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Clayton Kershaw day by day: A few near misses

4 career starts for Kershaw on June 15

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw in his four career starts on June 15 has a 2.59 ERA and more strikeouts (28) than innings (24⅓), though he only has one win to show for it. Things could have gone a lot worse with some near home runs.

Up first was June 15, 2008, with the Dodgers in Detroit and Kershaw starting his first interleague matchup.

This was Kershaw’s fifth major league start, and was looking potentially like his best to date. But a rain delay of about an hour ended Kershaw’s day against the Tigers after just four innings, which were scoreless.

After the rain, Chan Ho Park allowed a pair of home runs in relief, allowing five total runs while recording four outs.

Kershaw’s next June 15 start was another interleague affair, this one at home in 2012 against the White Sox and Chris Sale, a matchup of the two top left-handed pitchers of the 2010s (with apologies to Cole Hamels).

Chicago got on the board first with a two-run home run by Adam Dunn, whose four home runs are tied for the most by any left-handed batter against Kershaw. Dunn did this in only 14 plate appearances; he’s 8-for-13 (.615) with two doubles against him. Dunn also walked and scored in the third inning, and Alex Rios homered against Kershaw in the fifth.

The Dodgers trailed 5-1 in this one but rallied for five runs in the sixth inning, with both starting pitchers allowing five runs in this one.

From my game story:

Kershaw has also been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot for a few weeks, a condition he insists only affects him when running and not while pitching.

“It’s fine, it’s not affecting me,” Kershaw said. “I just made a lot of mistakes tonight.”

“It’s somewhat coincidental that during this stretch that’s happened,” Honeycutt said. “I do not see it changing his mechanics or his delivery, but to say that there is not a pitch or sometime during the game that he feels something, I can only go by what he tells me.”

A wild pitch by Matt Thornton in the eighth inning scored James Loney with the winning run.

The Dodgers were on the road on June 15, 2013, facing the Pirates in Pittsburgh. This is where the near-homers come into play.

Kershaw pitched pretty well, allowing only one run in seven innings, and struck out nine, including his final three batters faced. But it could have gone much worse, because of an old friend.

From my game recap:

Kershaw ran into some trouble in the sixth inning when the first two runners reached base, then old friend Russell Martin gave one a ride to left field. Luckily for the Dodgers, Skip Schumaker was there to rob Martin of a three-run home run with a catch over the wall to preserve a 3-1 lead.

The Dodgers bullpen blew this lead, but a two-run rally in the 11th featuring RBI hits from Juan Uribe and Nick Punto gave the Dodgers the win.

In 2016 the Dodgers were home on June 15 against the D-backs, and Kershaw pitched quite well. Earlier that day, the Dodgers signed a future Rookie of the Year to close out their international signing period.

Kershaw struck out 11 and pitched into the eighth inning, allowing two runs, but nearly allowed another. From my game recap:

That provided enough support for Clayton Kershaw, though just barely. Kershaw allowed a home run to Rickie Weeks in the second inning, then with Michael Bourn on base in the sixth Dodgers killer Paul Goldschmidt - who struck out twice in his first two at-bats - missed a game-tying home run by inches, driving a ball off the yellow line on the left field wall but not over.

A three-run home run by Scott Van Slyke in the sixth inning gave the Dodgers just enough for the winning margin, giving Kershaw his only career win on June 15.

The outing

2008: 4 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

2012: 6 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

2013: 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

2016 (W, 10-1): 7⅓ IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts

Up next: Running the 1990 World Series gauntlet