For our Clayton Kershaw project today, we go back exactly 10 years to April 17, 2010, in a rivalry game between the Dodgers and Giants on a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.
Kershaw was 22 years old, making his 54th career start, and was not the pitcher on the mound with a Cy Young Award under his belt. Barry Zito started for the Giants and both were excellent.
Through seven innings, the Giants led 1-0, thanks to a home run by future old friend Juan Uribe. Zito pitched into the eighth, but was pulled after walking Garret Anderson, which is sound strategy given his 4.7-percent career walk rate and that he walked only five times in 163 plate appearances in 2010, his final season.
Another future old friend, Sergio Romo, entered in relief, and so did Manny Ramirez as a pinch hitter. Advantage Ramirez, who homered to left field, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 win.
From my game recap:
Kershaw was brilliant in his seven innings of work, striking out nine while walking four. The only run he allowed was a solo home run to Juan Uribe in the seventh. Kershaw said Uribe hit a changeup for the home run after he shook off a called fastball from catcher Russell Martin. Still, Kershaw was rightfully pleased with his effort, calling his start “a step in the right direction.” Kershaw threw 74 of his 114 pitches for strikes.
Kershaw at this time was still honing his command, and his four walks in this game represented improvement after six and five walks in his first two starts of the season. Kershaw received a no-decision for his effort on this day.
The outing: 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Up next: Back to 2017 for another one-start day