May 14 is one of the best dates on the calendar so far in Clayton Kershaw’s career. With three runs allowed in three starts, with three wins, it’s not the best single date, but it’s at least in the conversation.
Just like his lone May 13 start against Arizona, Kershaw pitched another seven scoreless innings on May 14, 2012 at Dodger Stadium, though there were some rough patches.
A.J. Pollock was thrown out at home plate by Tony Gwynn Jr. in the third inning, and Kershaw allowed runner(s) to reach base in six of his seven innings. But none of them scored, thanks to Kershaw ending four different innings with a strikeout and two more with a pop out.
While Kershaw was effective, a red-hot Matt Kemp (hitting .359/.446/.726 with 12 home runs in 34 games) was just beginning his descent into the world of hamstring injuries on this day. From my game recap:
The win was also watched from the dugout by Matt Kemp, who saw his streak of 399 consecutive games played come to a restful end. It was the longest active streak in baseball coming into tonight.
Kershaw struck out six and allowed seven baserunners Monday night for his third win of the season. It was the 18th start of Kershaw’s career with at least seven innings pitched and no runs allowed, and the ninth such game since the beginning of last year.
One year later, Kershaw was back home again on May 14, this time against the Nationals and Dan Haren. Washington’s best chance to score came in the first inning, loading the bases with two outs. But Kershaw whiffed Tyler Moore to end the threat.
Kershaw stuck out 11 and was gunning for a shutout in the ninth, but that plan was thwarted with a two-out, 10-pitch walk to Adam LaRoche. With the Dodgers clinging to a 2-0 lead, Don Mattingly turned to Kenley Jansen for the final out, which he got via another Moore strikeout. Kershaw’s 132 pitches in this game remain his career high, later matched on Sept. 2, 2015 against San Francisco.
The first out of this game brought Kershaw to 1,000 career innings, and a lofty perch among starting pitchers since 1920 with a 2.70 ERA. From my game follow up:
Kershaw’s mark is still impressive though, as the only four live-ball pitchers I could find to top Kershaw’s 2.73 ERA at the 1,000-inning mark of their careers were Tom Seaver (2.385), Dwight Gooden (2.485), Frank Tanana (2.574), and Lon Warneke (2.664).
Kershaw’s last May 14 start came last year against the Padres, the first time he allowed a run on this date. The Dodgers provided ample support with two-run home runs by Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger in the third inning, giving Kershaw the cushion he needed.
Kershaw struck out five in seven innings, and wasn’t immune to the home run ball himself. From Elizabeth Islas’ game recap:
The Padres got off to an early lead in the first inning, with Franmil Reyes’ homer making the score 1-0. Manny Machado also continued his dominance over the Dodgers, hitting his third home run in four games against his former team.
After the Machado home run, Kershaw retired 12 of his final 13 batters faced, improving to 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA on May 14.
2012 (W, 3-1): 7 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
2013 (W, 4-2): 8⅔ IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
2019 (W, 3-0): 7 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Up next: Two starts, two divisional wins on May 15