PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw struck out eight in his five scoreless innings in his best start to date this spring, then punctuated it with an RBI double in the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the Padres on Sunday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.
Kershaw’s day appeared done after his 70 pitches and five scoreless innings, which including those eight strikeouts, five ground balls and two pop ups.
“He put it together today. The swing-and-miss slider was good, the fastball command was really good”, manager Dave Roberts said. “He didn’t have the feel for the breaking ball but he still pitched really well. It was a very efficient five innings.”
Kershaw stayed in to bat for himself in the bottom of the fifth inning, and laced a double into the right center field gap to score Kike Hernandez with the game’s first run.
It was Kershaw’s second at-bat of the day and just his third this spring as he gets ready for the regular season.
“The mentality as a starting pitcher is you just pinch-hit once every five days. So for me, it’s just try to be a competitive at-bat,” Kershaw said. “You’re not looking for results really.”
Kershaw’s was the second hit by a Dodgers pitcher this spring, joining Ross Stripling, who singled on Mar. 14.
So far on the mound this spring Kershaw remains scoreless through 14⅔ innings with 19 strikeouts and four walks. He walked none on Sunday.
“A 0.00 ERA means very little in spring training but I guess it is results-based,” Kershaw said. “If they don’t score runs, I must be doing something right.”
Kershaw will make one more start this spring, on Friday against the Royals in Surprise on regular rest. That start, on regular rest is expected to last six innings or 90 pitches, and will give Kershaw an extra day of rest before his opening day start on March 29 against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
In Maryvale, the rest of the Dodgers’ split squad lost to the Brewers 7-3. Edwin Rios got the start at first base and for the second time this week hit a home run over the batters’ eye in center field.
The Dodgers have a night game on Monday, hosting the A’s at 7:05 p.m. PT. Alex Wood gets the start for the Dodgers, with Kendall Graveman on the mound for Oakland. Monday’s game will be televised by SportsNet LA and broadcast on 570 AM radio.