Clayton Kershaw has toed the rubber four times on May 8, and on a basic level those four starts are a microcosm of his career. He’s 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA on May 8, much like his full career in which he’s won roughly half his starts, winning roughly two-thirds of his decisions, with an ERA of about two and a half.
The first of these May 8 starts came in 2011, against the Mets in New York. Kershaw pitched into the seventh, and his only run allowed came in the first inning thanks to a pair of walks and an RBI single by Ronny Paulino. That scored the Mets second baseman, one Justin Turner.
Kenley Jansen relieved Kershaw in this one, but only to get the last out of the seventh inning, though not before Turner stole second base against him. The save in this game went to Vicente Padilla, because 2011 was a wild time.
The Giants got all the runs they needed in the second inning, when Brett Pill hit a two-run home run. While my game recap focused on two ill-fated Dodgers bunts, I also touched on how well Kershaw settled down after the homer:
But after the home run and a brief second inning rally by San Francisco that ultimately fizzled, Kershaw recovered to retire 20 of the final 22 hitters he faced. He ended his night with seven strikeouts, allowing just five hits and one walk, and those two runs.
Kershaw’s third straight May 8 start was solid against the Diamondbacks in 2013, allowing only two runs in seven strong innings in a no-decision. Had he recorded one more out, Kershaw would have finished the game with 1,000 innings in his career.
This was Paul Goldschmidt’s second full season, and the Dodgers were getting an early glimpse of his might. This was his third straight game with a home run against them, and in this game he not only took Kershaw deep but also got Kenley Jansen. From my game recap:
“I had okay fastball command today, which was good. It wasn’t a great day, but you can’t let Goldschmidt beat you. He’s their guy over there right now,” Kershaw said. “You’ve got to tip your cap, he’s swinging the bat really well. It’s my fault. You can’t do that.”
In 2019, Kershaw and the Dodgers hosted the Braves on May 8, and Kershaw got plenty of run support in this one. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning, but the Dodgers had a 5-2 lead into the seventh.
Atlanta cut into the lead, and ended Kershaw’s night, with four straight singles in the seventh inning, the first three against Kershaw. But the Braves only got to within 5-4, and the Dodgers tacked on late for a 9-4 win.
2011 (W, 4-3): 6⅔ IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
2012 (L, 2-1): 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
2013: 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
2019 (W, 2-0): 6⅔ IP, 9 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Up next: A single start on May 9 for Kershaw, the 10th anniversary of a good one