Kenley Jansen but the Dodgers got them back thanks to a two-run home run by Yasmani Grandal.
One year ago today, the Dodgers called up Cody Bellinger. Bellinger has hit 42 home runs over that span, was named an All-Star and the N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2017.
The Dodgers will have an off day on Thursday before traveling to San Francisco for a four-game series with the rival Giants. Friday's starters are expected to be a matchup of left-handers as Hyun-Jin Ryu faces Derek Holland. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15PM PST.
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