It was a steamy weekend at Dodger Stadium, but it seemed like the only thing hotter than the weather was the home team. The Dodgers completed yet another sweep on Sunday — of their last eight series of at least three games, the Dodgers have swept six — and Clayton Kershaw was there to finish off the “first half” in style on Sunday.
Kershaw struck out 13 and walked none on Sunday, giving the Dodgers their first complete game of the season to beat the Royals. By needing just 99 pitches, Kershaw reached another milestone as well.
Clayton Kershaw is the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out at least 13 in a complete game with fewer than 100 pitches.— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) July 9, 2017
In two starts this month, Kershaw has 24 strikeouts in and two walks in 16 innings, and has allowed two total runs. But this isn’t much of a surprise.
It is July, after all.
July has been the best month of Kershaw’s career. He’s 27-6 with a 1.74 ERA in 42 career starts in the month.
He has a rather amazing streak going of 18 consecutive July starts -- dating back to July 29, 2012 -- of at least seven innings and no more than three earned runs. Sort of a better version of a quality start.
In those 18 starts, Kershaw has allowed a total of 15 runs, posting a 0.96 ERA in 147 innings -- that is 8.17 innings per start -- with 162 strikeouts and just 11 walks. Kershaw is 14-1 in those starts, and the Dodgers have won 15 of the 18 games.
In July 2013, Kershaw won the National League Pitcher of the Month.
In July 2014, Kershaw won the National League Pitcher of the Month.
In July 2015, Kershaw won the National League Pitcher of the Month.
That pattern was broken when Kershaw was on the disabled list in 2016.
But Kershaw is healthy now, and back to his usual July exploits.