The baseball world saw the unstoppable force meet the immovable object on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Los Angeles Angels. For the first time, Mike Trout collided with Clayton Kershaw in a regular-season game.
Rarely do matchups between hitters and pitchers create this kind of buzz. Due in large part to interleague play, most top hitters and pitchers have faced one another. But not L.A.'s two best players.
ESPN Stats & Info posted where each player does his most damage:
Mike Trout will get his first regular-season chance to face Clayton Kershaw. Here's a look at their strengths pic.twitter.com/2ijao8z3O7— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 6, 2014
"This game is more than just Clayton Kershaw against Mike Trout," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, per Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register. "You're talking about two of the young, bright megastars."
Tuesday's game was also the 200th start in Kershaw's Dodgers career. ESPN The Magazine compared the 26-year-old with another Los Angeles legendary ace:
They say that good pitching beats good hitting, but that wasn't the case on Tuesday, with Trout besting the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner in their individual battle. He finished 2-for-3 against Kershaw, scoring one run.
That being said, Kershaw's team won the war, so to speak, with a 5-4 victory.
You can see Trout's game stats below.
In the first inning, Trout legged out an infield single. Juan Uribe made an impressive diving stop, but his throw wasn't in time.
Dodgers legend Vin Scully used his typical lyricism to describe Trout's speed, via ESPN's Adnan Virk:
Vin Scully: "as big as he is he has wings on his shoes." Mike Trout infield single in 1st AB versus Clayton Kershaw— Adnan Virk, ESPN (@adnanESPN) August 6, 2014
The Angels star followed that up with a double in the top of the third down the third base line. He came around to score on a Albert Pujols double, which tied the score at 3-3.
Trout's last at-bat against Kershaw came in the fifth inning. After quickly getting into an 0-2 hole, the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year struck out looking on a fastball that clipped the outside corner:
After the first-round single (on a technicality) and second-round double, a third-round punchout on three strikes for Kershaw over Trout.— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) August 6, 2014
Early in the game, Kershaw looked nothing like the best pitcher on the planet. He surrendered three runs in the first three innings.
Designated hitter Adam Dunn, who pitched one inning in relief for the Chicago White Sox, had a similar stat line, meaning the end of times must be near:
Tale of the tape: Adam Dunn: 1 earned run Clayton Kershaw: 3 earned runs I think we've seen enough.— Chris Sprow (@SprowESPN) August 6, 2014
Mock all you want, but Adam Dunn has been more effective than Clayton Kershaw tonight. Pro-rate that over an entire season. THINK ABOUT IT— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) August 6, 2014
Kershaw eventually settled down and returned to his usual level of excellence, failing to give up another run. He exited after the seventh inning. You can view his final numbers below.
Although the Kershaw-Trout matchup was over, the drama was only beginning in Dodger Stadium.
Brian Wilson came on to pitch in the top of the eighth inning. After getting Trout to fly out, he surrendered a game-tying solo home run to Albert Pujols, which made it 4-4.
But in the bottom of the ninth, Uribe scored on an error from third baseman David Freese to give the Dodgers a split of the two-game series.
Unless the Angels and Dodgers meet in the World Series, this could be the last time we see Kershaw vs. Trout in a meaningful game for a little while, at the very least until next year.
For many baseball fans, that won't be soon enough.