Our Clayton Kershaw project gives us another two-start day, with games from 2013 and 2015. These were a split for the Dodgers, while one featured a milestone for Kershaw and the other a near milestone.
First up was April 17, 2013, the Sunday finale of what was a weekend sweep by the Padres at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers were lackluster in their start of 2013, though at this point were still far from their lowest depths. But getting outscored 22-7 in three games by a so-so San Diego team felt pretty low at the time.
So much so, I used a tortured movie reference in the lede of my game recap:
There is a point in The Matrix, right after Joey Pants has gone rogue and starts killing off the ancillary members of Cowboy Curtis’s rebel crew, when said members start to realize their fate. One by one they are unplugged, and Switch has a look of terrorized acceptance in her eyes as she says, “No, not like this. Not like this.”
Kershaw allowed home runs in three straight innings in this game. One was a surprise, when Everth Cabrera hit one of his 12 career home runs. Another not so much, by Chris Denorfia, with three home runs and a .526 career slugging percentage against Kershaw.
One bright spot came in the third inning, when he caught Nick Hundley looking for Kershaw’s 1,000th career strikeout.
That was his 153rd career start, and two years later Kershaw made his 212th start, the latter the opener of a weekend series at home against the Rockies.
There were more home runs in the middle innings of this game, with Troy Tulowitzki and Charlie Blackmon taking Kershaw deep. But Kershaw was able to limit the damage, thanks in large part to 12 strikeouts. This was the season when Kershaw whiffed 301, a career high.
A high pitch count, and his spot due in the batting order, forced Kershaw out after six innings. From my game recap (2015):
“I still think Clayton’s searching,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I’m sure he’s not totally happy with what’s going on. He had a bunch of punchouts tonight. His slider didn’t seem consistent to me, but obviously really good, still.”
This was Kershaw’s 99th win. The Dodgers were in better position than two years earlier, as this was their fifth straight win and the start of a weekend sweep.
2013 (L, 2-2): 5⅓ IP, 7 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
2015 (W, 1-1): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Up next: Back to one start on April 18