June 26 is one of the most prolific days on the calendar for Clayton Kershaw, with six career starts on this date. He has a decision in each one, split evenly with three wins and three losses.
The first one was in 2008 against the White Sox, his seventh major league start.
Kershaw allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in each of the first four innings. The two leadoff hits were stranded, but the two walks scored. Brian Anderson reached base to lead off the fifth inning, but it was via error. Though that wasn’t Kershaw’s fault, he threw a wild pitch and then walked Carlos Quentin to end his start after recording only 12 outs. Kershaw was relieved by Brian Falkenborg, which seems like forever ago.
Kershaw was reflective after his start. From the Orange County Register’s game recap:
“I’m not really worried about myself. I’m just worried about pitching good, and I’m not really doing that right now,” he said. “I’m getting by and pitching mediocre at best … sometimes average. But that’s not what I’m up here to do. I’m up here to prove myself every time out and today just wasn’t that good.”
Kershaw made another June 26 home start in 2009, hosting the Mariners, and retired his first nine batters faced, staked to a 3-0 lead early. Three singles in the fourth inning brought Seattle their first run, but Kershaw helped widen the Dodgers’ lead.
From my game recap:
Matt Kemp added three hits of his own, including a daring triple in the fifth inning. Clayton Kershaw followed with a single, for the first RBI of his MLB career.
Ichiro reached on an infield single and stole second in the sixth inning, and scored on a Jose Lopez single. Two runs was all Kershaw gave up in his six innings, striking out eight.
Kershaw faced just one batter over the minimum through six innings, but the scoreless tie was broken in the seventh inning thanks to a double by Erick Aybar and a single by future old friend Howie Kendrick. Kershaw singled in the bottom of the inning, then scored on a triple by Tony Gwynn Jr. to tie things up.
From my game recap:
Kershaw didn’t just excel on the mound today, but in the field as well. He allowed a leadoff ground-rule double to Jeff Mathis in the top of the sixth inning, but quickly erased him thanks to some fine glovework. Weaver tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but the ball hung up in the air long enough for Kershaw to snag it, then immediately turn toward second base, against his momentum, to double off Mathis.
Things looked bleak when Vernon Wells homered off Kershaw in the top of the ninth, potentially ruining an 11-strikeout complete game, but a pair of walks in the bottom of the frame were cashed in by an Aaron Miles sacrifice fly and a Gwynn walk-off single, making a winner out of Kershaw.
The Dodgers were in San Francisco on June 26, 2012, with Kershaw locked in another low-scoring duel, this time with Ryan Vogelsong.
Both Giants runs came in the fourth inning, on a home run by Melky Cabrera and an RBI single by Pablo Sandoval. That was more than enough to beat the Dodgers, who were allergic to home plate for a couple of weeks.
From my game recap:
The Dodgers have had two disastrous trips to the Bay Area in the last eight days. They scored two runs and had eight hits in three games in Oakland last week, and while they have improved to 12 hits in two games in San Francisco they have yet to score this series.
The Dodgers haven’t scored in their last 21 innings, dating back to Sunday.
The Dodgers were also held scoreless in the Sunday series finale, completing a scoreless sweep, nearing the end of an anemic stretch of 15 total runs scored in 12 games.
Another battle with the Giants came calling on June 26, 2013, this time in Los Angeles.
Buster Posey hit a two-run home run in the fourth against Kershaw, who recovered by retiring 15 of his final 16 batters faced. The only one who reached did so by an error.
It looked like those two runs would hold up for San Francisco in another low-scoring game, but the Dodgers used four hits, two steals, and a wild pitch to score three runs off Tim Lincecum in the sixth inning of a 4-2 win.
As noted in my game recap, “In six career starts against Lincecum, Kershaw is 5-0.”
In 2016, Kershaw was streaking heading into an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball affair on June 26 against the Pirates at PNC Park, having won nine straight decisions and facing a pitcher (Chad Kuhl) making his major league debut.
But the mismatch didn’t prove to be true, wiped away by a four-run second inning for Pittsburgh. From my game recap:
After two singles and a walk - yes, a walk - to load the bases with one out, Kuhl had a first major league plate appearance to remember. He fouled off pitch after pitch, five in all, and though he struck out Kuhl saw a total of eight pitches in the at-bat. Kershaw then allowed a line drive single to left field by Adam Frazier for one run, then David Freese hit a gapper to right center for a three-run double and a 4-0 lead.
It was just the second multi-run inning against Kershaw all season, and the first since April 26.
Had to figure something was up since Kershaw walked two batters in this game, even if one of them was intentional. Kershaw had only seven walks in his first 15 starts of the season.
Four days later, Kershaw was placed on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his back, which sidelined him for over two months.
That final start was the first time on June 26 that Kershaw allowed something other than two runs. His composite numbers on this date are a 3.23 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 10 walks in 39 innings.
- 2008 (L, 0-2): 4 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
- 2009 (W, 5-5): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
- 2011 (W, 8-3): 9 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 11 strikeouts
- 2012 (L, 5-4): 6 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
- 2013 (W, 6-5): 8 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
- 2016 (L, 11-2): 6 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Up next: A pair of sevens