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Clayton Kershaw day by day: Trudging through the low points

Three memorable starts for Kershaw on June 21

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

We have another three-start day for Clayton Kershaw on June 21, a date that includes a start from baby Kershaw and two tough-luck time periods in recent Dodgers history. All three starts on this date were on the road.

Kershaw first started on June 21 in 2009, about 13 months after his major league debut. The Dodgers were in Anaheim to face the Angels, a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN.

The Angels had traffic on the bases throughout this one, but Kershaw was able to wiggle out of jams right and left. The biggest came in the fifth, when two walks, a wild pitch and a botched fielder’s choice loaded the bases with nobody out. That prompted a visit from catcher Brad Ausmus, followed by inducing a double play from Bobby Abreu and an infield pop out by Torii Hunter.

From Phil Gurnee’s game recap:

“The kid grew up in a hurry,” said Torre. “I told [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt], he got himself into the mess, he’ll have to get himself out. From there on out, he was pretty much dominant. He’s 21. I was still drooling at 21.”

Kershaw lasted seven innings and didn’t allow a run, earning the win thanks to a pair of RBI doubles from Juan Pierre.

The Dodgers were in Oakland on June 21, 2012, and Kershaw was excellent against the A’s. Not that it mattered.

The folks involved in the scoring and driving in of the first two runs of this game provide a wonderful time capsule. Jonny Gomes doubled and was driven in by Brandon Inge for the A’s, while Elian Herrera and Juan Rivera combined for the Dodgers’ run.

Kershaw had two walks and a wild pitch in this game, but that single run was all he allowed. He retired his final 13 batters faced to complete eight innings, but left in a 1-1 tie, which counted as an offensive outburst of sorts for these Dodgers.

From my game recap:

During the television broadcast on Prime Ticket, Vin Scully said, “As far as the Dodgers are concerned, this is the dead-ball era.” After two runs and eight hits in three games in Oakland, that seems apt.

This was a remarkable stretch of offensive paucity for the Dodgers, who scored 17 total runs in a 13-game stretch, their worst such stretch since 1907. They lost 11 of those 13 games, a stretch that included six times getting shutout, and four more games scoring one or two runs.

Yoenis Cespedes put the Dodgers out of their misery with a three-run walk-off homer in the ninth inning off Josh Lindblom.

One year later, the Dodgers were in San Diego on June 21, and in an even worse predicament.

Kershaw wasn’t great in this game, allowing four runs in his six innings. Chris Denorfia in particular was a thorn in his side with two hits, including a home run, and a walk, scoring twice in a Padres’ 5-2 win.

Kershaw got the loss in this one, but in general was having a very good season, with little to show for it. From my game recap:

So despite a 2.06 ERA that ranks third in the major leagues, Kershaw has watched the Dodgers go 8-8 in his 16 starts.

That is simply criminal.

This was the Dodgers at their absolute low point in 2013, falling 12 games under .500 for the only time in the last eight years. They were in last place in the NL West, a stunning 9½ games behind first-place Arizona.

Also from my recap: “It wasn’t so much the loss that was so deflating for the Dodgers, after all at a season-worst 12 games under .500 (30-42) defeats are almost expected at this point.”

The Dodgers won 42 of their next 50 games, and won the division by 11 games.

The outings

2009 (W, 4-5): 7 IP, 4 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts

2012: 8 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

2013 (L, 5-5): 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Up next: A rough June 22