Clayton Kershaw makes final start of an epic June

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw looks to complete the best month of his career in the Dodgers' finale with the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw takes a 21-inning scoreless streak into Sunday, including his 15-strikeout no-hitter on June 18. Sunday is his first start at Dodger Stadium since the no-hitter, the 22nd no-no in Dodgers franchise history. His numbers in June are ridiculous:

Five starts, five wins, four runs allowed, 21 hits, two walks and 48 strikeouts in 37 innings.

This is the second time Kershaw has won five consecutive starts, having also done so from July 7 to Aug. 1, 2011.* He has never won six starts in a row.

*Kershaw had quite a finish to 2011, his first Cy Young Award-winning campaign. After those five straight wins he lost in Arizona (Cody Ransom of all people hit a two-run home run in the seventh to beat him), then won four straight starts, struck out 10 in a no-decision in Atlanta, then won his final four starts. The stretch run: 15 starts, 13-1, with a 1.22 ERA.

The last Dodger to win six straight starts was Zack Greinke, from Aug. 5 to Sept. 1, 2013.

The last Dodger to win six games in a month was Yhency Brazoban, who was 6-2 in 18 relief appearances in September/October 2004. The last Dodgers starter to win six games in a month was Hideo Nomo in June 1995, his second month with the team.

The last Dodgers pitcher with 50 strikeouts in a month was Chan Ho Park, with 51 strikeouts in September 2000. The last with 60 strikeouts was Nomo in June 1995.

There have only been three pitchers since 1914 with at least 50 strikeouts and no more than two walks in a month: Cliff Lee (54 strikeouts, one walk in September 2013), Curt Schilling (62 strikeouts, two walks in May 2002) and Pedro Martinez (51 strikeouts, two walks in August 2000).

Kershaw currently has a 0.97 ERA for the month. To keep that for June he would either need to not allow an earned run or pitch at least 8⅓ innings while allowing no more than one earned run. Since 1914 there have been 20 Dodgers pitching months of at least 40 innings and an ERA under 1.00, the last by Orel Hershiser in September 1988, holding the top spot with 55 scoreless innings in the season's final month.

Kershaw's best month by ERA was July 2009, when he was 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA in six starts, with 34 strikeouts and 18 walks in 38 innings. By contrast, current Kershaw has 18 walks in his last 17 starts.

But to complete his signature month, Kershaw must first get past the Cardinals, a team that has beaten him in each of his last five starts against them, including the playoffs.

The most recent loss is the one that stings the most, when Kershaw allowed seven runs on 10 hits in just four innings as St. Louis captured the pennant with a 9-0 win over the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS.

In those five losses, which include four starts in St. Louis dating back to July 2012, Kershaw has allowed 22 runs (21 earned) on 26 hits in 28⅔ innings, a 6.59 ERA, with 11 walks and 24 strikeouts. He was 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA against the Cardinals in nine career starts before his current losing streak against them.

Matt Holliday is 10-for-38 (.263) with a home run, a double and 10 strikeouts against Kershaw in his career, but also has 10 walks for a .417 on-base percentage. No other batter has more than six career walks against Kershaw.

Game time

Time: 1:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network

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