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Clayton Kershaw day by day: Nearly blanking the D-backs

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Kershaw beat old friend Zack Greinke in 2017 at Dodger Stadium

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Today’s Clayton Kershaw project brings us back to 2017, a near shutout of the Diamondbacks at home on April 14.

This was the first game of a four-game weekend wraparound series, with Kershaw facing old friend Zack Greinke on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers pulled ahead in the middle innings, banging 10 hits in five runs against their former teammate, tagging him for five runs.

Kershaw was cruising this game, allowing only two singles and a walk in his first eight innings, and at only 87 pitches he was sent out to start the ninth inning, now ahead 7-0. After retiring his first 10 batters faced, Kershaw allowed two runners to reach base in the fourth inning, but then followed that by retiring 12 more in a row.

Chris Iannetta led off the ninth with a single, then one out later Chris Owings doubled him home. That ended Kershaw’s night at 100 pitches on the nose, and squashed his shutout bid. But it continued a positive trend against Arizona in Los Angeles. From my game recap:

Kershaw in his career against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium has allowed 15 total runs in 12 starts, 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 78 strikeouts, and 21 walks in 74⅔ innings.

This was Kershaw’s last, best shot at a shutout to date, something he hasn’t done since 2016. He did throw one complete game since then, in 2017, and had another nine-inning start later that season in a game that went into extras. But even with the relative drought of such things the last three seasons, Kershaw still leads the majors in shutouts (15) since the start of 2008, his first year. He leads active players during that time in complete games (25), too, but trails two pitchers from 2008-19 who have since retired — Roy Halladay (36) and Cliff Lee (26).

This was the 266th start of Kershaw’s career.

The outing (W, 2-1): 8⅓ IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Up next: Our busiest day by far in this project, with a whopping five Kershaw starts on Jackie Robinson Day.