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Clayton Kershaw day by day: Spotless on Independence Day

19 strikeouts, no runs allowed by Kershaw in two July 4 starts

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw has two career starts on July 4, and he has yet to allow a run. He hasn’t even allowed an extra-base hit.

Kershaw faced 52 batters in these two starts, with only eight reaching base. The magnificent seven:

  • D.J. LeMahieu: single, 3rd inning (2014)
  • Jair Jurrjens: error on Kershaw, 3rd inning (2014); Kershaw then picked him off
  • Drew Stubbs: walk, 5th inning (2014)
  • Nolan Arenado: single, 7th inning (2014)
  • Chris Iannetta: walk, 2nd inning (2017)
  • Chris Iannetta: walk, 5th inning (2017)
  • Chris Owings: single, 7th inning (2017)
  • Chris Iannetta: single, 7th inning (2017)

Iannetta stands out as a titan on Independence Day, the only player to reach base more than once against Kershaw, with those two walks and a single.

The Dodgers won both of these games, with Kershaw barely challenged throughout. Only two of those 52 batters faced came to the plate with a runner in scoring position, and both were retired.

Kershaw’s first July 4 start came in 2014, his second-best career start at Coors Field. He pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed only two singles and a walk, only 16 days after his no-hitter against the Rockies.

From my game recap:

Kershaw only threw 93 pitches but was pinch hit for in the top of the ninth, robbing him of an attempt to join Tom Glavine (1995, 1997) and Pat Rapp (1994, 1995) as the only pitchers with two shutouts in Denver. Kershaw struck out eight and walked one, and lowered his ERA to 1.85, which would lead MLB if Kershaw had 1⅔ more innings under his belt.

On July 4, 2017, Kershaw and the Dodgers were home to face Arizona, and Kershaw was just as stingy. He allowed only one non-Iannetta D-back to reach base, and whiffed 11. Kershaw took a no-hitter into the seventh, but was running his pitch count high (92 through six innings). From my game recap:

But before we even had a chance to visualize how Kershaw might grind Dave Roberts to dust in an attempt to pull him from the game, Chris Owings grounded a ball in between first and second base. Cody Bellinger ranged far to his right trying to field the ball, leaving Kershaw to race Owings to the bag. Once second baseman Logan Forsythe fielded the ball and threw to first, Owings won the race, just barely.

For most of this game, Kershaw’s pitch count battling against a potential second career no-hitter was the only suspense. That changed in the ninth inning, when Daniel Descalso hit a three-run home run off Kenley Jansen to cut the lead to 4-3. Jansen walked Jake Lamb with two outs in the inning, but escaped to preserve the Dodgers’ win.

The outings

2014 (W, 10-2): 8 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

2017 (W, 13-2): 7 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts

Up next: Back to a single-start day