Clayton Kershaw has been busy on June 10 with four career starts, a nice mix of early wild Kershaw and the ruthless efficiency of peak Kershaw.
Up first was in 2008, Kershaw’s fourth major league start, in San Diego against the Padres.
San Diego not only had Brian Giles back then but also Adrian Gonzalez and his brother Edgar in the starting lineup. This was a duel with Greg Maddux, around two months before the Dodgers would trade for the future Hall of Famer again. It was Maddux’s 721st start.
Kershaw walked four batters for his third straight start, but was otherwise effective. Adrian Gonzalez drove in his brother Edgar in the third inning, and the game was 1-1 when Kershaw left in the sixth inning with runners on first and second, and one out.
Reliever Scott Proctor did not allow a hit to his three batters faced, but his first pitch was a wild one, allowing the go-ahead run to score, charged against Kershaw’s ledger.
After Maddux left, the Dodgers rallied for six runs against the bullpen to secure a 7-2 win. Kershaw got a no-decision.
On June 10, 2009, Kershaw and the Dodgers were home, again facing the Padres. Both Gonzalezes started for San Diego, but no Giles
Kershaw walked three more in this game, and the only reason he didn’t walk more was because he didn’t last in the game long enough. Three singles and a walk to the first four batters of the game plated two runs for San Diego, then two more hits gave the Padres another run in the third.
Kershaw didn’t finish the frame, pulled after walking back-to-back batters.
“Judging from their performances tonight, you’d think Clayton Kershaw was the pitcher starting on three days rest and Kevin Correia was the one with five days off,” I wrote in my game recap. “Clayton Kershaw couldn’t find the strike zone from the start, and couldn’t finish three innings. Leaving after throwing a whopping 84 pitches in 2.2 innings, Kershaw had the worst home start of his career.”
It is the fifth-shortest start of Kershaw’s career, and fourth-shortest start when healthy.
Fast forward to 2013 for Kershaw’s next June 10 start, this one at home against the Diamondbacks. This was Kershaw’s third start on this date with Adrian Gonzalez in the starting lineup, this time for Los Angeles.
A double by Cody Ross to start the second followed by a Miguel Montero single gave Arizona their only run against Kershaw, who struck out five in his seven innings.
He left leading 3-1 but got a no-decision after Brandon League allowed four runs in the ninth inning for a Dodgers loss.
When I wasn’t busy in my game recap: saying “League simply can’t be allowed to close games anymore” and lamenting the malaise of the 2013 Dodgers’ start, I noted a rarity in this game:
Clayton Kershaw quieted the red-hot bat of Paul Goldschmidt, the National League RBI leader hitting .320/.398/.589 entering play. Goldschmidt was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Kershaw on Monday and in his career is 2-for-20 against the left-hander with nine strikeouts.
Goldschmidt in his career has hit roughly .573/.717/.909* against the Dodgers, so this was a feat.
Adrian Gonzalez reached 4-for-4 in starting Kershaw’s June 10 starts, batting cleanup in 2016 in San Francisco, and he even singled home a run in the first inning to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Matt Duffy got Kershaw for a home run in the first inning, then Buster Posey doubled home Joe Panik to tie things up in the sixth. But that was it against Kershaw, who reached double-digit strikeouts for the 50th time in his career.
From my game recap:
Kershaw struck out 13 and walked none in his eight innings, and set a new season high with 30 swinging strikes. His previous high was 26 on May 1 against San Diego. It was the third time he reached 30 swinging strikes in a game in his career, with both other games in 2015. His high was 32 swinging strikes, set last Sept. 2 when he struck out 15 Giants at home.
Kershaw in his quartet of starts on June 10 has a 3.13 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 10 walks in 23 innings.
2008: 5⅓ IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
2009 (L, 3-5): 2⅔ IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
2013: 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
2016 (W, 9-1): 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 13 strikeouts
Up next: No June 11 starts for Kershaw, so we have a nice clear runway for the 2-day MLB Draft
*Goldschmidt has actually hit .291/.365/.533 with 32 home runs in 137 career games against the Dodgers, including .302/.374/.551 while with Arizona.