Clayton Kershaw’s two career starts on July 2 couldn’t be more different, though both were memorable in their own way.
His first July 2 start came in 2011 against the Angels in Anaheim, a Saturday night duel with Jered Weaver.
Vernon Wells homered against Kershaw in a three-run second inning, then the Angels added three more runs with a walk and three singles in the third. That was more than enough for Weaver, who allowed just a single run.
Kershaw despite the early trouble lasted six innings, allowing a seventh run, the final tally unearned. This was one of only five career regular season starts in which Kershaw allowed seven or more runs.
From my game recap:
Kershaw did have quite the bizarre game tonight, as he allowed seven runs (six earned) in his six innings of work, but he also had just one walk and 10 strikeouts (only the 10th MLB pitcher since 2000 with at least seven runs allowed and double-digit strikeouts). “To me, [Kershaw] pitched good again. It’s not like those balls were crushed in the gap where he’s just getting beat up around the yard,” said Mattingly, perhaps channeling his inner FIP awareness. “It’s just a matter of those balls dropping that might otherwise be catchable.”
This was an odd stretch for Kershaw that saw him allow six earned runs three times in six starts. But he recovered, allowing 15 total earned runs over his final 15 starts, winning 13 times en route to his first Cy Young Award.
Two years later, Kershaw was in Colorado on July 2, and turned in one of the finest games of his career.
The offense provided support with runs in six different innings, and Kershaw allowed only four singles, none after the sixth inning. Kershaw retired his final 12 batters faced, completing the shutout.
From my game recap:
Kershaw was brilliant on the mound, allowing just four hits while striking out eight. His game was just the sixth no-walk shutout in Coors Field history. Kershaw on the season has an NL-best 1.93 ERA.
Kershaw’s game score of 87 is tied for 11th-best in his career, and tied for ninth by any pitcher in Coors Field history. Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter had a game score of 91, for instance.
2011 (L, 8-4): 6 IP, 9 hits, 7 runs (6 earned), 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
2013 (W, 7-5): 9 IP, 4 hits, 8 strikeouts
Up next: Three starts for the third