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Clayton Kershaw day by day: Reaching 2,000 strikeouts

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A Kershaw milestone in Milwaukee

Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw has been very good in his June 2 starts, and reached a milestone just three years ago on this day.

But first up was June 2, 2014, a start of an interleague series at home against the White Sox. Kershaw retired his first 10 batters faced before Adam Eaton singled in the fourth inning, followed by Jose Abreu hitting a home run for a 2-0 deficit. However, that turned out to be only a blip. From my game recap:

By then, Kershaw was in cruise control. After the home run by Abreu, he retired 14 of 16 batters and ended eight innings at just 97 pitches. Kershaw struck out exactly nine for the fifth time in six starts, including for the third time with no walks. Kershaw on the season has 55 strikeouts and just seven walks.

The Dodgers rallied for five runs in the sixth against Jose Quintana, and that was more than enough.

This was the first of 11 straight wins for Kershaw, a dominant stretch for two and a half months that saw him allow 13 runs in 13 starts, which made his two runs in this one stand out as “shaky.”

Three years later, Kershaw and the Dodgers were in Milwaukee on June 2 to face the Brewers. He allowed a double and a walk to his first two matters faced, but then retired the next 20 Brewers in a row.

Future teammate Jimmy Nelson matched Kershaw pitch for pitch, and when Domingo Santana took Kershaw deep in the seventh inning, snapping the 20-out skid, the Brewers suddenly had a 1-0 lead.

Despite the run allowed, Kershaw was on absolute fire in this game. He struck out 14 in seven innings, and only needed 103 pitches to do it. He was not allowed to continue though because the Dodgers needed offense, and two singles to open the eighth facilitated the need for a pinch hitter. Los Angeles did not score in that inning, however, so Kershaw left trailing.

But not without first reaching a milestone. From my game follow up:

Kershaw is 29 years, 75 days old on Friday. Only four players were faster by age, led by Bert Blyleven at 28 years, 97 days old on July 12, 1979, when pitching for the Pirates he fanned Terry Puhl of the Astros to lead off the game in Houston for his 2,000th strikeout.

...

With 1,837⅔ career innings to date, Kershaw is the third-quickest to reach 2,000 strikeouts by innings pitched, trailing only Pedro Martinez (1,711⅓ innings, reached 2,000 strikeouts on April 19, 2002) and Randy Johnson (1,733⅓ IP, Sept. 27, 1997).

Kershaw got a no-decision in this one, but thanks to Yasmani Grandal homering in the ninth and Cody Bellinger doing the same in the 12th, the Dodgers walked away with a win.

The outings

2014 (W, 4-2): 8 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 9 strikeouts

2017: 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 14 strikeouts

Up next: An off day, followed by one of the most prolific days of the season