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Clayton Kershaw day by day: A 13-strikeout shutout

3 career starts for Kershaw on May 12

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw in his career has three starts on May 12, spread across a nine-year span.

Kershaw’s first May 12 start came in 2009 against the Phillies, the start of a road trip for the Dodgers and their fourth game since Manny Ramirez got suspended 50 games for PEDs. It was also the first time the Dodgers faced the Phillies since losing to them in the 2008 NLCS, and Matt Stairs’ home run ball finally landed just minutes before first pitch of this May 12 game.

So that’s the backdrop to read this excerpt from Phil Gurnee’s game recap:

Last October the Dodgers pitching staff was undone by the inability to put away the bottom of the Phillie lineup and evidently no lesson was learned. For two innings Kershaw breezed throught the Phillie lineup and then ran into trouble by walking the weak sisters of Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz. He was able to wiggle out of the mess he made by getting Chase Utley and thus only gave up one run but he didn’t learn his lesson.

After that single run allowed in the third inning, the first four Phillies reached base in the fourth inning against Kershaw, the key blow a two-run double by Raul Ibañez. Kershaw pitched into the sixth inning, though he didn’t record an out, and allowed four runs in the loss. This was Kershaw’s 28th career start.

Flash forward to 2016 for Kershaw’s next May 12 start, this one at home against the Mets. Kershaw was absolutely dominant in this one, fulfilling Dave Roberts’ wish list. From my game recap:

“There is such a quiet, centered focus when he steps into the clubhouse on his start day,” Roberts said. “Every player and coach will say that every game is a must-win game and every game is important, but when you have the best pitcher on the planet pitching for you that day, those are games you have to win.”

Kershaw struck out 13 and walked one in shutting out the Mets, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season actually went down, from 21.33 to 19.25. This was his 250th career start.

Since 1904, Dodgers pitchers struck out 13 or more in a shutout 29 times. This was the fifth such game for Kershaw, trailing only Sandy Koufax’s 10 times in franchise history.

In 2017, Kershaw and the Dodgers were in Denver on May 12 to face the Rockies, and he got all the support he needed in a five-run second inning.

Kershaw allowed single runs in the third and fourth innings, but kept the Rockies in the park all night. He followed that by retiring his final 10 batters faced, finishing seven innings for the win.

From my game recap:

He allowed two runs in seven innings, the sixth time in 19 career starts at Coors Field Kershaw has lasted seven innings or longer. Friday marked his 20th career win against the Rockies, surpassing Hall of Famer Randy Johnson for the most ever against Colorado.

In his three career May 12 start, Kershaw has a 2.57 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings.

The outings

2009 (L, 1-3): 5 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts

2016 (W, 5-1): 9 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts

2017 (W, 6-2): 7 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Up next: Back to a single-start day on May 13