Today’s Clayton Kershaw start was the only June 19 start of his career, and it typified 2017 in so many ways.
The Dodgers hosted the Mets on a Monday night at Dodger Stadium, and scored seven runs in the first two innings. Justin Turner drove in three runs, and Cody Bellinger drove in four with two home runs. Bellinger in 51 career games, was the fastest to 21 home runs in major league history.
The game was in the bag, as were many that summer for the Dodgers.
So it wasn’t a big deal when Jose Reyes hit a solo home run off Kershaw in the third inning, nor when Jay Bruce hit a solo shot in the fourth. Things got a little closer in the fifth inning when Gavin Ceccini hit a two-run shot, but the Dodgers still enjoyed a big lead, expanded to four runs in the sixth with another Turner RBI hit.
Kershaw struck out 10, but then gave up another homer to Reyes, a two-run shot in the seventh inning to end his night. It was the first time Kershaw allowed four home runs in a start, and though the year wasn’t half over Kershaw already reached a career high in homers allowed in a season.
From my game recap:
It has been a weird season for Kershaw because, despite the 17 home runs, he still owns a 2.61 ERA, roughly a 160 ERA+. There have only been eight seasons in major league history of a pitcher allowing 25 or more home runs with an ERA+ of 160 or better. The best ERA+ of the group was 195, by Randy Johnson in 2002, when he allowed 26 home runs.
The Dodgers kept hitting, adding more insurance in the seventh inning, giving Kershaw a 10-6 win.
Kershaw is one of four Los Angeles Dodgers to win a start while allowing four home runs, joining the wonderful trio of Don Sutton (1970), Orel Hershiser (1994), and D.J. Houlton (2005).
The outing (W, 10-2): 6⅓ IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Up next: The Dodgers honor Moses Malone in Kershaw’s June 20 starts