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Clayton Kershaw day by day: A walk on the wild side

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A 6.91 ERA for Kershaw in three May 30 starts

Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We’ve reached a rough day for Clayton Kershaw, who has allowed 11 runs in 14⅓ innings in his three career starts on May 30, and he walked exactly four batters in each game.

The first of these games was in 2008, for Kershaw’s second major league start, in New York against the Mets.

You might remember Kershaw wore 54 in his major league debut five days earlier. But that only lasted one start. Dylan Hernandez explained the switch in the Los Angeles Times:

When the prized 20-year-old left-hander takes the mound today at Shea Stadium to face the Mets, he’ll do so wearing the number worn by his boyhood idol, former San Francisco and Texas first baseman Will Clark. The No. 22 jersey was given to him by pinch-hitting specialist Mark Sweeney, who agreed to take the No. 21 shirt that became free when Esteban Loaiza was designated for assignment last week.

The Dodgers scored three against John Maine in the top of the first inning, but Luis Castillo hit a two-run shot against Kershaw in the bottom of the inning to close the gap. Kershaw retired his next seven batters faced, but then walked three straight in the third inning, setting up the tying run.

After the Dodgers took another lead, more consecutive work by the Mets — this time three straight singles in the fourth — helped bring home another equalizer. Kershaw issued his fourth walk of the game later in the inning, and was pulled, earning a no-decision.

Two years later, the Dodgers were in Coors Field on May 30, and Kershaw was even wilder. Within his first three batters faced in the game, Kershaw hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, and walked another. That set the stage for two run-scoring singles.

Kershaw issued three more walks in the game, but somehow didn’t allow another run. From my game recap:

Clayton Kershaw battled all day. He battled his control (four walks and a hit batter), his defense (a crazy play with errors by both Furcal and Loney that somehow didn’t lead to a run), and even the sun (a pop fly in short right field that dropped for a single as Blake DeWitt lost the ball in the brightness). But, Kershaw didn’t allow a run after giving up a pair in the first, and ended up with nine strikeouts in five innings. Three times Kershaw has started a game the day after a Dodger loss of eight runs or more, and three times he has recorded nine strikeouts.

The Dodgers held on to win this one, 4-3.

Kershaw’s last May 30 start to date came in 2012 at home against Milwaukee.

He allowed singles in each of the first three innings but kept the Brewers scoreless thanks to five early strikeouts. They got to him in the fourth with a double, two walks, and a single for two runs.

It was a 2-1 game into the sixth inning when Milwaukee broke it open. A shot off the wall to the opposing pitcher was the final straw for Kershaw in this one. From David Young’s game recap:

The Brewers ended Kershaw’s night in the sixth inning after 117 pitches. Weeks led off the inning with a double. After a walk and a force at second on a sacrifice attempt, Maldonado squeezed home a run and Gallardo drove a Kershaw fastball off the bullpen gate in left field for an RBI single. Reliever Javy Guerra allowed the inherited runner to score on a pop fly single to center that appeared to glance off a sliding Tony Gwynn, Jr’s glove and a grounder to second base that Norichiki Aoki simply beat out for another RBI single.

Kershaw saw five runs charged to his ledger, taking the loss.

These were all short Kershaw outings, such that a total of 12 relievers followed him despite none of the games going extra innings. Jonathan Broxton and Ronald Belisario twice in these games, and the list of the rest is a reminder of how heavy bullpen turnover can be: Chan Ho Park, Takashi Saito, Ramon Troncoso, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ronald Belisario, Javy Guerra, Todd Coffey, Kenley Jansen, and Scott Elbert.

The outings

2008: 3⅔ IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts

2010 (W, 5-3): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts

2012 (L, 5-4): 5⅔ IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Up next: We finish May off with another two-start day